Women In Blues By: Donecia Mouring

Names such as Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith, Eta James,and Ma Rainey aren’t just random names, these are women who made a great name for blues music. Blues music came about in the 1920s and it became a gateway for many women, black women, to express their feelings about sex, sadness, and feeling blue.

 In 1923 Bessie Smith signed with Cadillac Records and became the first Blues superstar. She was paid two thousand dollars a week for her performances making her the highest-paid black performers of her time.  

Ma Rainey also known as the,  “Mother of the Blues,”  was recognized as the first great professional blues vocalist.  Her ability to capture the mood and essence of black rural  southern life of the 1920s, quickly gained her followers throughout the south. During Rainey’s career she was introduced to Bessie Smith who was a new recruit. Rainey later became the inspiration for the style of Smith’s singing.

Mamie Smith made music history in the 1920s  when she stepped into a studio and recorded the first ever Blues recording called ” Crazy Blues.”  Smith’s music career paved the way for many female Blues and Jazz artist such as Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey.



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