Jessye Norman

Jessye NormanJessye Norman. Photo © Carol Friedman

People’s Choice: International Artist of the Year

“A sense of community and social justice would see her regularly ‘putting back’ throughout a life that saw education and a commitment to the less advantaged go hand in hand with fame and glamour.”

Direct, spontaneous, outspoken and honest, Jessye Mae Norman was all of those things and more. A consummate artist, she was born with a remarkable communicative gift and the determination to make her way in a profession in which up until then few African American singers had earned their due. Dominating world stages for decades from the 1970s, she was the grand diva par excellence. A towering talent that commanded and demanded the respect of fellow artists, she could send shivers of anticipation through an audience while putting the wind up any management who failed to create the right environment in which she could weave her magic. Her premature death this year...