Her Story: Bessie Smith

Her Story: Bessie Smith

On February 15th, 1923, recording artist Bessie Smith released her first record “Down Hearted Blues”, it sold more then 2 million copies. Smith (1894 –1937) was an American blues singer, hailed as the “Empress of the Blues”, she was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. There are many things about Smith that made her stand apart starting at a young age, her songs were often about liberated women, she used a unique plainspoken style that foreshadowed rap, she was a wonderful writer and her voice was magnificent.

“I don’t want no drummer. I set the tempo.” 

-Bessie Smith

Please check out this short video about Bessie Smith from Biography.com

Links for Learning:

Genres Of Music | Defining Different Types Of Genres

Blues – Britannica


Down Hearted Blues – recording by Smith

Bessie Smith – Biography

About The Author


Mother, Photographer, Wisecracker.... not necessarily in that order.


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