Mary Ann Fisher
Rhythm & Blues Singer (1923-2004)
Mary Ann Fisher was born in Henderson, Kentucky in 1923. Fisher had eight brothers and sisters and lived in a shotgun house here until her father’s death in 1927. Fisher’s mother realized she couldn’t raise eight kids on her own, so the children were split between relatives and an orphanage. At the tender age of 4, Fisher was sent to the Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children in Louisville, Kentucky. Fisher left the orphanage in her late teens to start her career as a singer.
During the 1940s, Fisher entered a talent contest at the Lyric Theatre in Louisville. She was slowly building a name for herself in the Louisville area, but her career didn’t really take off until she met Ray Charles at a USO club in Fort Knox. Fisher toured and had a relationship with Charles from 1955 through 1958. After her split with Charles, Fisher decided to begin her solo career. She performed in theatres with legends such as B.B. King, James Brown, Jackie Wilson and many more. Fisher returned to Louisville in 1967 and continued to perform locally. Her first album, Song Bird of the South, was not released until her death in 2004. Fisher is remembered for being one of the first African American women to have a career as a Rhythm and Blues singer, thus paving the way for future generations.
Sources: The Gleaner, Henderson, KY, Sunday, February 27, 2005, “Film to cover life of local native, noted blues singer” Donna Stinnett.