Ma Rainey: As portrayed by Viola Davis within the Netflix movie adaption of August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Backside,” Rainey is a package deal of voluptuousness and volcanic expertise. Although the film focuses on one Chicago recording session with the Georgia-born singer (Gertrude Pridgett grew to become “Ma” Rainey when she married Will “Pa” Rainey in 1904), her catalog is notable not just for the vocals that produced her “Mom of the Blues” nickname however for the truth that she wrote a lot of her personal music, an unusual prevalence in these male-dominated instances. Her 1928 composition, “Show It on Me Blues,” pronounced Rainey’s bisexuality, whereas songs carried out with Louis Armstrong (“Jelly Bean Blues”) and excursions with Tommy Dorsey and his Wildcats Jazz Band expanded her success. The Ma Rainey Home and Blues Museum stands in her honor in Columbus. (For extra on Rainey, make sure that to take a look at our Feb. 22 Black Historical past Month profile of the singer.)
Billie Vacation: Whether or not tackling jazz, swing and even the delicate pop, Vacation mesmerizes. Her voice was its personal instrument and her phrasing and vocalizing are the hallmarks of her songs. Many, similar to “Woman Sings the Blues” — which she wrote with Herbie Nichols — and the potent “Unusual Fruit,” have been coated innumerable instances and her dying at solely 44 enhanced the legend of Woman Day. The luminous Andra Day will step into Vacation’s legacy with “The US Vs. Billie Vacation,” which debuts on Hulu Feb. 26.
Jazmine Sullivan: Did this elegant soul singer want the help of Eric Church to sing the nationwide anthem at this 12 months’s Tremendous Bowl? Destructive. However regardless of a profession that stretches again to 2008 along with her No. 1 R&B hit, “Want U Unhealthy,” three further studio albums, 13 different chart appearances and 12 Grammy nominations, I nonetheless heard a irritating variety of “Who’s that?” queries when Sullivan was introduced because the anthem co-performer. As you witnessed that evening, this Philly woman can belt. She will additionally coo. And she or he has lots to say. Her new album, “Heaux Tales,” is a lyrically deep idea album that options H.E.R., Ari Lennox and Anderson .Paak. It landed within the prime 10 following its January launch — the highest-charting album of Sullivan’s profession.
Summer time Walker: The Atlanta-based singer captivated the crowd at OneMusic Fest in 2019 with a set that blended slower songs similar to her multi-platinum seducer, “Women Want Love” (which prompted a remix that includes Drake) — from her debut album, “Over It” — with the snappy “Grave.” Whereas Walker’s silky voice is good for the neo-soul/R&B songs that populate her burgeoning catalog, she’s additionally adept with a rhyme, having paired with 21 Savage (“Secret”) and Rick Ross (“Summer time Reign”) the previous couple of years.
Chika: An Alabama native whose 2020 EP, “Business Video games,” helped nudge her right into a finest new artist Grammy nomination (the awards happen March 14), 23-year-old Jane Chika Oranika garnered on-line consideration for a Satisfaction-themed remix of Ed Sheeran’s “Form of You,” in addition to a scathing viral freestyle focusing on Kanye West for his help of ex-President Donald Trump. Her personal sound melds hip-hop and soul, with “Songs About You” providing a squiggly liquid groove and the title observe of her EP spotlighting her depraved circulation over a warped music field backdrop. Chika additionally shares area with Rapsody, Cordae and Busta Rhymes on Stevie Surprise’s funky bounce, “Can’t Put It within the Arms of Destiny,” an anthem launched in October directed at institutional racism and the Black Lives Matter motion.
Concerning the Creator
Melissa Ruggieri has coated music and leisure for The Atlanta Journal-Structure since 2010 and created the Atlanta Music Scene weblog. She’s stored vampire hours for greater than 20 years and remembers when MTV was superior.