Forebears: Bessie Smith, The Empress Of The Blues

By Gwen Thompkins

In her music, Bessie Smith — known as the "Empress Of The Blues" — communicated the kind of outward urgency and inner stillness that often signals the telling of an absolute truth.

The pioneering singer influenced blues, jazz, rock and beyond with her powerful voice and inventive delivery, displaying a greatness rooted in the ability to channel her life story into her work.

(Image credit: Carl Van Vechten Photograph Collection/Library of Congress)

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Source: Music

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