TOP 5 Best Female Live Singers: Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday – Fourth Part

In the first week (Christina Aguilera, Adele, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys), Lady Gaga was at number one and in the second week (Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Avril Lavigne), Demi Lovato won.

We will have several sets of five female singers, each with one week to vote. In the end only five singers will remain.

This week we have: Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday.

Aretha Franklin

Exceptional performer, skilled pianist, civil rights activist, inspire composer and diva, the “Queen Of Soul” Aretha Franklin has received several Grammy Awards and other major distinctions during her career.

Her top tens include “Baby I love You”, “Chain of Fools” and “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman”.

After making her debut in the gospel, Aretha Franklin goes to a more soulful repertoire and reveals her true value in the second half of the 1960s. She gains success with the song “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You” which was called “the greatest single soul album of all time” by Rolling Stone’s Album Guide.

In the late ’60s, Aretha Franklin earned the nickname “The Queen of Soul” and became at the same time an internationally known artist and a symbol of pride for the Black community.

The album “Amazing Grace” released in 1972 became the best selling gospel album with over two million sales. Franklin’s success continued into the mid 1970s winning eight consecutive Grammy awards for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance.

In 1987, she is the first female artist to be included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 1994 she receives a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Her 38th studio album called “A Woman Falling Out Of Love” was released on 3 May 2011 to mark her 50th anniversary in the music industry.

Gospel pop diva, the first lady of R & B, Aretha Franklin distinguishes herself with her warm voice, both sensual and powerful, that marked the North American music since the early 60s.

Etta James

Etta James became one of the figures of R & B with her songs “The Wallflower” and “Good Rockin ‘Daddy”. But it’s the hit “At Last” in 1961 that wrote her name in the music history.

She has been an inspiration for Tina Turner, Diana Ross and Janis Joplin.

Discovered by talent scout Johnny Otis, Etta James did not wait long before finding her first success: with the1954 single Roll With Me Henry, renamed the following year The Wallflower, she is immediately considered one of the most iconic representatives of R & B music.

Her reputation became even stronger at the release of the album At Last! (1961), a combination of jazz and blues ballads that will eventually become a classics of the genre.

From Tell Mama (1967) to Seven Year Itch (1988), Etta went through a turbulent period in her personal life as an addiction to heroin earned her many stints in rehabilitation centers.

A collaboration with rapper Def Jef in 1988 (‘Droppin’ Rhymes on Drums’) revealed her to a younger audience. Thanks to a series of his concerts in the 1990s and several international singles, such as Matriarch of the Blues (2000), Blue Gardenia (2001) or All the Way (2006), Etta James was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

In 2001 she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and in 2003 she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

On January 20, 2012 she died of leukemia at the age of 73.

James’ powerful and poignant voice helped her cover an array of genres such as blues, soul, jazz, R&B, and rock, and earn her a significant place in music history.

Ella Fitzgerald

Called the “First Lady of Jazz,” singer Ella Fitzgerald recorded over 200 albums and around 2,000 songs in her lifetime.

At the age of 16 she wins a competition for amateur singers in Harlem. This will be the first of a series of unparalleled successes. She was spotted at an audition by drummer Chick Webb who hired her in his orchestra.

It is with Webb, both her mentor and tutor, that she recorded her first songs. When he died in 1939, she took the management of the orchestra for a while but preferred to lead a solo career.

From 1956 to 1964, she records with Ray Brown and Norman Granz the famous ‘songs books,’ albums of popular American songs, which often earned the place of best selling records in the charts.

She performed with fellow musical giants such as Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Sinatra, and recorded jazz classics with Count Basie and Louis Armstrong

“First Lady of Jazz,” named so due to her virtuosity, improvisational skills and smooth, silky voice, died at the age of 79, because of diabetes of which she had suffered for many years.

During her career, she received 13 Grammy Awards, the NAACP Image Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 2007 the United States Postal Service honored the late singer with an Ella Fitzgerald Commemorative Stamp.

Nina Simone

Born in a family of eight children, Nina Simone, whose real name was Eunice Kathleen Wayman, played the piano and sang in the parish choir with her sisters from an early age.

Thanks to a special fund established by her music teacher to pay for her education, after finishing high school, Simone won a scholarship to New York City’s famed Julliard School of Music to train as a classical pianist.

Despite his determination to stay in the classical genre, she began her career in blues and jazz clubs.

She recorded her first album ‘Little Girl Blue’ in 1957. Her most productive period is that of the 1960s when she recorded nine albums while campaigning for the civil rights with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. She was identified as the voice of the civil rights and wrote songs about the movement.

After releasing several albums in the 1970s, she went into exile in Liberia.

She returned in 1987 with Brel’s “Do not leave me”. She then wrote her biography in 1991 and signed her last album “A Single Woman” in 1993.

Considered one of the greatest jazz singers, Nina Simone died in 2003.

Her deep, distinctive voice makes her a popular choice for television and film soundtracks.

Billie Holiday

Considered one of the best jazz vocalists of all time, Holiday became known for her distinctive and expressive, sometimes melancholy voice.

With an extraordinary voice and especially her genius performances, Billie Holiday experienced tremendous success with Benny Godman, Teddy Wilson, Buck Clayton and Young Lether.

Called “Lady Day” by fellow musicians, she recorded between 1935 and 1942 over thirty songs.

Holiday pursued her career and released “Strange Fruit”, a song against racism and “God Bless the Child”, which became her theme song.

But although her life as a singer was a success, her private life had been a reflection of her dramatic childhood.

At only 44, she died on a hospital bed in New York.

Billie Holiday was “the voice of jazz”, which was nurtured by emotions, pain and tenderness, feelings she managed to render in her music most likely because she had tasted them in real life.

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