Ma Rainey

Full Name Ma Rainey
Age 134 Years Old
Nick Name Rainey
Gender Female
Birth Date April 26th, 1886
Birth Place Columbus, Georgia, U.S.

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About Ma Rainey

Gertrude Pridgett, who was one of the earliest African-American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of blues singers to record was professionally known as Ma Rainey. She was well recognized for her powerful vocal abilities, energetic disposition, majestic phrasing, and a "moaning" style of singing. She began performing as a teenager and became known as "Ma" Rainey after her marriage to Will "Pa" Rainey, in 1904. The "Mother of the Blues" was among the first singers to infuse folk-blues music into her performances. She recorded more than one hundred songs over the course of her career, including "See See Rider." Beginning her singing career at the Springer Opera House at the turn of the twentieth century, she and her husband toured around the South performing in tent shows and cabarets. As recent news, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" movie review: Chadwick Boseman is breathtaking in his final film, delivering scene after scene of heartbreaking intensity.  Sadly, Rainey is not with us for a very long time as she passed away on 22nd December 1939 at the age of 53.

Death of Ma Rainey

Ma Rainey was an African-American professional blues singer whom we lost on 22nd December 1939 at the age of 53. Rainey returned to her home town, Columbus, Georgia, where she ran three theatres, the Lyric, the Airdome, and the Liberty Theatre until her death in 1935 though she died of a heart attack in 1939, (or 57, according to the research of Bob Eagle), in the City Hospital of Columbus, Georgia, U.S. We are so sorry for your loss.

Famous For

  • Being an African-American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of blues singers to record.
  • For her powerful vocal abilities, energetic disposition, majestic phrasing, and a "moaning" style of singing. 

Ma Rainey, a famous singer

Source: @the-take.com

Early Life of Ma Rainey

Ma Rainey took birth on 26th April 1886 with the real name or full name of Gertrude Pridgett in Columbus, Georgia, U.S. However, the 1900 census indicates she was born in September 1882 in Alabama, and researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc suggest that her birthplace was in Russell County, Alabama. She held an American nationality and African-American ethnicity. Analogously, she was from Christianity religion and her race was black. She used to happily celebrate her birthday on 26th April of every year and she lastly celebrated her 53rd birthday though as her birthdate, her star sign was Taurus. She was the second of five children of Thomas (father) and Ella Pridgett (mother), from Alabama. She had at least two brothers and a sister, Malissa Pridgett Nix, with whom Gertrude was later confused by some writers.

Career of Ma Rainey

  • Ma Rainey commenced her singing career as a performer at a talent show in Columbus, Georgia when she was about 12 to 14 years old though she was also a member of the First African Baptist Church, she started performing in black minstrel shows as she later claimed that she was first exposed to blues music around 1902.
  • She then formed the Alabama Fun Makers Company with her husband, Will Rainey, but in 1906 they both joined Pat Chappelle's much larger and more popular Rabbit's Foot Company.
  • After that, she was described as "Mrs. Gertrude Rainey, our coon shouter" in 1910 whereas she continued with the Rabbit's Foot Company after it was taken over by a new owner, F. S. Wolcott, in 1912.
  • The Raineys were billed as "Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues" at the beginning of 1914.
  • Then, she signed a recording contract with Paramount though she was discovered by Paramount Records producer J. Mayo Williams, and in December she made her first eight recordings in Chicago, including "Bad Luck Blues", "Bo-Weevil Blues" and "Moonshine Blues".
  • She recorded with Louis Armstrong, including on "Jelly Bean Blues", "Countin' the Blues" and "See, See Rider" in 1924 as well as embarking on a tour of the Theater Owners Booking Association (TOBA) in the South and Midwest of the United States in the following year.
  • Towards the end of the 1920s, live vaudeville went into decline, being replaced by radio and recordings as her career was not immediately affected; she continued recording for Paramount and earned enough money from touring to buy a bus with her name on it.
  • Also, she worked with Dorsey again and recorded 20 songs, before Paramount terminated her contract in 1928.
  • Furthermore, Sterling A. Brown wrote a poem, "Ma Rainey", in 1932, about how "When Ma Rainey / comes to town" people everywhere would hear her sing as Sandra Lieb wrote the first full-length book about Rainey, Mother of the "Blues: A Study of Ma Rainey" in 1981.
  • "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom", a 1982 play by August Wilson, is a fictionalized account of the recording of her song of the same title in December 1927. 
  • As a piece of fresh news, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" movie review: Chadwick Boseman is breathtaking in his final film, delivering scene after scene of heartbreaking intensity. 

