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.
Because of this, and despite her “gawky and unkempt” appearance, he gave her the opportunity to sing with his band at a dance at Yale University as a test run. Webb was quoted for saying that “if the kids like her, she stays”. She was a raging success and true to his promise, Chick hired Ella to travel with the band. She recorded “Love and Kisses” with the band in 1935 and was soon a regular artist at the Savoy, one of Harlem’s hottest nightclubs. It didn’t take too long for Ella to emerge from the shadows and become a star attraction coming out with major hits such as her first number one single, “A-tisket, A-tasket”.
Few singers who followed her in jazz would fail to cite her influence. But more remarkably, her influence has spread well beyond jazz” (Layman, 2015). In addition, author Will Layman wrote a well stated article in which it said, “Holiday was the among the first singers to exploit completely the opportunities for singing intimately with a microphone. She purred into it, but even when she cried out a song, it was in relation to the mic, to how it could pick up the nuances in her sound. As a result, nearly every modern singer comes out of that essential innovation.
There Ella sung the songs “Judy”, a Hoagy Carmichael tune, and “The Object of My Affection”. She left the crowd flabbergasted with her performance and won first place in the Apollo Theater’s contest. Among the crowd was bandleader and drummer Chick Webb. Chick Webb soon recruited Ella for his orchestra/band who she recorded her first single “Love and Kisses” in 1935. Later in 1935 Ella produced her first and second number one hit “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” and “I Found My Yellow Basket” respectively.
The genre of blues exploded into the blues craze during the 1920’s. During this time, white record producers saw the untapped goldmine that was blues music performed by people of color. Ma Rainey was one of them, and to some, one of the first, giving her the title, ‘The Mother of Blues’. The 1920’s was not only an era of continuing homophobia from the past (although that would change, briefly, into a mild form of acceptance until the more conservative 1930’s), but also of harsh racism. And yet, one singer, Ma Rainey’s, broke these restrictions. Her audience and shows flourished with both whites and blacks, peacefully mingling together to behold Ma’s performances. In this era taut with fear over race, both whites and black adored her.
Shaping Influences Ella Fitzgerald had a struggling childhood that impacted her future tremendously. Her mother died when she was fifteen, leaving her with her abusive step father. She then moved in with her aunt in Harlem, which was the hub of jazz music during the decade. Stated from the NPR news cast, Morning Edition, “She spent time with an aunt, then in foster care and a reformatory,” this transition in her life she kept as a secret for the public. Living in these situations taught her to strive for her dream of becoming a singer and dancer.
Fitzgerald was an introvert and intelligent man who never graduated college. Instead he took the path of becoming a lieutenant during World War I. He later fell in love with a girl named Zelda Sayre. Zelda was no ordinary girl, but a drama queen with an enormous desire toward wealth and leisurely partying.
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’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.
These events were very important in history because Billie became one of the very first black women to work with a white orchestra. Unfortunately, promoters were opposed to Billie for her race and unique vocal style and left Artie Shaw’s orchestra out of
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. Billie Holiday was abandoned at a very young age as her father was out of the picture and her mother could not care for her, seeing as her mother was only 13 and barely an adult herself (Holiday, 1992). Born in 1915, Holiday was put into the care of her extended family.
Francis Scott Fitzgerald once stated, “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart and all they can do is stare blankly.” Throughout his famous work, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald portrayed the American Dream. Contrary to the ideology of the “Roaring Twenties” society, he described the American Dream as a delusion. People of the era focused on materialism in order to boost their wealth and status and forgot the importance of their relationships. Several characters within the novel sought to gain a higher status in society. Throughout The Great Gatsby, Myrtle Wilson desired to fit in with the upper class; however, her marriage to George Wilson prevented such from occurring. Myrtle failed to recognize her husband’s hard work and true character due to her efforts to rise in social status. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald emphasized Myrtle’s hatred towards her marriage through her conversation with Catherine, depicting how people of the twenties focused more on wealth and power compared to moral American values.
She took advantage of every opportunity she was given to sing and performed in local amateur shows at movie houses as well as in a number of the storefront churches located throughout black neighborhoods (Greene, pg 9). In 1928, Billie’s mother took her to New York City. It was there where her renditions of famous songs like "Riffin' the Scotch" and "Your Mother's Son-in-Law" established her as a prodigious singer (Billie Holiday, par 2). The biography, “Billie Holiday,” gives accounts her different career accomplishments and collaborations: In 1933, she was spotted performing in Harlem by the critic and producer John Hammond, who brought her to Columbia Records, where she recorded classic sessions with such jazz greats as pianist Teddy Wilson and tenor saxophonist Lester Young, who gave Holiday her nickname, "Lady Day" (Kliment, par
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.