Lead singer of blues and American jazz born in Baltimore (Maryland) in 1915 and died in New York in 1959. Regarded by many critics as the best singer of the black music of all time, his tormented life, marked by the racism of the time and his drug addiction, transcended beyond music into a character on which you have written many books and made several films to Billie Holiday. The nuances of her voice and the expressiveness of their performances make it essential for understanding the evolution of jazz as a musical genre. His real name was Eleanora Fagan.
Illegitimate daughter of guitarist and trumpeter Clarence Holiday, which left the mother of Billie little since it was born, spent a terrible childhood, in extreme poverty that marked his life forever, as dramatic as the following events: the small Eleanora, shared - as usual - the bed with her grandmother, woke up one day and discovered that his grandmother had died during the night, and was caught her granddaughter due to rigor mortis; and, years later, a vicious sexually assaulted him and was unjustly arrested for prostitution and jailed. Despite hard setbacks, Billie tried to improve their lot, and began to sing in local clubs. Lester Young, who shared these first and hard moments, put the nickname of "Lady" ('Lady'), a game with the end of his surname which did honor to the beauty of his style and his haughty bearing in the scenarios. In the early 1930s he/she had already won a position as lead singer in Jazz orchestras; but until 1933 not recorded his first album, Your Mother completo are In Law, along with Benny Goodman.
From 1935 to 1938 it was about eighty songs with the pianist Wilson, mostly light music and blues-oriented, but already collaborated during this stage with jazzmen such as Johnny Hodges. In 1937 and 1938 he/she collaborated with Count Basie , Artie Shaw, and joined United States touring with various big-bands, activity that had to leave because of the oppressive racism that suffered from many parts of the country. His voice, which became a masterpiece full of intensity and emotion, an inconsequential song highlighted by their feelings and their ability to transmit sensations. Even his contemporaries regarded it as the best voice of the moment. In 1939, he/she worked with the trumpeter Frankie Newton, and recorded two of his most famous songs, Fine And Mellow and Strange Fruit (an antiracist song).
He joined Decca in 1944, and was left to drag to a certain extent by the editorial policy of the company, which was intended to guide his repertoire to a more popular style. His first big concert solo took place at the New York Town Hall in 1946, but the following year he/she was jailed for a year for a drug-related issue. When he/she returned to the scene, his health was undermined by his addiction to narcotics, so performances were live quite erratic.
His career took a new impulse to the sign, in 1952, by the important jazz Verve label and returned to recording, but with his health definitely resented. Despite this, it reached memorable moments such as the concert in 1954 with Count Bassie, action that has gone down in history not only jazz, but of all contemporary music over genres and styles. Shortly before his death published an autobiography, bitter and raw, titled Lady Sings The Blues, a name that was used later, in 1972, for the film that chronicled his life and who was starring a big fan her, Diana Ross.