Bessie Smith: An Extraordinary Singer

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Register to read the introduction…She left a huge impact on the music played today. Some people say, if it was not for her, we would never have singers like Adele nor Lady Gaga. Nevertheless, we would never have had Frank Sinatra or Janis Joplin who also found inspiration in her. There are many more singers/performers who were influenced by Bessie and her way of singing. However, some people do not know who she was or anything about her. She slowly disappeared behind the scratchy sounds on LP’s or vinyl’s. Her singing is just not the same on CD, some say that with taking the scratchy noises out of the recordings her voice just did not sound the…show more content…
And when the 1920s came, there was a huge turn around when women who were black were for the first time recorded in studios singing the ongoing blues. Bessie first auditioned at the Okeh Records, however, they refused to do recordings with her because her voice was too rough for them (Ward, 2003). Which did not stop her from singing nor performing. After a while, in 1923, she signed a contract with the Columbia Records and moved to Philadelphia. From there on her career went only up. With her publicity and the performances she gave, people adored her more and more. She did promotional tours which were remarkably successful. That is when she got her nick name ‘The Empress of Blues’. She had a really strong and powerful voice filled with different kinds of emotions and her songs were never filled with absurdity but always had a story which many people found themselves. She was admired by almost everyone. During that time she met a man working as security whom she later married before her first album was released. Bessie’s first recording the ‘Down hearted blues’ sold over 750,000 copies (University, 2002). This made her the highest paid black entertainer at that time, leading her own shows. However, in the background she struggled with alcoholism and also was going through an abusive relationship with her husband. Even that did not tear her apart, she was still on the Columbia’s A-series for most of that year. That made the label decide to establish the ‘race-records’ series with Bessie the star of them. The series first issued Bessie’s ‘Cemetery Blues’. She made a total of 159 titles which were issued by Columbia Records. The third and final volume was released on 1931. (Whitehead,

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