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When I think of International women's Day, I find it hard to think of only three women to focus on, there have been so many amazing contributions but today I thought that we could look at a very famous female musician; Billie Holiday.

Billie Holiday, one of the greatest Jazz singers of all time

Billie Holiday was born with the name Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Having a rough childhood she grew up to be one of the greatest jazz singers in American history. It might be this mixture of both success and tragedy from her life that gave her music such feeling.

Billy's first job at club singing was in 1929 in Harlem and for the next 17 years she was one of the most popular nightclub singers in all of New York. In the early 1930s John Hammond, a music producer heard her sing and said that she was the best jazz singer that he had ever heard and later went on to produce Billie holidays first records. He got the best jazz musicians including Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Roy Eldridge and Ben Webster and creates an amazing records.

In the late 1930s, she sang with Artie Shaw's band,, this is especially significant because she was one of the first black singers to perform with a white band. Unfortunately racial separation laws in America made travel difficult for her with the band but it was a great success nonetheless.

It was around this time that she first sang a song called "strange fruit", it was written by a schoolteacher named Lewis Allen for her about the injustice and oppression that black people faced and southern parts of the United States and how lynchings were a common threat.

Though after this time she struggled with addiction to heroin, her music stands a testament to her talent and life.

Some of the awards that Billie Holiday received

  • Grammy Hall of Fame award - 2010, 2005, 2000, 1989, 1978, 1976
  • Grammy Best historical album - 2002, 1994, 1992, 1980
  • Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame - 2004
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - 2000
  • ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame - 1907
  • Esquire Magazine Gold Award - 1947, 1946, 1945, 1944

Philadelphia - Where Billie Holiday was born

Philadelphia is a huge city, in fact it is the fifth most populated city in the United States with a population of of 1.5 million people. In fact, the Metropolitan statistical area known as Philadelphia (instead of just the city) actually has around about 4 million people in so it's really very large and much of it is densely populated.

Via geoguessr

Philadelphia was the meeting place for the founding fathers of the United States who signed the declaration of Independence in 1776 and the constitution in 1787. It was one of the nation's capital is during the Revolutionary War and served as the US capital while Washington DC was under construction.

Well known for its arts and culture, the city is home to many outdoor sculptures, new rules and historic culture.

A 2011 study by walk score rated Philadelphia as the fifth most walkable major city in the United States so it is certainly easy to get around which is fantastic for anyone visiting wanting to see a lot of things in a short time.

Via VisitPhilly

The really are just so many different things to do in Philadelphia that writing all down simple would take so much time that by the time I finished writing that there would be way more things to do. Check out this great site to find out more of what is currently happening in their local area: VisitPhilly.com

Written by Luke Duggan — March 09, 2015

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