Jessye Norman visits Augusta - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Jessye Norman visits Augusta


"Singing is much a part of me as breathing is, really," Jessye Norman said as she reflected on her career.

The Augusta native and renowned Grammy award-winning performer said she's been singing for as long as she's been speaking.

"My parents tell me, or they've told me, that I really enjoyed singing even as a very, very young child and that anything I would hear I would try to mimic," she said.

Norman, a graduate of A. R. Johnson Junior High and Lucy Laney high school, would go on to perform opera, Negro spirituals, jazz and classical music all over the world.

"I'm so lucky in the performances that I do and the experiences that I've had to date, that it would be truly impossible to say that this is 'the one' that sort of made me think, 'oh this is really marvelous.' I think this is marvelous about twice a week."

What is marvelous is that Norman, who lives in New York, frequents home to visit the Jessye Norman Performing Arts School, named in her honor. She said giving back is in her nature.

"One isn't allowed to walk this earth and look after oneself only," Norman said. "We have to extend ourselves, beyond ourselves, beyond our professions and understand there are people on our sides, there are people behind us that need a extra help."

On Friday afternoon, Norman, who recently received the NAACP's Spingarn Medal, is taking questions and giving advice to the students at her school but her advice to anyone that wants to be successful in anything is clear.

"For anything that one would want to choose as a profession, you have to be prepared to work hard and to give it your best and to understand that even though you might have a beautiful talent for, perhaps playing the piano, that you're still going to have to practice."

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