Katherine Davis

Katherine (Helene) Davis (b. 1953) is a well known singer, actress, and songwriter on the Chicago scene. Born in Chicago, her family included a range of jazz performers and opera singers.  In fact, her grandfather performed with Louis Armstrong and Count Basie.


Davis decided at a young age that she wanted to combine her singing with the glittery world of show business.  Raised in Chicago’s infamous Cabrini-Green housing project on Chicago’s north side, Katherine and her family moved to the South Side in 1967.  The move proved a good one for Katherine, as it provided exposure to the jazz and blues clubs. Although she could get down with the best of them, she was chastised by her church choir director for sounding too “bluesy” and asked to lower her voice. Inspired by opera singers in her family,  she studied at the Sherwood Conservatory of Music and created the groundwork for the diversity that became her style.  In the 1980s, she also studied music theory and theater at Kennedy King College – Chicago.   About the same time,  Davis also landed a part in a play at Kuumba Theatre and then went on to play Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith to in Kuumba’s production of  “In the Heart of the Blues”.   That experience bolstered her Katherine’s career and she was soon singing at jazz and blues clubs, festivals, and concerts in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Europe, the Caribbean and Venezuela.


Whether portraying Bessie Smith or Ma Rainey, appearing with a pianist, fronting a blues band, or singing gospel, Davis follows her own course.  Saturated in blues and its history, Katherine’s unique musical approach recalls music as diverse as Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey, Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington, Brook Benton, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Mahalia Jackson, and Etta James.  In addition to her other recordings, Katherine Davis appears on Folksongs of Illinois, vol. 3 (2008).


Want to know more about Katherine Davis?  https://www.bluessingerkatherinedavis.com