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Essay on Billie Holiday

Project id 1015867
Subject area Arts Entertainment
Document type Essay
Words 1584
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Billie Holiday Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but spent the majority of her poverty stricken childhood in Baltimore. Lady Day, as she was called by Lester Young, needed to defeat many tragedies in her life and still nonetheless became one of the most well-known jazz-blues vocalists of all time. Billie's Parents, Sally Fagan and Clarence Holiday, were both born in Baltimore. They married as teens and shortly Sally gave birth to Eleanora Fagan. Shortly after the arrival, Clarence Holiday abandoned his family to visit Fletcher Henderson's band. Billie saw little of her immediate family and she essentially grew up lonely, feeling unloved and gaining a lifelong inferiority complex that caused her taking great risks with her private life. At age ten Billie was victimized at a brutal rape. When older she worked in a brothel were she washed the flooring, it was here that she first listened to the likes of Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith. In 1927 she moved to New York City and not knowing any other life she made a living prostituting herself. She still kept her dream of someday becoming a singer and eventually persuaded the director of a small nightclub in town to let her sing a couple tunes with the house group. The audience loved her singing and she was soon discovered by John Hammond. He arranged for her to list a couple of names with Benny Goodman in 1933. Although those were not all that effective, it had been the start of her profession. In 1935 she match with a pianist named Teddy Wilson, who had been in a pickup band. She traveled with the group for a while and hit it off. People were starting to understand about a great singer who had a fresh new style that was a blend of Louis Armstrong's swinging and Bessie Smith's sound. Over the next seven years she'd go on to record a number of the greatest songs of her profession. Lady Day was with Count Basie's Orchestra throughout much of 1937 however, she was soon kicked out by Count Basie for attempting to be overly "separate and temperamental." Later Lester Young along with Buck Clayton started recording with Holiday and the music which both of them created was timeless. She worked with Artie Shaw's Orchestra for some period in 1938 but nonetheless some problems existed, only one song was captured and she needed to take care of racism, not only during a Southern tour but in Ne...

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