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She’s won a slew of awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


And at 72, Mavis Staples just keeps on going. In fact, she's experiencing an amazing late career renaissance.


Whether performing solo, with the groundbreaking family gospel group The Staple Singers or collaborating with a variety of superstars, Staples is responsible for blazing a rhythm and blues trail while never relinquishing her gospel roots.


With a career spanning more than five decades, the venerable rhythm and blues singer has released 13 albums and 16 singles. It’s a serviceable resumé for any musician, but Staples, a gospel and blues legend, is not about to quit.


“I’m dedicated to singing,” she says in a phone interview from her Chicago home. “My voice is a God-given gift, and I can’t abuse a blessing.”


Staples will appear at the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre on Jan. 25 in one of about eight Canadian stops.


Ten days earlier, she’ll perform in Oakland, Calif for the 10th annual tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.


The constant touring is a joy for Staples. She’s been playing gigs largely non-stop since her latest album You Are Not Alone was released in 2010, fitting in appearances on shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman and the Jon Stewart / Stephen Colbert Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear.


“Earlier this year, we were coming home for two days, changing luggage and leaving again,” she says. “We’ve never travelled that much in one year.”


Staples started singing professionally in 1952 with her family group, The Staples Singers.


Ranging from gospel to mainstream pop, the group released albums on labels that include Epic and Stax Records. Their hits included “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There.”


Staples has received numerous accolades since those days, including being named one of Rolling Stone’s greatest singers of


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all time and VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll.


June 19, 2007 was officially Mavis Staples Day in Illinois in honour of her career and lifelong dedication to civil rights. And June 12, 2005 was Mavis Staples Day in Chicago.


She was featured in The Band's The Last Waltz with The Staple Singers. Collaborations and appearances with the likes of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Cosby, presidents Kennedy, Carter and Clinton, Tom Petty, Prince, Bob Dylan, Los Lobos, Aretha Franklin and Ry Cooder rank among Mavis' many career highlights.


She was nominated for Grammys in both 2003 for her duet with Bob Dylan (“Gotta Change My Way of Thinking”) and in 2005 for her duet with Dr. John ("Lay My Burden Down").


Most recently, she won the 2011 Grammy for best Americana album. You Are Not Alone was produced and co-written by Wilco bandleader Jeff Tweedy.


“All of these songs are me, but in a different way, with a different sound,” says Staples.


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