The world took notice when Betty Davis, aka the Queen of Funk, released her first song since 1979, A Little Bit Hot Tonight. Davis wrote, arranged, and produced the new song and Pitt ethnomusicology doctoral candidate Danielle Maggio sang lead vocals. Response to the news that the legendary Davis was active again was immediate and international with coverage in Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Pitchfork, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, The Wire, as well as articles in publications from Turkey, France, Mexico, Ukraine, Georgia, Japan, Indonesia, Netherlands, and more.
Maggio first became acquainted with Davis when she was an associate producer for the documentary Betty: They Say I’m Different which premiered in 2017. Her research has focused on how Davis’ creativity and performance challenged many of the stereotypes around female sexuality in the music business during the 60s and 70s.
Along with Maggio on vocals, the credits for A Little Bit Hot Tonight include current graduate students Samuel Okoh-Boateng (keyboards), and Brian Riordan (percussion) and alumni Matt Aelmore (bass, PhD 2015) and John Bagnato (guitars, PhD 2018). All proceeds from sales go to the Betty Davis Scholarship, an annual award for a graduating senior who is pursuing music at Steel Valley High School (Ms. Davis’ alma mater). Congratulations to Betty Davis, Danielle, and all our great music department artists on this release!