Mamie Smith

po_Smith-Mamie1Mamie Smith (née Robinson) (May 26, 1883 – September 16, 1946) was an American vaudeville singer, dancer, pianist and actress.

She appeared in several films late in her career. As a vaudeville singer she performed a number of styles, including jazz and blues. She entered blues history by being the first African-American artist to make vocal blues recordings in 1920. Willie “The Lion” Smith (no relation) explained the background to that recording in his autobiography, Music on My Mind.