Kaela Says: Add This

Ella Fitzgerald

Kaela Adams

Do you like jazz? I hope the answer is yes. If not, hopefully, you will after listening to Ella Fitzgerald.

Ella Fitzgerald is, at least I hope, a name that you’ve heard before. Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer for more than 50 years. She won 13 Grammys and sold over 40 million albums.

She was also dubbed “The First Lady of Song.” Her music has been listened to all over the world because her musicianship speaks to people.

Her improvisation skills are out of this world. She had such a great understanding of what jazz was and how it was supposed to sound. She had a big impact on the jazz music industry, and she has truly made her mark in the music books.

She is most well-known for having a flexible and wide-ranging voice. When she sang jazz, it was sweet. So captivating. Fitzgerald could imitate every instrument in the orchestra. For those who are unfamiliar with scatting and improvisation, it is when you unblinkingly use nonsense syllables to imitate different instruments.

Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Virginia in 1917. She later moved to New York, where she worked various running jobs for businessmen. When Fitzgerald was a teenager, her mother died from heavy injuries caused by a car accident. She then went to live with her aunt Virginia.

At this point, Fitzgerald was suffering from depression and going through a tough patch in her life. She acted out, skipped school, got in trouble with the police, and went to reform school, and her grades plummeted. Once Fitzgerald escaped reform school, she found herself broke and lonely in the Great Depression.

Fitzgerald’s life quickly turned around when her name was drawn from a weekly drawing at the Apollo. She then got to compete at the Amateur Night Theatre, where she blew the crowd away with her vocals.

It was in that performance that Fitzgerald said she knew she wanted to perform for the rest of her life. She began entering every singing competition she could. She had the opportunity to sing with a couple of bands, one of which hired her to sing around the world with them.

In 1936, Fitzgerald released her first single, titled, “Love and Kisses,” with Decca Recording Studios. Her single “You Have To Sing With It” was the first song in which she experimented with improvisation. Her audience was blown away by her scatting abilities. Fitzgerald became more and more comfortable with scatting and made it her form of art.

Fitzgerald’s version of the nursery rhyme, “A tisket, A tasket” hit number one and sold over one million copies. Suddenly, everyone knew Fitzgerald, and she was famous.

Fitzgerald has so much music released. Her most famous collaborations were with the vocal quartet Bill Kenny & the Ink Spots, trumpeter Louis Armstrong, guitarist Joe Pass, and the bandleaders Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

She had a number of famous jazz musicians and soloists as sidemen over her long career. Not only did she receive 13 Grammys, but she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also the first African American to win the inaugural show.

During Fitzgerald’s last years of life, she suffered from diabetes, which led to a lot of health issues. She was hospitalized multiple times due to respiratory problems and heart failure. In 1933, she had to have both her legs amputated below the knee.

In 1996, she died of a stroke in her home. Many jazz events were put on in memory of Fitzgerald. She is currently buried in Los Angeles.

Fitzgerald had such a big impact on the jazz music industry, and she is definitely worth listening to. I hope you enjoy her amazing musicianship as much as the rest of the world.