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Billie Holiday Billie Holiday was born April 7th 1915 in Baltimore Her original name was Eleanora Fagan Although her father Clarence Holiday was a guitarbanjo player in Fletcher Hendersons band she didnt break into the music world until her late teens After being signed by Columbia Records John Hammond in 1933 for her debut record Holiday went on to work with Teddy Wilson Buck Clayton and Lester Young who gave her the nickname Lady Day He also toured the with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1937 and Artie Shaw in 1938 Billie Holiday was a victim of childhood rape and became a prostitute by her early teen years It was her voice that saved her from such a life After recording her first songs with Benny Goodman In1933 Billie realized that she could avoid a life of prostitution by singing although at times she said it scared her to death Despite never receiving any formal training Holidays unique singing technique and trademark white gardenias elevated her well above other jazz singers of her day Lady Day as she came to be known also fought racial discrimination throughout her career Billie signed with Louis Armstrongs manager Joe Glaser in 1935 and turned into a solo act in 1939 Although she enjoyed this spotlight who wouldnt she couldnt developed a dependence on heroin a drinking problem and a growing need for attention form men Some think she searched for a father figure and as she looked for a dominant male figure she was also aiming to satisfy her sexual appetite Billie began to depend on these men who preyed on her for her beauty as well as fame As her fame grew her lifestyle began to influence began to affect her talent In 1947 she was arrested for drugs however this gave her huge publicity and this new-found attention it brought to her enabled her to play a packed house at Carnegie Hall
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