Billie Holiday is one of the best known jazz singers of all time. She not only brought love and passion into her career, but she also brought a new sound altogether. Unlike the typical upbeat, smooth songs that everyone was used to, Billie had what some would say a "slow, rough quality" to her voice. Despite all of her many struggles throughout her life, Billie's music remained of the most important. Billie Holiday developed her own intimate, personal style, and is now a legendary status in jazz music.
Many people, when they hear the name Billie Holiday, tend to think she's a man. The funny thing about that is that her real name isn't even Billie; it's Eleanor Harris or Eleanor Fagan.
Billie's major breakthrough was in 1933, when she was only 18 years old. She was discovered by producer John Hammond in a night club, and he stated that she was the "greatest singer her had ever heard."
Although Billie had several different influences on her musical career, her biggest inspiration was Lester Young. He helped her create her music "to highlight her unconventional talents." These talents included her ability to improvise phrasing and melodies, which was never done before.
In many ways, Billie Holiday is a lot like Whitney Houston...but they have their differences as well.
Billie Holiday was an inspiration to all musicians, but especially to jazz musicians. She brought to the table something different and unexpected, and she was not afraid to be judged. She simply lived her life the way she wanted it to and didn't let anyone tell her differently.