Illustrator Jessica Wetterer expresses her admiration for one of Austin’s most legendary soul musicians, Miss Lavelle White.

By Jessica Wetterer and Cy White. Illustrations by Jessica Wetterer



“Age ain’t nothing but a number.” Never has a statement rung so true as when describing the legendary 94-year-old blues and soul musician Miss Lavelle White. This Austin-based singer and songwriter has been writing and releasing music since she was 15 and has been performing as recently as 2021. Miss Lavelle White is living proof that older doesn’t mean irrelevant, nor is it an indication of ability. Listen to her music, and you’ll find yourself transported by her rich vocals while swaying to the beat. Transported where? To a place of introspection on love, heartache and, of course, the blues.


In 1994, at the age of 65, she released her first full-length album, Miss Lavelle, on the Austin-based Antone’s label. However, she had been writing and recording singles as far back as the 1950s, including co-writing with artist Bobby “Blue” Bland, which garnered Miss Lavelle her biggest songwriting success, 1961’s “Lead Me On.” Though at the time of her official debut she had been a successful musician for more than four decades, the most active years of her touring and performing life came after the of age 60, when most people are looking to retire.



Over the years, Miss Lavelle White has shared stages with the likes of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Junior Parker, Aretha Franklin and Jerry Butler. As a Black elder, she is part of a demographic that’s often disregarded and overlooked. But in 2006, she was recognized for her impressive work and inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. She is one of the foundational musicians in Austin’s music scene, with a career spanning more than 70 years, and Miss Lavelle White shows no signs of stopping.



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