Bettye LaVette Announces New Album, Shares Single “Hard to be a Human”

Legendary singer Bettye LaVette has shared the news for her forthcoming new album, LaVette!, which is set to drop on June 16.

Videos by American Songwriter

With the news of the new self-titled LP, LaVette has also shared her latest song, “Hard to be a Human.” For the singer, who recently appeared on ODESZA’s acclaimed track, “The Last Goodbye,” the album marks the first for her since 2020 and the LP, Blackbirds.

LaVette, who released her first album at 16 years old, has been a mainstay in the industry for some six decades since. She is also a multi-time Grammy Award nominee. Her most recent single prior to the new release is “Plan B,” which fans can check out here below.

American Songwriter caught up with the 77-year-old Michigan-born artist to ask her about her work with ODESZA and her new music. Check out the interview with LaVette below (and LaVette’s upcoming tour dates below that).

American Songwriter: What are your feelings about the new song, “Hard to be A Human”? 

Bettye LaVette: I LOVE this tune. I liked it as soon as I heard it, especially the lines, ‘I was walkin’ in the garden, goin’ by the plan, dreamin’ about my baby, apple in my hand.’

And then Steve and the guys put together such a great, great arrangement. My good friend James Carter played the most incredible sax solo, with the actual horn that once belonged to my deceased, dear friend of many years, Beans Bowles. You can’t listen to it without at least trying to salsa. Did I mention that I LOVE this tune?

AS: What are you most grateful for from a life in music?

I’m grateful to be the only female R&B singer who is 77 years old with a new album.

AS: What was it like to be featured on the ODESZA single, “The Last Goodbye”?

BL: I have never been so flattered in my entire life that such young people would find an interest in me, and that I would be able to do something that would completely fascinate my grandchildren. 

AS: What was the genesis of your new album, LaVette!? What do you hope audiences take from it today?

BL: It began with me falling in love with the writing of Randall Bramblett. I was able to go forward because my producer Steve Jordan and his record label and team at Jay-Vee Records believed in it as well. I think it’s wonderful, and I’m thrilled about it. I hope that people will have more of an insight into me when they hear the lyrics because they are pretty much what I mean. 

AS: You have a tour coming up, along with the new LP release. How are you thinking about the future personally and professionally today?

BL: Personally and professionally—that’s funny you put that together because that’s exactly the way I’m thinking about it. Ray Charles is probably my very favorite singer in the whole world, and that’s whose career I’ve always wanted to have. And I’ve never wanted it more than I want it now. 

Pre-order the new album, produced by Steve Jordan, HERE.

Tour Dates

May 31 New York, NY A New York Evening 

with Bettye LaVette and Steve Jordan @ The Greene Space

June 20 & 21  Seattle, WA  The Triple Door

June 23 & 24  Berkeley, CA  Freight & Salvage 

July 7  New York, NY  City Winery 

July 8  Philadelphia, PA  City Winery 

July 9  Washington, DC  The Hamilton 

July 11  Red Bank, NJ  The Vogel, Count Basie Center for the Arts

July 13  Portsmouth, NH  Jimmy’s Jazz Club

July 14  Fall River, MA  The Narrows 

July 15 Northampton, MA Bombyx Center for Arts & Equality

August 12 West Canton, NC Cold Mountain Music Festival 

August 16 Cleveland OH  Music Box Supper Club 

Ticket information 

Photo by Danny Clinch / Courtesy Kid Logic Media

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