|Alberta Hunter was born in Memphis, Tennessee to a maid who worked in a bordello. There she began her career singing in men’s club. When her mother married in 1906, she decamped and moved to Chicago, where she heard she could make it as a singer. She didn’t at first, but then started gigging in bordellos, became well known, and eventually performed with King Oliver. In the 20s and 30s, her career flourished both as a singer and a songwriter. Hunter was married once, shortly, divorced, and in 1927 sailed to Europe with her partner, Lottie Taylor, with whom she lived until Taylor died. In 1957, Hunter’s mother died, which she said took the fun out of performing, so she claimed she was younger, forged a high school diploma, and entered nursing school. She remained a nurse until 1977, though she did start recording in 1971.
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