Legendary singer Merry Clayton returns gloriously from tragic accident with new album

Photo credit: Mathieu Bitton

(February 14, 2021) She has lived a life that itself could be a movie, and the great Merry Clayton is still adding chapters to her story. A legendary singer whose voice has graced the albums of virtually every major rock or soul artist of the late 20th century – from Bob Dylan to Michael Jackson to Elvis Presley – she received some well earned recognition in the 2014 Oscar winning documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom.

(February 14, 2021) She has lived a life that itself could be a movie, and the great Merry Clayton is still adding chapters to her story. A legendary singer whose voice has graced the albums of virtually every major rock or soul artist of the late 20th century – from Bob Dylan to Michael Jackson to Elvis Presley – she received some well earned recognition in the 2014 Oscar winning documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom.

If the success of that movie was an all-time high for Merry, a tragic auto accident later that year may have been the low point. The accident claimed both of her legs, testing her faith. When she found out the news, she had another concern: “I remember looking at the doctor for a long time then asking, ‘Did anything happen to my voice?’ He said, ‘Oh, no. We know you are a great singer. We were extremely careful with anything that had to do with your throat and lungs.’ Well, I had to see for myself. So, I scooted back up in the bed then started to sing a song that Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson wrote for me with a message that says ‘I can still shine.’ The doctor was right. I could still sing out strong from my diaphragm and stomach muscles. Though I did shed a tear or two, I did not cry. I looked the doctor in the eye and said, ‘O.K., I’ll be fine.’”

When Merry returned home, she knew she wanted to record another album, and as word got out about the project, a world of musical friends and admirers lined up to help, including Coldplay lead man Chris Martin and legendary songwriter Diane Warren, as well as top tier players ranging from drummer Harvey Mason to bass player Nathan East to percussionist Paulinho DaCosta.

The result is the tremendous 10-song LP, Beautiful Scars, which arrives on April 9 on the Motown Gospel label. Co-produced by Lou Adler and Terry Young, Beautiful Scars is a testimony to grace and gratitude, and reflects Clayton's religious faith.

That the album was even recorded was a triumph. That the final result is this good feels like divine intervention. It is the glorious return of an all-time great vocalist who now shows courage as immense as her well-known vocal talent. We can't wait for you to hear this album.

By Chris Rizik

Beautiful Scars Tracklist
A Song For You
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
Beautiful Scars
Love Is A Mighty River
God Is Love
Deliverance
Room At The Altar
He Made A Way
Oh What A Friend
Ooh Child Medley
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