Soul legend Otis Clay dies aged 73

The R&B star and Hall of Fame member died in his hometown of Chicago

Soul singer Otis Clay died aged 73 in his hometown of Chicago yesterday evening (January 8) after suffering a heart attack.

The Hall of Fame member and Grammy nominee’s manager, Miki Mulvehil, told Associated Press that Clay was preparing for a tour and had been nominated for two Blues Music Awards – one for his 2015 Billy Price collaboration album ‘This Time For Real’ and one for Soul Blues Music Artist.

His collaborator Price today commented, “After the shock of this wore off a little, I was left with a feeling of gratitude to have known him. 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.”

Clay was born in 1942 and grew up in Waxhaw Mississippi, singing at church. He joined various gospel groups in Chicago during the 50s and started to record secular music in 1965 after signing with One-derful! Records. His first hit was 1967’s ‘That’s How It Is (When You’re in Love)’.

He moved to Hi Records, where Al Green was a labelmate, in 1971, and in 1980 released the original version of ‘The Only Way Is Up’ on his own label Echo Records. In 2008 he was nominated for a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.

His most recent album, ‘This Time for Real’ was recorded with Billy Price in 2014 and released in 2015. Price commented, “There were so many twists and turns with that album, and lots of times when it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen. So I’m glad to not be full of regret over something that might have happened but didn’t.”