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Ray Charles is famous for soulful pop hits like "Georgia On My Mind," "Hit the Road, Jack," and "I Can't Stop Loving You." Born in Albany, Georgia and blind from the age of seven, Charles was a gifted pianist and saxophonist who taught himself to compose and arrange music by Braille, then went on to become one of the most successful African-American artists of the 20th century.
He began recording in the late 1940s, and in the 1950s had success with soul and gospel-influenced originals such as "Hallelujah I Love Her So" and "I Got a Woman" (covered by Elvis Presley). Charles had a 1959 rock hit with "What'd I Say" and in the 1960s had a string of hits that blended jazz, rock, soul, country and gospel. He won his first of a dozen Grammys in 1961 and was voted best male singer five years in a row (1961-66) by jazz critics in Downbeat magazine.
His reputation as one of the greats secured, Charles spent the rest of his career touring and releasing occasional records, including compilations and jazz and country duets. His many famous songs include "Busted," "Ruby" "Take These Chains From My Heart" and "Crying Time." Charles's last album, Genius Loves Company, won 7 Grammy awards in 2005, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year (for "Here We Go Again," his duet with Norah Jones).
His recording of "Georgia On My Mind" became the official state song of Georgia in 1979... Charles was played by actor Jamie Foxx in the 2004 biographical feature Ray. Foxx won an Oscar as the year's best actor for the role... Charles's autobiography Brother Ray (written with David Ritz) was published in 1978.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was an American recording artist, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all-time.
Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music. The music videos for his songs, including those of "Beat It", "Billie Jean", and "Thriller", were credited with transforming the medium into an art form.
In the year 2000, Aguilera consolidated her stardom by performing at the White House Christmas gala and the Super Bowl halftime show, and winning a Grammy for Best New Artist.
Michael McDonald has a unique and immediately recognizable voice that has soared through pop, rock and R&B hits for four decades. He has enjoyed sustained success while retaining his personal sound and values.
Anita Baker's voice is a rich, romantic contralto, her songs steeped in passion and feeling. She grew up listening to female jazz singers like Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and Ella Fitzgerald.
A singer, songwriter, actor, and producer, Timberlake’s solo recording career began in 2001 and his brand of pop has been so successful that he's been branded ‘The new King of Pop.’
Blind from the age of seven, Charles was a gifted pianist and saxophonist who taught himself to compose and arrange music by Braille, then became one of the most successful artists of the 20th century.
Johnny Mathis has combined the microphone mastery of the crooners, the vocal depth and technique from classical training, and the image of innocence connected with the teen idols of the 1950s and 1960s.
Usher has risen from genuine teen idol to mature pop star. He received a 1998 Grammy award nomination for Best Male R&B vocal performance and has launched a successful acting career and media empire.
National Museum of African American Music
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The National Museum of African American Music will stand as an international iconic cultural museum dedicated to the vast contributions African Americans have made in music.