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Swing Ladies Swing: Keely Smith

Amanda Wilde

Keely Smith never thought she’d travel outside her hometown of Norfolk, Virginia, much less perform worldwide. Then she met and sang for bandleader Louis Prima. Their now-famous collaboration combined two original voices with infectious uptempo big band sounds. Together, they took home one of the first Grammy awards ever given for their 1958 performance of That Old Black Magic. Keely Smith went on to a successful solo career, performing at President Kennedy's inauguration, receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Cherokee Medal of Honor, and a Touchstone award for her contributions to the music industry. In recent years, she has produced several critically acclaimed recordings, including the Grammy nominated Keely Sings Sinatra. She continues to perform to the delight of audiences around the country. KUOW's Amanda Wilde interviewed Keely Smith between singing engagements on August 22th, 2006.