Mamie Smith was one of the first female blues musicians. She often combined the smooth sound of jazz into her powerful bellow of heartbreak. She gave blues music new life that lead to a new sound that would carry blues music into the next lonely road.
Her first recording took place in the early 1920’s. She released popular hits like Crazy Blues, You Can’t keep a Good Man Down and Do It Mr. So and So. Her Blues music isn’t the traditional sound of blues that we have all come accustomed to. Her sound was smooth with an earthy rawness that made people feel her soul deep within the inner core of each individual who stopped for just a moment to hear her roar.
Mamie grew up in a life of poverty combined with old school prejudices. If you listen to her voice you can hear the inner strength in each word. She rose above her time, bowing down to no man. It had to be that passion that led her into a music career that few women seen during her time and even fewer women of color.
Her influence in the music industry went beyond her songs and her voice. Her influenced opened the doors for woman vocalist nationwide. Women have come a long way in music, across on genres. I like to think that Mamie Smith in her own way made that happen. She stood tall and took that first step to open the doors to music and pull all women out of the kitchen and into the spotlight.