Bessie Smith: Empress of the Blues

Black Women significantly contributed to the sound of the blues once the genre began to take off during the 1920s with the establishment of record companies. As black men posed as a threat to white people, black women were the face of the blues. Female blues singers used their music as an outlet express themselves […]

Ma Rainey

Ma Rainey Who was Ma Rainey? Born Gertrude Pridgett on April 26, 1886, in Columbus, GA, Ma Rainey was the first popular stage entertainer to incorporate authentic blues into her song collection. Rainey was an inspiration for people like Langston Hughes. Rainey was on the first women to be involved in the Blues genre. […]

Lady Day Sings the Blues: Billie Holiday

Lady Day Sings the Blues: Billie Holiday Billie Holiday Eleanora Fagan, professionally known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz and swing music singer with a career spanning 26 years. She was nicknamed “Lady Day” by her music producer and close friend Lester Young. Holiday has very influential tough on jazz music and pop singing, […]

Jimmy Reed

Origins of the Blues The Blues was a form of music that came directly after Ragtime music. It was popular in the 20th century amongst the black community. Blues music was found in the Mississippi Delta by people in poverty.The Blues was a form of music that incorporated elements of negro spiritual instruments (the fiddle) […]

The Mills Brothers

The Mills Brothers WHO WERE THE MILLS BROTHERS? The American vocal quartet that among the most unique and influential in the history of both jazz and mainstream popular music.  The Mills Brothers began as a barbershop quartet. They gave their first public performances in variety shows on the radio in  Cincinnati, Ohio. In […]

Ruth Brown

Miss Rhythm! Background Ruth Brown was a famed Blues singer and songwriter with an incomparable career that played an instrumental role in shaping the Blues genre. She was rightfully crowned the “Queen of R&B” and “Miss Rhythm” due to her role in establishing Atlantic Records as an industry giant. Born Ruth Alston Weston in Portsmouth, […]

Modern Day Blues: Shemkia Copeland

Modern Day Blues: Shemekia Copeland Written By: Mauranne Vernier Thesis Blues began around the 1870s. That was over a century ago. However, the genre is still flourishing and thriving thanks to musicians like Shemekia Copeland, who embodies what it means to be a modern-day Blues artist. Background Shemekia Copeland was born in Harlem, New York […]

Muddy Waters: An American Icon

Muddy Waters: An American Icon The Blues Started in the south, the blues were a way African-Americans could express their sorrows and despair over racial segregation and oppression. Although started by African-Americans, the blues became something everyone could relate to in regards to having hardships.  Muddy Waters was a legendary performer who changed the face […]

Koko Taylor; The Queen of The Blues

Life and Career Cora Anna Walton, better known as Koko Taylor, was born on a farm in Shelby County, Tennessee on September 28, 1928. Her husband was Robert “Pops” Taylor, a truck driver who in 1952, left Tennessee with her for Chicago, Illinois. It was there in the mid to late 1950s, where she began singing […]

Women in Blues: Ma Rainey

Women in Blues: Ma Rainey The south is where Blues was born. Ma Rainey is known to be one of the first African American women to be involved in the genre of Blues. Gertrude “Ma” Rainey was born in 1886 and raised in Columbus Georgia by her two parents Thomas Pridgett Sr. and Ella Allen-Pridgett. […]

Pioneer of Blues: Alberta Hunter

Alberta Hunter Alberta Hunter was an underrated blues singer who didn’t garner celebrity status until much later. She was considered the upmost consistent blues singer due to the fact that she sung for practically the entire twentieth century, and all throughout her retirement. This post will describe Alberta Hunters life and her legacy on the […]

Ida Cox: “The Uncrowned Queen of Blues”

Ida Cox: “The Uncrowned Queen of Blues” In early Blues music, many female artists were headlining the genre and making a name for themselves. Famous Blues artists such as Mamie Smith, Bessie Smith, and Lucille Hegamin are great artists who are often mentioned in relation to the Blues genre, but Ida Cox is often overlooked. […]

It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing

It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing The formation of jazz can be contributed to genres ragtime, blue and African American religious music, especially as some of these genres overlapped at the beginning of the 1920s. Starting in New Orleans, Lousiana, Jazz brought a more upbeat vibe, especially as brass […]

Folk Music’s Hidden Messages

Folk Music’s Hidden Messages Folk music is derived from Africa and has migrated to the United States as a result of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. This genre of music focuses on storytelling and the expression of emotion to convey a message. Folk music amongst enslaved Africans allowed a tradition to stay alive throughout in the Americas […]

Baby’s Got Crazy Blues: Mamie Smith

Thesis: Mamie Smith is significant by being the first to make a blues record, which paved way for other blues artists and increased the popularity of race records. The blues is a genre of music that originated in the south, expressing  experiences, feelings, and emotions.  In this genre, there is a primary voice, the singer […]

A Musical Chameleon: Big Bill Broonzy

A Musical Chameleon: Big Bill Broonzy Chicago is a city that marches to its own beat. Comfortably situated in the Midwest, Chicago has produced several musical greats, no matter the music genre. It is a city as diverse as the musicians that call it home. It was this energy that influenced one of the pioneers […]

The First Fisk Jubilee Group of Many..

The First Fisk Jubilee Singers: The Impact on the World The Fisk Jubilee Singers were an African American group formed by students attending Fisk University in 1871. In the beginning the sole purpose of organizing this group was to raise funds for the college through singing traditional spirituals but also some songs by Stephen Foster. […]