Her musical journey continues as Marie brings her
Although Marie can purr seductively through a song, she doesn't try to imitate Kitt. It's the woman's spirit she seeks to honor on "I Wanna Be Evil -- With Love to
"I first discovered Eartha when I was a kid and she was Catwoman on the 'Batman' series," says Marie, 58, who was born
Marie pretty much forgot about Kitt until recent years, when she got an opportunity to catch Kitt in performance at
"I was drooling, along with everyone else in the room," Marie says. "I thought it was kind of kitschy, a bit of an act, maybe. But she sure had the shtick down."
Marie decided to do a salute to Kitt, who died in 2008, and began researching music sung by the famed entertainer.
"When I found songs like 'I'd Rather Be Burned as a Witch' and 'I Wanna Be Evil,' I was thinking, 'Oh my God, how did she get away with this?'" Marie says. "I checked out old TV clips and saw how Eartha was so sexy and seductive. I couldn't get over it."
Marie sings such selections as "C'est
Marie has had several other musical heroes, especially
"I went to see 'Lady Sing the Blues' because
Marie became hooked on jazz and was soon performing professionally. Her early jazz career continued after she married at 18 and joined Jehovah's Witnesses ("It helped straighten me out"). Although encouraged by her husband, he delivered his ultimatum in 1998, after 20 years of marriage.
"To this day, I don't know what happened," Marie says. "When I was touring or recording, I always placed a schedule on the wall. But my husband would act as though I were lying when I came home. He finally said if I didn't stop performing, there would be hell to pay. Before I could get out the door, the violence started."
After breaking free of that relationship, Marie formed a band, left Jehovah's Witnesses and never looked back. Her success is easy to understand.
Marie's infectious a cappella version of "When You're Smiling," rhapsodic "
"Someone once said, 'Take care of the music and the music will take care of you,'" Marie says. "I believe that."
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