Her mother married a man by the name of Phillip Cough In 1920 and for a few years, Billie had a somewhat stable home life. But the marriage ended years later, leaving Billie and Sadie to struggle once again. At times she was left under the care of others who TLD care very much for her. Living In poverty, Holiday started skipping school at the young age of 9 and ended up dropping out in just the fifth grade. She found a Job running errands in a nearby brothel. With her mother trying to find a Job. Once again the lady Pagan’s had to migrate to the street of Harlem, NY.
Growing up in a one parent household, Holiday didn’t have many options to choose from especially with the path she took at a young age. Desperate for the mighty dollar, the errands Billie was running for the brothel turned into running the streets of Harlem. She had convicted for prostitution but was then released back to her mother. Trying to escape the streets, Holiday searched for a Job as a dancer at a Harlem speakeasy. She auditioned as a singer with her long Interest in both jazz & blues. Holiday wowed the owners and found herself singing at the popular Pod & Jerry log cabin.
Her performances were so beloved to where only about the age of 1 9, she got her name out and was discovered by the producer & talent scout John Hammond. Hammond quickly arranged three recording sessions for Billie and found an engagement for her in New York clubs. “l hate straight singing. I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it, that’s all I know. ” (www. Believability. Com) Billie Holiday cut her first few records in her early ass’s for her agent John Hammond. She recorded some of her most memorable sides Included the hit “Miss Brown to You”.
She made her commercial debut on November 27, 1933, signing with Columbia Records. During this engagement, Holiday debuted two of her most famous hits “God Bless the Child” and “Strange Fruits”. Columbia was not interested n “Strange Fruits” which was a powerful story about the lynching of Black Americans in the south. With all the controversy that surrounded It, some radio stations banned the record; helped make It a true hit. In 1937, she went on a tour that didn’t last very long because she wanted to broaden her talents and musical horizons.
She found herself ending her time with Columbia Records. “The best part about the Columbia toy 2 merrily perfect. ” But from 1933 to 1944, Billie was backed up by Jazz musicians Teddy Wilson, Roy Eliding, Benny Goodman (wry. ]Aziza. Com). Through her artistry, Billie emotional life began a turbulent period around the id-40. She began writing many songs of stormy relationships that reflected her personal romances which were often destructive abusive. She married James Monroe in 1941. Already known to be deep in alcohol and marijuana, she gained a new habit of smoking opium from her husband.
The marriage didn’t last, but Holidays problems with substance abuse remained. Her mother’s death soon after affected her deeply. In 1947 she was arrested for possession of heroin and sentenced to eight months in prison. Despite all her tribulations, Holiday remained a major star in the Jazz industry. She appeared with her idol Louis Armstrong in the 1947 film “New Orleans” playing the role off maid. Unfortunately her substance use caused her a professional setback in the same year. After lackluster years of recordings and records sales from the toll taken from her hard living.
She gave her final performance in New York City on May 25, 1959. A little while later after this event, Holiday was admitted to a hospital for heart and liver troubles. She was so addicted the heroin that she was again arrested for possession while in the ERR. On July 17, 1959, Holiday died from alcohol and drug related complications. More than 3,000 people turned out to say goodbye to Lady Day at the funeral held in SST. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church on July 21st. Lady Day put the most passion and real life in her music.
Holiday has been an influence on many other performers who have waltzed in her footsteps. With all her trials & tribulations, the Jazz great still managed to reach her success. From the racism in the treacherous time that she really couldn’t help, to her own person substance problems; she still managed to be known and loved by many by the message she was able to get across. Even though she didn’t have everything in the world revolve around her and go her way, the world definitely knew she was here and will be remembered.