Could you conceive of music without the talented contributions of female vocalists? There are a plethora of amazing female vocalists that cross genres such as jazz, rock, country, blues, and more. Female vocalists have made an indelible musical impression within 20th century music. Each vocalist has brought about lauded attention to their specific genre and some have even become legendary. Below are some of the top 20th century female vocalists.
Lady Day – Billie Holiday
With a musical career that spans over thirty years it is easy to see how Billie Holiday, or Lady Day has made her mark upon the world of jazz. In her day, Billie Holiday was an influential singer in both pop and jazz music. She took inspiration from the instrumental musicians that surrounded her and was a master of lyrical phrasing. From her start in Harlem nightclubs until her sold out performances at Carnegie Hall, Billie Holiday impressed with her every vocal delivery.
The Electric Janis Joplin
One of the most important female vocalists in rock is the electric Janis Joplin. Her musical career began as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company before she began her solo career. She is well-known for rocketing to fame due to her breath-taking performance while at the Monterey Pop Festival. To say she was possessed by the rock Gods was simply proven by the ecstatic abandon she used when performing.
The Empress of Blues Bessie Smith
Known as The Empress of Blues, Bessie Smith was one of the most popular classic blues singers during the 1920’s and 1930’s. She had major influence over the jazz and blues singing of her day. Working alongside Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith had an impressively powerful voice before striking it out on her own. Her popularity grew and she joined the ranks of some of the most famous musicians of the era Cole Hawkins, Louis Armstrong, and Fletcher Henderson.
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