Return to Musician Center

Bessie Smith

Born: April 15, 1894 | Died: September 26, 1937    Primary Instrument: Vocalist

Bessie Smith

“Empress of the Blues”

She embodied the meaning of the blues, living the life she sang about. Bessie Smith set the standard for blues singers on how it should be done.

Bessie Smith, born on Apr. 15, 1894, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was one of ten children. Her parents died by her eighth birthday, and she was raised by her older sister Viola. She was taught to sing and dance by her older brother Clarence, who later arranged an audition for Smith with the traveling Moses Stokes Show where she was hired as a dancer in 1912. She became friends with Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, a blues singer, who became her mentor. Bessie was quick to learn the profession, and by 1915 struck out own her own, singing in a vaudeville circuit and started establishing a reputation in the south and on the east coast....
read more

Source: James Nadal

comments powered by Disqus
Rank: 136 Views: 24,304 Fans: 2
Featured recording “Queen of the Blues   Vol. I”

Queen of the Blues Vol. I
JSP Records (2007)

Weekly Giveaways

Matthew Shipp

Matthew Shipp
About | Enter

Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley
About | Enter

Tord Gustavsen

Tord Gustavsen
About | Enter

Alfredo Rodriguez

Alfredo Rodriguez
About | Enter

An innovative and rich resource For Jazz Musicians

The All About Jazz musician database grows daily
with the help of musicians, supportive professionals and advocates.

Musician? Plug in and promote yourself today.

Learn how