Essential Works 1937 - 1958
Lady Day was born under the name of Eleanora Fagan. How much suffering does it take to express love, pain, despair, or even life itself? Few singers have communicated emotions like Billie Holiday.
Artist: Billie Holiday
Label: Masters of Jazz
Her father, a jazz guitarist, wouldn’t recognise her and so refused to give his daughter his name. He was more interested in nightlife than in family life. Billie’s mother was a cleaner, cook and occasional prostitute who abandoned her daughter to the care of her aunts or a reformatory. Billie had a life of violence that commonly included rape and physical abuse of all kinds.
In between prostitution, prison and a few gigs in sordid dives where a customer’s generosity was her only means of support, Billie managed to record for Columbia when she was only nineteen. It was the beginning of a recognition that never waned over the years. Few voices of the past eight decades were as capable of moving the hearts of those who loved female singers in the same way as Billie Holiday.
About the artist
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.
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