Women Who Inspire: Ella Fitzgerald

(Featured Image: Bettmann via Getty Images) 

With today marking what would have been the First Lady of Jazz’s birthday, it’s only right that I talk about the great Ella Fitzgerald. Ella filled the world with beautiful music and is now regarded one of the greatest singers of all time.


(Ella and Chick Webb – Gilles Petard via Getty Images)

Ella Fitzgerald is an inspiration to not only females but to everyone, as she rose from nothing to become a legend amongst legends. She busked by tap-dancing, worked for a mob gambling syndicate and was orphaned at a young age, yet the purity in her voice beguiled voices everywhere since her first recording since the age of 15 with Chick Webb’s Orchestra. By working as a performer in clubs as well as recording, Ella found success with the nursery rhyme recording of ‘A-tisket A-tasket,’ with the orchestra. But when Chick Webb died, Ella attempted to keep it going, until the orchestra became too demanding and forced the young twenty-something-year-old to forge a solo career.

Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald at Piano

(Ella and Duke Ellington – Bettmann via Getty Images)

Ella gave managerial control of her career to Norman Granz, who eventually became the founder of Verve Records, with whom she recorded some of her most notable work such as her interpretation of the Great American Songbook. In the second half of the 20th Century, not only did Ella appear in movies and popular tv shows, but her musical collaborations with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and The Ink Spots became some of her most notable works. Some of these songs include ‘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).’ In 1993, Ella gave her last live performance at Carnegie Hall in New York, despite being blind and missing both legs after a quintuple coronary bypass surgery in 1986 and being diagnosed with diabetes.


(Ella and Ray Charles – Francis Apesteguy via Getty Images)

Despite suffering many losses in her lifetime, Ella was a determined woman who bettered her life through her hard-work and passion. Ella Fitzgerald is an inspiration to all dreamers, even if they only have the clothes on their back and songs in their hearts.



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