Billie Holiday

Apr 7, 1915 - Jul 17, 1959

Eleanora Fagan, known professionally as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz and swing music singer. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had an innovative influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills.
After a turbulent childhood, Holiday began singing in nightclubs in Harlem, where she was heard by producer John Hammond, who commended her voice. She signed a recording contract with Brunswick in 1935. Collaborations with Teddy Wilson yielded the hit "What a Little Moonlight Can Do", which became a jazz standard. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Holiday had mainstream success on labels such as Columbia and Decca. By the late 1940s, however, she was beset with legal troubles and drug abuse. After a short prison sentence, she performed at a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, but her reputation deteriorated because of her drug and alcohol problems.
She was a successful concert performer throughout the 1950s with two further sold-out shows at Carnegie Hall.
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“You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.”

Billie Holiday
Apr 7, 1915 - Jul 17, 1959
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