Some time over the past couple thousand years, the word diva went from meaning "goddess" to referring to top-tier opera singers to referring to queens like Aretha Franklin to referring to Pink. Let's back up a bit. Pink ain't no diva. Even the more-talented Beyoncé is not a diva. You've got to reserve the power of superlatives so that they actually mean something. Divas are ladies with control and soul; you don't get to be a diva on your first lap around the block. St. Louis would be lucky to have two women who deserved the word.
St. Louis is lucky. Because we've got Kim Massie (pictured) and Denise Thimes, two absolute, bona fide divas, in our midst. And we're even luckier this week, because the two ladies are going to be onstage together at the Pageant for the 19th annual Women & Blues Concert to support Redevelopment Opportunities for Women.
Anyone who caught Massie and Thimes in the Black Rep's It Ain't Nothing But the Blues last year understands the treat that concertgoers can expect: The two ladies have voices from another planet, a planet where love feels better and hurts more and there's always music in the air. Massie's voice is more muscular and blues-based, and she can rip up a song such as "Strange Fruit" but still catch the smooth sweetness of "Easy Like Sunday Morning." Thimes has the supple voice of a jazz singer, but she has no problem laying it all out with pure passion on a song such as "I Put a Spell on You."
There may be a method of determining which of the two truly has the better voice, but there's no need. These women are on the upper peaks, the top tier. They're divas. Can't we just leave it at that?