I begin with two fictitious stories, each based on a composite of biographical narratives gleaned from my interviews with female narrators about prostitute singers1 in the early decades of the twentieth century-singers whose lives seemed to have been impelled by the outcomes of the tragic heroines they portrayed through song. The following accounts confirm Gail Hershatter’s conjecture that many women were tricked into prostitution (1986: 208) and demonstrate the advantages of singing for talented women whose superior vocal skills eventually enabled them to leave prostitution.