3 Famous Musicians You’ve Got To Know: Jazz Singers
1. Billie Holiday (7 April 1915 to 17 July 1959)
Eleanora Fagan was her real name. She was a jazz singer and a songwriter. Holiday’s voice was exceptional even though she lacked a formal music education. More specifically, she delivered her vocals perfectly and her improvisational skills were unmatched by any of her contemporaries. She signed recording contracts with several companies during her lifetime including Brunswick Records, Columbia Records, and Decca Records among others. She was also a great performer. In fact, she sold out Carnegie Hall three times, once in the late 1940s and twice in the 1950s. Unfortunately, Billie Holiday was a heavy consumer of drugs and alcohol. She died of liver cirrhosis in 1959.
2. Ella Fitzgerald (25 April 1917 to 15 June 1996)
Ella is one of the most renowned jazz singers in the US. In fact, many jazz enthusiasts refer to her as the Queen of Jazz. Her awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Arts, and fourteen Grammy Awards. Interestingly, she was going to dance during her first big break at the Apollo Theater. Instead, a dance duo that performed before her intimidated her. Consequently, Ella opted for singing instead of dancing. She scooped the first prize in that competition. Then she performed at the Harlem Opera House a few weeks later. She met Chick Webb at this event. Ella joined his orchestra and then she took control of it when Webb died. She launched her solo career in 1942.
3. Sarah Vaughan (27 March 1924 to 3 April 1990)
Sarah was a prominent jazz singer. In fact, some of her contemporaries referred to her as ‘the Divine One.’ She received numerous awards during her lifetime including four Grammys. Additionally, Sarah received the NEA Jazz-Masters Awards (1989). It is important to note that Sarah started piano lessons when she was seven years old. She played this instrument at the Apollo Theater on Amateur Night. Her performance earned her the second prize. She wanted the first position so she attended the event again, but this time she settled on singing. Sarah emerged victorious winning $10 as her cash prize.
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