Band: Irma Thomas
Date: Friday, Jan. 20, at 8 p.m.
Venue: Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, 151 Beach Blvd. (Biloxi),
Tickets: $20-$35, available through Ticketmaster

“Soul Queen of New Orleans” Irma Thomas will perform for her loyal Gulf Coast subjects in Biloxi this Friday. Born in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, Thomas’ dream of becoming a professional vocalist began in her early teens. Before she was 20, her big break came through collaborations with legendary Crescent City bandleader Tommy Ridgley, who helped Thomas land her first record deal.

In an era when vocalists such as Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight thrived, Thomas brought NOLA flair to the soul diva world. With Allen Toussaint as her producer, Thomas’ sweet, satiny vocals were set to music forged in the Big Easy.

For more than 50 years, Thomas has continued to release new studio material as well as greatest hits compilations. The 2014 release “Full Time Woman: The Lost Cotillion Album” features a collection of unreleased tracks from Thomas’ early days with Atlantic Records’ Cotillion label. This album gives soul enthusiasts a chance to experience the Soul Queen of New Orleans during one of her first forays into the world of professional music.