Dorothy Dandridge is an African-American actress and singer who rose from obscurity to become one of the most renowned performers of the modern era. Dandridge started her performing career in her early childhood with her sister Vivian Dandridge, and friend, Etta Jones, as “The Dandridge Sisters.” The trio performed in many prestigious clubs, which ultimately led to a few minor parts in film, and finally paved Dorothy’s path to desired roles in films as the leading lady. Dorothy’s early films gave her the recognition to move up the Hollywood ladder, and in the end, led to her path towards becoming the first African-American woman to be nominated for an academy award for best actress.
Ella Fitzgerald, also known as “The First Lady of Song” or “Lady Ella”, was an extraordinary singer highly known in the Harlem Renaissance. Born in Virginia then moving to New York, Ella grew up during the 1920s and got her breakthrough in the early 1930s. She joined an orchestra and produced her first number one single, A-Tisket, A-Tasket. Ella’s contributions to the Harlem Renaissance included not only her songs, but her appearances in movies such as. Ella Fitzgerald is shaped into the woman that she once was through her background, accomplishments, challenges and hardships; she also leaves a legacy that would continue on to influence many generations to come.
Billie Holiday lived a tumultuous life as she went through many ups and downs during her childhood and into her adulthood. Billie Holiday was only eighteen years old when she was discovered singing in nightclubs and soon found great success as a jazz singer. In spite of her lack of musical training, Holiday’s distinct singing caught the attention of her audience and she became one of the greatest jazz singers of the twentieth century. However, despite the remarkable success Billie achieved, she continuously battled with substance abuse until the end of her life. Holiday may have had a tragic life, but her emotional, melancholic voice made her an imperative presence in the period of jazz.
Billie Holiday is one of the most influential jazz singers of her time. Her attitude, determination and most of all her music inspired artists throughout time and inspired major social change. Throughout her lifetime she explored the world of jazz, her identity, and how far the limits of her talent would take her. She exchanged her poor life, full of drugs and scandal for a life of performing the arts and showcasing her talents and abilities. Her incredible determination led her to do what she loved regardless of what anyone thought , which led to her inciting major social exchange; moving black suffering into white consciousness.
Billie Holiday could be considered one of the most influential women in jazz, if not one of the most influential women in general. She was one of the first to incorporate anti-racist ideals and progressive thoughts through the outlet of music, influencing many others down the road. Her intense desire for equality and change could be due to the immense amounts of hardship during her younger years, which may have very well carried over into her adult singing career.
Eleanor Feagan, most commonly known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz musician and singer-songwriter who had a career lasting nearly 30 years. The way she sang had been strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists and introduced a new way of controlling phrasing and tempo. She carried an abundant amount of emotion and character in her voice, in addition to her material. Holiday is one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time and has had an everlasting influence on American music.
Often referred to as "The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald was one of the most popular female jazz singers in the United States. Throughout her career, Ella was awarded thirteen Grammys and sold over 40 million albums. With a voice that not only encompassed a large range, but a dynamic and powerful sound, Ella could sing almost anything from scatting to the popular tunes of her day. She performed in the top venues all around the world to packed houses, with audiences as diverse as the music she created. Ella came from a small town and impoverished family, but through her talent and determination, skyrocketed to fame creating a legacy that has withstood the sands of time.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, the song that put on her on the charts, Aretha Franklin, one of the most influential female artists of all time is the artist that interest me the most. With her vocals a mixture of jazz and rhythm & blues, Aretha gained fame. Her vocals were so good, that it made her to have hit records over five years, which later on in her career, cause her to be inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. Also giving her the title “The Queen of Soul”. Like most artists today, Franklin got her career started by singing gospel, and from gospel to pop and R&B. Aretha Franklin had many accomplishments in her time, like having 13 million songs sold. Also, “Aretha Franklin did not only symbolized female empowerment in the sound of her records
Today, there are many women entertainers, actresses, singers, and dancers that reference their influence from many of the women of the Harlem Renaissance. We have had Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston just to name a few. Today, we have Beyonce who sang Etta James, “At Last” to President Obama, first African American President and the First Lady, Michelle Obama for an inaugural event. She has often been compared to have a voice like Ella Fitzgerald and the dancing of Josephine
Billie Holiday’s biggest influences in music were Bessie Smith and Louis “Pops” Armstrong; she admired the power that Smith had to interpret a song, and Armstrong’s music style. “Lady Day” became famous in 1939 when she recorded “Strange Fruit”, which is song that protests against the lynching of African Americans in the United States (The Biography.com website). A year later, in 1940 she recorded a new version of “All of Me”. This song which was written in 1931 by Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks, is one of the most popular songs from the 1930s. When we listen to Holiday’s version of the song, we are able to hear her ability to tell her own story through the lyrics of the song. Billie Holiday’s interpretation of the song demonstrates how
By the 1920s, African Americans began to migrate to northern cities such as Chicago, New York for the search of a better opportunity. This was known as the “Jazz Age” or “The Roaring Twenties.”
Many people refer to her as the “Queen of Rock”, “Queen of Pop”, and often times
American novelist, poet, and playwright Langston Hughes was born in Joplin Missouri in February 1902. Soon after he was born, his parents separated, and his father moved away to Mexico. He was raised by his maternal grandmother, until her death. After she died, he began to write poetry and Walt Whitman and Carl Sandburg were major early influences in his work. After he graduated from high school in 1920 Hughes spent the next year with his father in Mexico. His first greatly praised poem was called "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" which was published in Crisis Magazine. In 1921 Hughes came back to America and enrolled in Columbia University. He studied there for a while but soon got involved in the Harlem Renaissance. In 1922 he dropped out of
There were many influential musicians of the Harlem Renaissance, yet Billie Holiday stands out as a sincere artist with a style all her own. While many artists used the characteristic scat singing, Holiday rarely sang the gibberish words and focused on the meaning of the song through her intense yet quiet voice. Despite the common Tin Pan Alley technique of plugging out songs simply to promote the sheet music, Holiday explored improvisation and made each song her own. Through her jazz improvisation, sincerity, and manipulation of phrasing, Billie Holiday created a revolutionary style of singing that many musicians copied in years to come.
Born as Freda Josephine McDonald on June 3, 1906, in Saint Louis. Her mother had dreams of becoming a music-hall dancer, but gave them up to become a mother and washerwoman and her father abandoned them when she was an infant. Most of her time as a youth was spent in poverty. To help support her family, she started cleaning houses and babysitting at the age of eight often being mistreated. At the age of 13 she ran away from home, found work as a waitress at a club where she met her first husband Willie Wells, who she divorced only weeks later. It was around this time that Josephine first took up dancing, honing her skills, both in clubs and in street performances, by 1919 she was touring the United States with the Jones Family Band and the Dixie Steppers performing comedic skits. By 1921 she married her second husband, Willie Baker whose name she obtained even after they divorced years later.