American singer Ella Fitzgerald was born in Virginia on this day one hundred years ago.
Fitzgerald was a remarkable student and her interest and passion in dancing and music started from a young age.
When Ella was fifteen, her mother passed away prompting her to move out of the family home due to mistreatment by her stepfather. She was forced to live in an orphanage and eventually ran away, living in the streets for some time.
At age 17, Fitzgerald made her singing debut at one of the first Apollo Amateur Nights, and won first place.
Less than two months later, she had the opportunity to sing with the Harlem Opera House. Her big break came when she performed with Chick Webb and his orchestra. Upon his death in 1939, Fitzgerald became the bandleader of the Ella and her Famous Orchestra.
Over the next decades, she performed as a soloist, recording some of the most influential American standards.
The hundreds of songs she recorded in her sixty years on the stage, her perfect diction, pitch, and rhythm have made her one of the incomparable icons of the twentieth century.
Of her legendary scatting, she said she was simply trying to mimic what the horns were playing.