Rita Coolidge Inspired Delta Lady

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on April 28, 2002

I would like to know more about the singer Rita Coolidge. She has a beautiful voice.
—Jeannie A., Missouri

A Tennessee native and daughter of a Baptist minister, Coolidge grew up singing in church and continued singing after graduating from Florida State University. Though she studied art, after graduating she embarked upon a singing career, moved to Memphis, Tenn., got work as a backup singer with local musicians Delaney & Bonnie, and followed them into rock stardom. Coolidge went on to sing with Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, and Stephen Stills before getting her own solo record deal in 1971. Beautiful and talented, Coolidge inspired Russell to write Delta Lady about her, and Cocker had a hit with it. She was probably as well known for her marriage to Kris Kristofferson as for her hit songs, such as Higher and Higher. They divorced in 1980 but remained close. The double-Grammy winner continues to perform and was honored for a Lifetime of Musical Achievement at the 2002 First Americans in the Arts Awards. She also was one of the performers at the opening ceremonies at the Salt Lake City Olympics and has a new album, Thinkin' About You.