How can you have a career and never say anything? To experience it all and not say a word, you're supposed to stand up and speak your mind in the music. Some people like to hear some reality. I'm not trying to save or fix the world. I'm just singing about my experiences. My songs are observations.
For four decades Lincoln's life has been a constant transformation of experience, of awakenings into growth, of the communication of what she has witnessed. She has grown through many stages: a naive young lounge singer; a movie and jazz club sex kitten; a vocal African-American with a deepened cultural awareness; a sensitive actress contradicting cultural perceptions; an artistic and cultural exile; a poetic jazz sage. She has gone by many names, finding and then defining herself individually, culturally, and humanistically. Lincoln's music, which at first served as an escape from the life around her, grew into a means of expression, understanding, and communication with others.
Lincoln was born Anna Marie Wooldridge in Chicago in 1930. Her parents soon moved the family to Calvin Center, Michigan, her mother believing a rural area was the best place to raise a family. Since the family was poor, the children often had to entertain themselves with singing, but as the tenth of twelve children, Lincoln had a hard time distinguishing herself. She also sang in school and church choirs, often as a soloist. Her musical approach, however, was mainly influenced by recordings of singers her father borrowed from neighbors: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne.