Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith

The Empress of the Blues.

Founded

April 15, 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Full Name

Date of Birth

April 15, 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Still Alive

Date of Death

September 26, 1937 in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith

About The artist

"The first major blues and jazz singer on record and one of the most powerful of all time, Bessie Smith rightly earned the title of 'The Empress of the Blues.' Even on her first records in 1923, her passionate voice overcame the primitive recording quality of the day and still communicates easily to today's listeners (which is not true of any other singer from that early period). At a time when the blues were in and most vocalists (particularly vaudevillians) were being dubbed 'blues singers,' Bessie Smith simply had no competition."
Scott Yanow, Allmusic.com

Did you know...

Bessie was turned away by Black Swan Records because they considered her personality too rough for their label.

Other Artists from this genre

Blind Lemon Jefferson

Blind Lemon Jefferson

Wrote and recorded "Black Snake Moan."

Ma Rainey

Ma Rainey

Mother of the Blues.

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

The King of the Delta Blues.

Genres from this era

Blues

Blues

Born in the Mississippi Delta.

Jazz

Jazz

Born in New Orleans with roots in ragtime and the blues.

Swing

Swing

The dominant form of American dance music for over a decade.

Country & Folk

Country & Folk

Black musical tradition is a part of its core.

Gospel

Gospel

The progeny of spirituals and cousin to the blues.