Jazz diva Gloria Lynne died on Tuesday at the age of 83. Lynne was best known for her 1964 recording of “I Wish You Love,” which climbed the pop charts quickly.
Lynne continued singing for more than 25 years, even when she faced poverty. Her son, P.J. Allen announced the singer’s death, which was attributed to heart failure.
The singer was born Gloria Mia Wilson in Harlem and sang in church choirs while growing up, reports The New York Times. Lynne was briefly trained for opera and attended several concerts at the Apollo, where she sang at the age of 15 after lying about her age and sneaking out of her house.
Gloria won the amateur night contest at the Apollo, and received a smack from her mother for lying about it. However, it didn’t stop her from continuing to sing. Composer and bandleader Raymond Scott heard one of Lynne’s demos and helped her sign with Everest Records in 1958.
Gloria Lynne also became friends with singers Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, who helped guide her career through the years, notes The Washington Post.
A critical breakthrough for the singer came in 1961 when she appeared on the Harry Belafonte TV special New York 19. Reviewers were thrilled with her performance, and her club and concert schedule kept her busy for decades. Several of Lynne’s records also sold well, though she once said that she received almost no royalties from them.
The singer’s popularity waned in the 1970s as disco came into style, and she was forced to supplement her income by taking on other jobs. Lynne also spent some time homeless. She once stated, “They say, ‘Well, if you weren’t being paid, why did you continue to sing?’ I couldn’t throw away what gift I had because of the money.”
Gloria Lynne’s final studio album was From My Heart To Yours, and was released in 2007. Her final performance was at the Manhattan nightclub 54 Below in August. Along with her son, Gloria Lynne is survived by a brother, John Wilson. No funeral arrangements were announced.
[Image via General Artists Corporation]