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Alberta Hunter. Singer…Songwriter…Legend!. Alberta’s Early Life. Born April 1 st 1895 in Memphis, Tennessee At the age of 11 left for Chicago, Illinois, where she peeled potatoes by day and at night would pester club owners in order to fulfil her dream of being a singer.
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Alberta Hunter Singer…Songwriter…Legend!
Alberta’s Early Life. • Born April 1st 1895 in Memphis, Tennessee • At the age of 11 left for Chicago, Illinois, where she peeled potatoes by day and at night would pester club owners in order to fulfil her dream of being a singer. • Eventually, after playing many horrible clubs, she landed a headlining performance at the ‘Dreamland ballroom’, the most distinguished venue for black entertainers. • From 1917 for 5 years she worked for the Dreamland earing a whopping $35 a week. This is when she began touring Europe. • She performed in Paris and London, when she visited Europe. Europeans treated her very differently, they treated her like a true artist, showing her the utmost respect and admiration she deserved. • This made a great impression on Alberta and encouraged her to keep doing well in music
1920’s • Recorded a lot of songs. • Worked with several different companies eg: Black Swan, Paramount, Columbia etc. • She wrote ‘Downhearted Blues’ ( while with Paramount) which was secretly sold off by Ink Williams to Columbia Records. This meant she didn’t receive the royalties for the song, also it became a huge hit for Columbia's Bessie Smith. She never recorded for Williams again. • In 1928 Alberta appeared alongside Paul Robeson( singer ) in the first ever London production of ‘Show Boat at Drury Lane.’
1930’s • Throughout the 1930’s Alberta spent a lot of time performing in nightclubs across Europe. • In winter 1934 she turned up for the Jack Jackson’s society orchestra at London’s Dorchester Hotel. • Some of her songs during this time were simply pop songs and not blues at all. • 1935 she returned to the US. • Her recordings after returning to the US didn’t go down so well and only thanks to her live performances did she manage to succeed. • IN 1940’s (world war II) and 1950’s (Korean war) Alberta entertained troops.
1970’s • From 1954 to 1977 Hunter worked in nursing as she thought it was a more fulfilling job. • In 1977 the hospital she worked for retired her • In 1978 at age 81 Hunter returned to the singing world and people went crazy to try and see her at her comeback • She perfomed for 2 weeks in the Cookery club which went down fantastically. • Due to the success she signed with Columbia Records. • Her comeback lasted 6 years and during these years she made a film and her she filled the Cookery Club every time she performed.
Personal Life • Alberta was known to be a very fun and loveable person, musicians were always very happy and excited to work with her. • Alberta was a lesbian, though she kept this very quiet and it wasn’t found out for many years. • Hunter was inducted into the Blues hall of fame in 2011, though her album ‘Amtrack Blues’ was honoured previously in 2008.
Why Alberta Hunter? • I searched through many singers in the blues era however none of them really stood out for me until I came along Alberta Hunter. • She puts her all into the music and because she also wrote all of her songs, I feel it gives her music more authenticity. • Her music is very frank and simple, yet that’s what makes it even better
My Personal favourites. • Alberta Hunter- Two-fisted, Double-Jointed, Rough and Ready Man http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfggPdr4lNk • Alberta hunter – The Love I Have For You http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UKciwFGQgc
References: • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberta_Hunter • http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/the-25-best-female-blues-artists-ever-264300/1 • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmFtwwCOmmo&list=RD02vfggPdr4lNk • http://www.allmusic.com/artist/alberta-hunter-mn0000935212/biography Presentation by Natalie Maceira