She was a Grammy nominee, a Dora Award winner and a member of the Order of Canada. But above all, Salome Bey was widely and affectionately known as “Canada’s first lady of the blues,” with a voice filled with sincerity and soul and a presence that nurtured a cohort of young artists.

The American-born Canadian singer-songwriter, composer and actress was a legend in life thanks to her contributions to both music and theatre, in the studio and on stage. Bey died on Aug. 8 in Toronto, according to the family’s publicist. She was 86.

Born in Newark, N.J., in 1933, Bey began her career with Andy and the Bey Sisters, a vocal group with her brother Andy and sister Geraldine that toured in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. In 1964, Bey moved to Toronto and joined the jazz club circuit, where she quickly made a mark on the local music scene and earned the sobriquet that stuck for the rest of her life.

Bey released her self-titled debut album in 1970 and recorded two albums with pianist Horace Silver in 1972. She also released live albums with the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir and at the Montreux Jazz Festival.