Bessie Smith – “The Empress of the Blues”

 

Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer. Nicknamed “The Empress of the Blues”, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists.

Bessie Smith – 1936 photograph by Carl Van Vechten