BOSTON — To put the finishing touch on a spectacular first night of the Boston Summer Arts Festival, Irma Thomas picked up the microphone one more time in the Copley Club and had the audience swooning and swaying through musical history.

Thomas, now 71 and 50+ years into her musical career, talked on July 24 with WGBHArts contributor Bridgit Brown about what soul music really is. “Soul,” she said, “is the satisfactory feeling that you get from doing what you love. It has nothing to do with a genre of music, and everybody has it.” (>>Read the full article).

Thomas told Boston Public Radio's Edgar Herwick she found her love for music while waiting tables in New Orleans. She would jump up on stage with the band once in awhile to sing a set. Her boss fired her for not doing her job, and she set out on a path that took her to royal heights.

WATCH: The Preservation Hall Jazz Band Swings Copley