The only thing better than singing is more singing
Celebrated songwriter Ira Gershwin said, “I never knew how good our songs were until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them.”
Born in Newport News, Virginia The Queen of Jazz and First Lady of Song was a survivor of hard times. Growing up a star scholar at school and a regular church-goer, her mother’s death led to changed and unsettling times for 15-year old Ella, and a period of homelessness.
Yet by 17, she had made her debut on stage. At first, she sang with a band, but anyone listening to her virtuoso voice could tell that she was the star. Before long, she was an acclaimed solo artist who enjoyed successful collaborations with other jazz greats including Duke Ellington.
Ella’s timeless songs, including *Dream a Little Dream of Me", Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall, and It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) still live on.
Ella also acted in films, among them them a gangster movie, Pete Kelly's Blues and the drama Let No Man Write My Epitaph.
In her later years, she suffered from increasing ill health with diabetes, but was determined the show would go on: “I love giving concerts,” she said, late in life. “Doesn't weaken me, strengthens me. I look out there at the audience, especially the young ones. I feel the love they give me and I try to give it back with my songs.”
Ella’s career saw her win fourteen Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
She gave her last public performance in 1993. “Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do,” she urged others. “Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.”