Odetta Odetta (Born December 31, 1930), birth name Odetta Holmes, also known with her stepfather's surname as Odetta Felious, is an African-American singer. Her repertoire consists largely of American folk music, blues, and spirituals, although she first worked in the mode of musical theater. She also acted in several films, notably The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and the film of William Faulkner's Sanctuary.
She was born in Birmingham, Alabama, grew up in Los Angeles, California, and studied music at Los Angeles City College. Her first professional experience was in 1949 with a touring company of the musical Finian's Rainbow. Her folksinging career began in San Francisco, California; in 1953 she appeared at the Blue Angel nightclub in New York City. She recorded her first album in 1954 for Fantasy Records. Harry Belafonte included her in a nationwide television special in 1959. Her 1963 album titled Folk Songs' was one of the year's best-selling folk albums.
She continued to tour and record into the late 1990s, having released a studio album, Blues Everywhere I Go, in 1999. One year later, she provided guest vocals on the song "Waltzing Me All The Way Home" on Magnetic Fields side-project the 6ths album, Hyacinths and Thistles.
Among the many musicans who cite Odetta as a major musical influence are Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Tracy Chapman.