She later told a biographer: "I was a cabaret artist in those days, and never had to play theatres, and I sang everything from blues to popular songs, in a jazz style. I think I can say without bragging that I made the "St. Louis Blues" popular in Chicago; this was one of my feature numbers." The Hegamins moved to Los Angeles, California in 1918, then to New York City the following year. Bill Hegamin led his wife's accompanying band, called the Blue Flame Syncopators; Jimmy Wade was a member of this ensemble. In November 1920 Lucille Hegamin became only the second African American blues singer to record, after Mamie Smith.
Hegamin made a series of recordings for the Arto record label through 1922, then a few sides for Black Swan, Lincoln, Paramount and Columbia. From 1922 through late 1926 she recorded for Cameo Records; from this association she was billed as "The Cameo Girl". Like Mamie Smith, Hegamin sang in a lighter, more pop-tune influenced style than the rougher rural-style blues singers such as Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith who became more popular a few years later. Her influences included Annette Hanshaw and Ruth Etting. Two of her earliest recordings, The Jazz Me Blues and Arkansas Blues became classic tunes. In 1926 Lucille Hegamin performed in Clarence Williams' Review at the Lincoln Theater in New York, then in various reviews in New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey through 1934.
In 1929 she appeared on the radio show "Negro Achievement Hour" on WABC, New York. In 1932 she recorded for Okeh Records. In About 1934 she retired from music as a profession, and worked as a nurse. She came out of retirement to make more records in 1961 and 1962. Lucille Hegamin died in Harlem Hospital in New York on March 1, 1970, and was interred in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn, New York. Read more on Last.fm.
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