Irma Thomas is known to R&B fans all over the world, but she’s most beloved in her hometown of New Orleans. Everyone in New Orleans calls her Irma. And everyone knows her songs, like “It’s Raining.” Irma sang the 1962 R&B classic at Tulane University’s 2018 commencement ceremony earlier this month — the same ceremony where she received an honorary degree from the school.
“Well, why not? I’m there,” she says. “Few extra minutes won’t hurt anything. I mean, it [will] bring some more joy to some more people, why not?”
Irma is well known for giving her fans what they want. The 77-year-old has been recording and performing for over half a century and she always sings requests. One song she always dedicates to her fans is “Forever Young.”
“I have fans who’ve been fans of mine for the better part of my career, and they have brainwashed their children with my music that they have become fans,” she says. “So when I sing ‘Forever Young,’ I’m thinking about these people [that] have been with me all these years with this youthfulness about them. And it always makes we well up when I sing it.”