Biography of Billie Holiday

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Biography of Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan. She grew up in Baltimore which had a lot of Jazz talent in the 1920’s. As a teenager she began her apprenticeship singing alongside Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong in after-hour clubs. Billie moved with her mom to New York and that’s where made singing debut in obscure Harlem nightclubs. She borrowed her name from screen star Billie Dove. Even though she never had any training or couldn’t even read music a participant in what was seen as one of the most vibrant Jazz scenes in the country. She moved from club to club, working for tips. Sometime she performed with a piano player other times she would perform as part of a group. At age 18 she already had more experience than most adult musicians had, and was spotted by John Hammond and made her first record as part of a student group that was led by Benny Goodman. In 1935 she recorded four side songs that became hits and gave her career a big push forward. Two of those tracks were “Ms Brown to you” and “What a little moonlight can do” Those four tracks helped her get her own contract. From then all the way till 1942 she recorded a number of tracks that became a huge building block for American Jazz. In 1936 she began to work with Lester Young who added a little spice to her name by calling her “lady day”. Lady Day worked with Count Bassie in 1934 and then did some work Artie Shaw in 1938 and became the first black women to perform with a white orchestra. When she was working with Columbia in the 1930’s she heard the poem “Strange fruit” which is a poem about the lynching of black men. Columbia would not produce the record so she went to record it with another label. The label she found that would let her record the song was Commodore. The song eventually became one o her greats. “Strange Fruit” prompted Billie to more of these signature ballads. Billie recorded around 100 new songs with the label Verve, from 1952 until 1959. Her voice was...
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