Born in Kentucky, Marion Harris began her singing career in vaudeville shows in Chicago in the early twentieth century. In the 1910s, just before the popular era of “race records,” Harris was one of the first artists to begin recording blues and jazz songs, famous for her ability to imitate African American dialect and speech. She was also the first to record the song “I Ain’t Got Nobody Much” in 1916, which would later be covered by a number of black artists such as Bessie Smith. Harris’ recordings reveal an often-untold history of the blues genre: its early records were directly influenced by minstrel shows where white artists imitated black speech and music to a white audience. Thus, black artists who came to dominate the blues genre later in the 1920s inherited a legacy of minstrelsy and vaudeville that was directly influenced by the commercial culture of popular music.