Friday, February 9, 2018

#BLACKHISTORYTOONZ Day 9: Bessie x Etta x Billie x Nina

For today's drop I wanted to pay homage to some legendary singers of our past who through their music still impacts us all.

#BlackHistoryToonz : Bessie Smith

"It's a long old road, but I know I'm gonna find the end."

Jazz and blues vocalist Bessie Smith's
powerful, soulful voice won her countless fans and earned her the title "Empress of the Blues."

Who Was Bessie Smith?

Bessie Smith was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on April 15, 1894. She began to sing at a young age and in 1923 signed a contract with Columbia Records. Soon she was among the highest-
paid black performers of her time with hits like "Downhearted Blues." By the end of the 1920s, however, her popularity had lessened, though she continued to perform and made new recordings at the start of the Swing Era. Her comeback and life
were cut short when she died on September 26, 1937 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi.


#BlackHistoryToonz: Billie Holiday

"If I'm going to sing like someone else, then I don't need to sing at all."

Billie Holiday Biography

Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday was born in 1915 in Philadelphia. Considered one of the best jazz vocalists of all time, Holiday had a thriving career as a jazz singer for many years before she lost her battle with substance abuse. 
Also known as Lady Day, her autobiography was made into the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues. In 2000, Billie Holiday was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


#BlackHistoryToonz: Nina Simone

"I had spent many years pursuing excellence, because
that is what classical music is all about... Now it was dedicated to freedom, and that was far more important."


Legendary performer Nina Simone sang a mix of jazz, blues and folk music in the 1950s and '60s, later enjoying a career resurgence in the '80s. A
staunch Civil Rights activist, she was known for tunes like "Mississippi Goddam," "Young, Gifted and Black" and "Four Women," among many others.

Synopsis

Born on February 21, 1933, in Tryon, North Carolina, Nina Simone studied classical piano at the
Juilliard School in New York City, but left early when she ran out of money. Performing in night clubs, she turned her interest to jazz, blues and folk music and released her first album in 1957, scoring a Top 20 hit with the track "I Loves You Porgy." In the ‘60s, Simone expanded her repertory in exemplary fashion while becoming identified as a leading voice of the Civil Rights Movement. She later lived abroad and experienced major mental health and financial issues, though enjoying a big career resurgence in the 1980s. Simone died in France on April 21, 2003.


#BlackHistoryToonz: Etta James

"When I look out at the people and they look at me and they're smiling, then I know that I'm loved. That is the time when I have no worries, no problems"

Etta James is a Grammy Award-winning singer known for hit songs like "I'd Rather Go Blind" and "At Last."

Synopsis

Born in Los Angeles, California, on January 25, 1938, Etta James was a gospel prodigy. In 1954, she moved to Los Angeles to record "The Wallflower." Her career had begun to soar by 1960, due in no small part to songs like "I'd Rather Go Blind" and "At Last." Despite her continued drug problems, she earned a Grammy Award nomination for her 1973 eponymous album. In 2006, she released the album All the Way. James died in Riverside, California, on January 20, 2012, and continues to be is considered one of the most dynamic singers in music.




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