“‘California Soul’ Singer with an angelic voice passed away at 81

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Marlena Shaw, renowned for her iconic song “California Soul,” has passed away, as confirmed by her daughter.

The legendary jazz and R&B vocalist, Marlena Shaw, died on Friday afternoon, according to a video posted by her daughter Marla on Facebook. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Shaw’s most famous track, “California Soul,” originally performed by The Messengers, became a hit after she covered it. The song has left a lasting impact on hip-hop and popular culture as a whole.

The song has been featured in various productions, including “The Italian Job,” “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “All Things Must Pass,” “Pixie,” the TV series “Bad Sisters,” and the video game “Grand Theft Auto V.” Additionally, it has been widely sampled in hip-hop, with artists like Gang Starr, The Game, Jay Rock, Elzhi, Quasimoto, Jay Electronica, Laika, and Xzhibit incorporating it into their works.

While “California Soul” stands as her most enduring classic, Marlena Shaw had numerous other hits such as “Feel Like Making Love,” “Loving You Was Like A Party,” “Go Away Little Boy,” and “Is You or Is You Ain’t My Baby” — another song she covered that earned her a Grammy nomination in 1990.