When you hear Billie Holiday’s story, you’ll see clearly why she struggled so much

Published On June 15, 2014 | By Admin | Before Dr. King, Extraordinary women, The latest posts, Uncategorized

Billie Holiday is one of the most revered jazz vocalists of the century.  She was born April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as Eleanora Fagan to her teenage mother, Sadie.  Holiday spent a large portion of her childhood in Baltimore, Maryland.  She grew up without a stable, consistent father figure, and at just 9 years old, she was sent to the House of Good Shepherd as a result of her mother winding up in court for her skipping school.  The home was a facility for troubled African American girls.

Holiday later moved to New York with her mother and wound up working as a prostitute in Harlem to earn money.  Not long after, she began singing at local clubs and adopted the name Billie.  Holiday was soon discovered performing at a Harlem jazz club by John Hammond, and she released her first commercial track “Your Mother’s Son-In-Law.”

Holiday went on to produce several singles, and in 1937 she began touring with the Count Basie Orchestra.  In 1938, Holiday broke down barriers when she worked with Artie Shaw and his orchestra becoming one of the first black female singers to work with an all white orchestra.

READ MORE via Tragedy, Addiction and Fame: A Look Back at Billie Holiday | Black Like Moi.

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