Otis Clay, Blues and Soul Legend, Dies at 73
Chicago blues singer Otis Clay has passed away. The Grammy-nominated crooner died of a heart attack on Friday (Jan. 9). He was 73.
Clay’s management team confirmed the sad news on his Facebook page (see above) on Saturday (Jan. 9). “Our hearts are broken. Please keep the Clay family in your prayers,” it reads.
The Mississippi native, who would later moved to Chicago as a teenager, started his music career as a gospel singer before moving into soul and blues music in the mid-’60’s. Some of his most noteworthy songs include “Trying to Live My Without You” and “When the Gates Swing Open,” which is often played at funerals.
Clay also performed with his longtime collaborator Billy Price. In 2015, the duo released their first collaborative project together called This Time for Real, which garnered critical acclaim.
“After the shock of this wore off a little, I was left with a feeling of gratitude to have known him,” Price told Pittsburg Post-Gazette. “I had the opportunity to sing with him and to learn from one of the true masters of the genre I work in. We first sang together in 1983, and I have so many memories of the great shows we did together over the years.”
Among Clay's many accolades include being a 2013 inductee to the Blues Hall of Fame and a Grammy nominee for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for the song, "Walk a Mile in My Shoes." Most recently, he received two nominations for the 37th annual Blues Music Awards for Best Soul Blues Album (This Time For Real) and Soul Blues Male Artist.
"In addition to being the great artist that he was, he was just a beautiful, warm, open-hearted soul who touched everyone he came in contact with. It's hard to believe he is gone," said Price.
We want to send our condolences to Otis Clay's family and friends. May he rest in peace.