The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“So Help Me” by Mildred Bailey

We all know who Billie Holiday is, but how many people know about her rivalry with Mildred Bailey? Mildred Bailey was a jazz singer throughout the 1920s and 40s and even earned the nickname “Mrs. Swing”. The lilt of her voice really does encompass that jazzy-feel we all love so much.

And it’s a song like this one, “So Help Me”, that really shows how impactful Bailey was as a jazz singer, influencing many of the great jazz names we all know. Mrs. Swing worked with Bing Crosby as a teenager and has even been attributed to opening the door for other female jazz singers like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.

As a Native American woman, Bailey was even referred to as one the first white singers to ever master the jazz-flair. While her Native American roots were erased from her career, Mildred Bailey was still able to diversify the jazz world.


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