timeline

born 1917

Celebrated by many as the best female jazz vocalist of all time, Ella Fitzgerald actually began her career aspiring to become a dancer. After discovering she had an incomparable talent for singing, Ella's vocal career took off, recording about 70 LPs + more than 2,000 different songs in her lifetime.

With a career spanning over 60 years, Ella sold over 40 million records, won 14 Grammy Awards, was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Ronald Reagan + The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H.W. Bush. Besides her many accolades, Ella collaborated with many equally iconic artists in both music and film.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Ella Fitzgerald (13)

"The only thing better than singing is more singing."

from New York Sunday News | unknown

"I sing like I feel."

The Official Site of the First Lady of Song | unknown

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

The Official Site of the First Lady of Song | unknown

"A lot of singers think all they have to do is exercise their tonsils to get ahead. They refuse to look for new ideas and new outlets, so they fall by the wayside... I'm going to try to find out the new ideas before the others do."

The Official Site of the First Lady of Song | unknown

"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong."

The Official Site of the First Lady of Song | unknown

"We've swung it, and yes, we've sung it. You won't recognize it...it's a surprise hit!"

improvised song lyric | 1960

"I call it 'the other side of Ella.' I've got more cookbooks than the library."

Ella Fitzgerald Communicates | december 1972

"I spilled a salad down my front at the Universal commissary when Cary Grant was introduced to me."

Ella Fitzgerald Communicates | december 1972

"Well, if you've got a voice, you go for it!"

with Todd Gordon | april 1974

"I sang because I was too nervous to dance."

Evening Independent {Knight-Ridder wire service} | december 1979

"You never know how a room feels, what a crowd is going to react to. You have to find out when you're standing out there singing the first time."

Evening Independent {Knight-Ridder wire service} | december 1979

"What's the sense of going home and just sitting down and doing nothing?"

Ella Fitzgerald's goal—just keep on singing | june 1983

"It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts."

Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady Of Jazz | unknown
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curated with care by Angela Willard {september 2014}