Everything You Need To Know About Chadwick Boseman

  • Four musicians converge at a recording studio one afternoon. They await their boss, Ma Rainey, a legendary singer known in certain circles as the Mother of Blues. It's a title befitting a queen, and Viola Davis certainly plays Ma Rainey like some sort of despot. Viola Davis portrays Rainey in a 2020 film adaption of the play, distributed by Netflix.

Viola Davis in the title role in 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'

Source: @wbur.org

Awards, Honors, and Achievements of Ma Rainey

  • Ma Rainey was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2004, "See See Rider Blues" (performed in 1924) was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and was added to the National Recording Registry by the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

Personal Life of Ma Rainey

Reflecting on Ma Rainey's personal life, she was a married woman. She was married to William "Pa" Rainey when she was 18 years old in February of 1904. The couple adopted a son named Danny. Danny joined their act as well. Ma Rainey's and Pa Rainey's relationship was not expectational as Ma developed a relationship with Bessie Smith. They became so close that rumors circulated that their relationship was possibly also romantic in nature. It was also rumored that Smith once bailed Rainey out of jail. Furthermore, talking about her sexual orientation, she was straight.

Net Worth of Ma Rainey

Moving towards Ma Rainey's net worth, she had a worth at the time of her death was close to $5 million, whereas she also earned a fine amount of salary too which was also in millions of dollars per year. She had earned a handsome amount of money from her career as her major source of income was from her singing career. She had also successfully established herself as one of the fashionable singers in the industry as well as she had truly come a real long way in her professional career.

Body Measurement of Ma Rainey

Ma Rainey was a beautiful and versatile singer who stood at a perfect height with a balanced body weight. She was nearly six feet tall and weighed close to two hundred pounds. Rainey had no problem saying that she thought she was unattractive. Jack Dupree, who was also an African American Blues Singer, stated that "She was a really ugly woman." But he went on to talk about how when she sang, the way she looked was forgotten about and not even a factor. Graceful woman Rainey had black hair and dark brown eyes color as her body build type was average. Thomas A. Dorsey, who was dubbed the "Father of Gospel Music," often worked with Ma in the 1920s. He said, "When she started singing, the gold in her teeth would sparkle." He added, "She was in the spotlight. She possessed listeners; they swayed, they rocked, they moaned and groaned, as they felt the blues with her."

Ma Rainey's Teeth

Source: @thecinemaholic

Quick Facts About Ma Rainey

Personal Details

Real Name Gertrude Pridgett
Profession(s) Singer
Nationality American
Ethnicity African-American
Birth Nation America
Place Of Birth Columbus, Georgia, U.S.
Religion Christianity
Race Black
Horoscope Taurus
Famous For Being an African-American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of blues singers to record.
Best Known For For her powerful vocal abilities, energetic disposition, majestic phrasing, and a "moaning" style of singing.

Cause Of Death

Death Date 22nd December 1939
Cause Of Death Heart attack

Family Details

Father Thomas
Mother Ella Pridgett
Siblings Two brothers and a sister
Son Danny (Adopted)

Marital Status

Marital Status Married
Husband William "Pa" Rainey
Sexual Orientation Straight

Body Statistics

Hair Color Black
Eye Color Dark brown
Body Type Average

Net Worth & Salary

Source of Wealth Singing career
Net Worth $5 million