2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Fine Arts

The Effects of Gender on the Blues Industry in the 1920s and 1940s
Ann E. Shirley
Dr. Marc Rice, Faculty Mentor

This paper is an exploration of the influence of gender on the success of artists in the blues recording industry. It will focus on the changes between the 1920s, when the most successful artists were black female vocalists such as Gertrude "Ma" Rainey and Bessie Smith, to the 1940s, when female musicians were rare and those who were successful, such as Billie Holiday, struggled to gain respect and equality. This paper uses samples of lyrics from each of these artists to illustrate the changes made in the music industry during those times.

Keywords: blues, gender, race, recording industry, 1920s-1940s

Topic(s):Music

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 4-1
Location: OP 2210
Time: 8:30

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