If I’m going to sing like someone else, then I don’t need to sing at all. –Billie Holiday
For my very first blog post in the series of Girl Crush, I want to showcase Lady Day AKA the incredible Billie Holiday. When I think of the impact of her musical musings, rich voice, and indomitable spirit this soulful songstress stands out in my mind as a sultry and smoldering vixen. Her contributions to jazz make her a lady of legend.
She didn’t have an easy life to say the least and though I have read numerous biographies of her career, the real testimony to her strength and struggles is apparent in her stage presence and performances. You can hear as she paints the air with all the colors of her experiences. She breathes life into the deep reds of romance to the midnight blues of forlorn refrain and everything in between.
Her most courageous and subversive song was the powerful protest ballad of Strange Fruit. It was incredibly dangerous to lend her voice to a hauntingly tragic and starkly honest song calling out racial injustice in its most horrendous and inhumane form, especially at a time when being a woman of color before the Civil Rights movement was already perilous in its own right. She distilled so much passion, will, drive and feeling into all she sang and refused to be silenced.
Her confidence, strength, and realism are spectacularly sexy as well as awe-inspiring.