Billie Holiday


Billie Holiday missed school so often, that her mother was brought to court.

Billie Holiday was born in 1915 in Philadelphia and grew up in extreme poverty. By her own admission, she had no childhood as she had to start working at the tender age of 6. Some records say that she left school after the fifth grade and started to work as an errand girl in a brothel. Later in life, she was also arrested for prostitution. When she was still young, her mother moved to Harlem in New York, in the hopes of finding a better job. Billie was discovered at the age of 18 by the producer John Hammond.

Holiday became known as virtuoso jazz singer and received wide recognition after the release of " Strange Fruit ", a song about the lynching of a black man. She was also the first black woman to perform with a white orchestra. The success had its downsides: Holiday became addicted to heroin and alcohol, which damaged her famous voice. She died just 44 years old from cirrhosis of the liver.

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