Few artists deserved to express the blues more than Ethel Waters.
Born as a result of her mother’s rape, Ethel was never shown any love by her family. She married into what would become an abusive relationship at the age of 13. In a classic frying pan/fire situation she left her husband and would eventually end up falling in love with a drug addict.
None of this real life horror robbed her voice of its immense heart and spirit. She became hugely popular for stirring performances like His Eye Is On The Sparrow and her 1925 recording I’ve Found A New Baby.
Ethel was the first singer to perform the standard Stormy Weather. She debuted the tune in 1933 at The Cotton Club in Harlem.
Listen: Ethel Waters - His Eye Is On The Sparrow
Listen: Ethel Waters - I’ve Found A New Baby (1925)