Grant Lyons brought a Leadbelly record to a party, where Janis heard it. She later said his music was “like a flash. It mattered to me.” Janis claimed that the first record she ever bought was a Leadbelly. There is no doubt that Janis picked up a few things from Leadbelly and was inspired by him. Linda Gottfried recalled, “She studied Leadbelly, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith. On Sunday we’d go to various black churches and sit in the back and do gospel.” The idea that Janis emerged from nowhere “is nuts,” said Linda. “I mean, she worked.”
Information taken from Scars of Sweet Paradise.