"My first step was in 1962," she said. "It took almost 40 years to get me to the next step."
She's still hoping to take a few more steps, although LaVette acknowledged that she's had some setbacks. The past year was disappointing. Her latest record, "Thankful N' Thoughtful," again got good reviews, but didn't exactly have incredible record sales, even though she toured like crazy.
"Last year, we did eight countries in Europe, seven provinces in Canada, 20 states in America, including Alaska," she said, "plus Africa, Mexico, Australia and Japan."
It was so much that she hardly knew where she was most of the time.
"It all looked the same to me," she said. "I come in through the backdoor, and it could be Spain or Toledo, Ohio."
Her memoir, she said, also didn't do as well as expected, although LaVette said the film rights have been optioned for a film. No one is working on it, though.
Still, as much as 2013 was a disappointment, she looks forward to the things this year brings. LaVette is celebrating 50 years in music, and she's got her health.
She laughed about it.
"I can still wear a size 6," she said, "and I can still stand in high heels."
She hasn't given up yet.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.
Want to go?
With Bettye LaVette, David Broza, Matrimony, Declan O'Rourke and Noah Gundersen
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Culture Center Theater
TICKETS: Free. From "Mountain Stage": "It's been a long week for a lot of West Virginians with the water crisis. We're offering up this Sunday's show for FREE, as our way of helping folks get back on their feet.
INFO: Call 800-594-TIXX or visit www.mountainstage.org