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Ella Fitzgerald Quotes

Ella Fitzgerald
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Ella Jane Fitzgerald
  • Born: 25th April 1917, Newport News, Virginia, U.S.
  • Died: 15th June 1996, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
  • Resting place: Inglewood Park Cemetery, Los Angeles
  • Alma mater: Benjamin Franklin Junior High School, New York
  • Occupation: Jazz singer
  • Genres: Jazz, Blues, Be-Bop, Swing and Traditional Pop
  • Instruments: Vocals
  • Years active: 1934 - 1993
  • Nicknames: Lady Ella, Mama Jazz, The First Lady of Jazz, The First Lady of Song and The Queen of Jazz
  • Height: 5' 4½" (1.64 m)
  • Inspired by: Bing Crosby, Chick Webb, Connee Boswell, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong
  • Marriage resume: Benny Kornegay 1941 - 1943 (annulled) and Ray Brown 1947 - 1953 (divorced)

"It isn't where you came from, its where you're going that counts"

Ella Fitzgerald

"Coming through the years, and finding that I not only have just the fans of my day, but the young ones of today - that's what it means, it means it was worth all of it"

Ella Fitzgerald

"I think all the fabulous places I've been, the wonderful things that have happened for me, the great people I've met - that ought to make a story"

Ella Fitzgerald

"I guess what everyone wants more than anything else is to be loved. And to know that you loved me for my singing is too much for me"

Ella Fitzgerald

"You let it go by, even if you really would like to choke 'em. By smiling, I think I've made more friends than if I was the other way"

Ella Fitzgerald

"I sing with my eyes closed, and my whole mind is concentrated on what I want to do. Any little noise can throw me"

Ella Fitzgerald

"Some kids in Italy call me 'Mama Jazz; I thought that was so cute. As long as they don't call me Grandma Jazz"

Ella Fitzgerald

"I don't want to say the wrong thing, which I always do but I think I do better when I sing"

Ella Fitzgerald

"She was an unusual woman [Marilyn Monroe], a little ahead of her times, and didn't know it"

Ella Fitzgerald

"What everyone wants more than anything else is to be loved"

Ella Fitzgerald

"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do"

Ella Fitzgerald

"I stole everything I ever heard, but mostly I stole from the horns"

Ella Fitzgerald

"Forgive me if I don't have all the words. Maybe I can sing it and you'll understand"

Ella Fitzgerald

"The only thing better than singing is more singing"

Ella Fitzgerald

"I sing like I feel"

Ella Fitzgerald
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Ella Fitzgerald Biography

At the dawn of jazz in 1917 a star was born into a family out of wedlock but despite a difficult upbringing the silken voice of Ella Fitzgerald shone through and she was to be forever known as "the first lady of song". Endowed with an immaculate voice that stretched across 3 octaves she was a mezzo soprano with an ear for melodic improvisation that made her the most popular American jazz singer of her generation and beyond.

No one who witnessed in 1934 the nervous 16 year old make her debut at amateur night at The Apollo Theatre in New York would be surprised to learn that an international career spanning seven separate decades was on the horizon as the raucous crowd stood and bellowed for an encore. Ella was never comfortable with her appearance but when she took to the stage she would close her eyes and immerse herself into the music, as she sang she lost all her inhibitions as she felt so at home with the microphone.

Describing her shyness but lack of stage fright Ella Fitzgerald was once quoted as saying: "Once up there, I felt the acceptance and love from my audience, I knew I wanted to sing before people the rest of my life". During her career she created in excess of 200 albums selling more than 40 million worldwide, she graced the stage with the likes of Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole and sang the songs of some of the great American composers of her generation including: Billy Strayhorn, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.

Her path to super stardom and worldwide recognition was not an easy one for a person of colour in the racially divided U.S. as Ella and her band members often faced issues with discrimination and segregated venues. In Norman Granz she had a no nonsense manager who refused to play any venue that enforced a colour segregation policy, so the theatres had a choice of no segregation or no Ella.

She also had an unlikely ally in Marilyn Monroe who was a big fan and when she heard Ella could not play at the Mocambo Club in Los Angeles because of their racial policy Marilyn called the owner and told him if you book Ms Fitzgerald that she would personally take a front row table every night and the press would go wild. The clubs manager relaxed his policy so Ella sang, Marilyn dazzled in the media frenzy and Ella never had to play a small jazz club ever again.

Ella Fitzgerald was quoted as saying at the time: "I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt. It was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the '50s".

Whilst touring on the French Côte d’Azur, Ella's manager Norman Granz received a request from the artist Pablo Picasso to meet her as he was a big fan. With Ella being shy and indifferent to the cult of celebrity she declined the invitation but far from being upset Picasso drew and signed a sketch of her and asked Granz to gift it to her.

For someone who was often called The Queen Of Jazz it was fitting that she signed off with her last concert in the prestigious Carnegie Hall in 1991, an emotional Ella must have contemplated her musical journey, her 13 Grammy Awards and the wonderful people she had met during her 60 year career as she belted out for the last time Dream A Little Dream of Me, Mack The Knife and Summertime. Humble and kind hearted to the end, she was also good for a one liner, so here is my compilation of 15 of the best Ella Fitzgerald quotes

Quotes About Ella Fitzgerald

The crooner Bing Crosby paid her the highest compliment: "Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest of them all"

Ol' blues eyes Frank Sinatra knew how to get a party started: "The best way to start any musical evening is with this girl. It don't get better than this"

Johnny Mathis was gushing with praise: "She was the best. She was the best there ever was. Amongst all of us who sing, she was the best"

Musical director Vincente Minnelli shared this advice: "If you want to learn how to sing, listen to Ella Fitzgerald"

The conductor Arthur Fiedler recognised the talent: "Ella's voice becomes the orchestra's richest and most versatile sound"

The composer Ira Gershwin wished she could sing his whole repertoire: "I never knew how good our songs were until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them"

Ella Fitzgerald image quote