Ella Fitzgerald (4/22)

Welcome to this week's Throwback Thursday!


This week, our musician is Ella Fitzgerald. Ella Fitzgerald is one of the most well-known Jazz singers and her influence is still strong in the music industry today. 

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella's early life was rough. She moved from home to home between several guardians. After her mother, Tempie, passed away, she struggled and after being arrested, she was sent to a reform school to try and change her behavior. Through everything, Ella found comfort in music and dancing.

Ella ran away from the reform school and ended up on the streets of New York during the Great Depression. in 1934, Ella had the opportunity to compete in an amateur performers night at the Apollo theater. While the audience didn't think much of Ella's raggedy appearance when they saw her, she blew the audience away with her voice.

Ella continued to perform in local talent shows and winning various competitions, and eventually was picked up by a band led by Chick Webb. From then on, she and the band performed throughout Harlem and New York.

During Ella's career, she overcame many barriers as a woman of color in a primarily male dominated career. As a musician, she was a master improviser and often used vocables (nonsense syllables) in a method called "scat singing". 

Here is a link to Ella Fitzgerald singing "Blue Skies".