Etta James was born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938, in Los Angeles, California, to a 14-year-old mother, Dorothy Hawkins, who encouraged her daughter’s singing career. … By the age of 5, James was known as a gospel prodigy, gaining fame by singing in her church choir and on the radio. Best known in the music world for her stunning version of “At Last” – her career was much more than that single tune. While there are varying degrees of truth from the movie Cadillac Records – her life was an amazing concoction of skill, talent, drive – and of course, celebrity turmoil and heartache. The time she was at her artistic peak was one of great racial discord in the USA, which did not help matters. I was fortunate enough to do a painting for a CD reissue of her greatest hits which she made me work VERY hard to make her happy with the final outcome…. but I consider it a feather in my cap to have done work for such a talented lady.