Were you aware that Grammy award-winning Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha? Wilson was initiated into the Beta Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in Tougaloo, Mississippi.
Wilson was born in Jackson, MS. She studied piano from ages six to thirteen. She also played in the school band but decided to switch to guitar after growing tired of that style of music. After teaching herself guitar she began writing her own songs.
She attended Millsaps College and the HBCU Jackson State University, graduating with a degree in mass communications. Later in 2007, she received her PhD in Arts from Millsaps College.
In 1981 Wilson moved to New Orleans where she fell in love with Jazz music. She moved to New York a year after and began her iconic music career with M-Base. In 1993, she signed with Blue Note Records, an American Jazz record label owned by Universal Music Group.
Her 1996 album New Moon Daughter won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. She also recorded and toured as a featured vocalist with Wynton Marsalis’ Pulitzer Prize winning composition, Blood on the Fields.
We provided a list of her honors and awards below for you to check out.
- 1994–1996: Female Jazz Vocalist of the Year, Down Beat
- 1997: Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, New Moon Daughter
- 1999: Miles Davis Prize, Montreal International Jazz Festival
- 2001: “America’s Best Singer”, Time
- 2003: Honorary doctorate in the Arts, Millsaps College
- 2009: Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Loverly
- 2010: Added to Mississippi Blues Trail
- 2010: Best Vocal Album, NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll 2010, Silver Pony
- 2011: Best Traditional Jazz Album, BET Soul Train Award, Silver Pony
- 2015: Honorary doctorate in Fine Arts, The New School
- 2015: Spirit of Ireland Award, Irish Arts Centre
- 2020: Honorary doctorate in Music, Berklee College of Music