Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan, April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo.
Critic John Bush wrote that Holiday "changed the art of American pop vocals forever." She co-wrote only a few songs, but several of them have become jazz standards, notably "God Bless the Child," "Don't Explain," "Fine and Mellow," and "Lady Sings the Blues." She also became famous for singing "Easy Living," "Good Morning Heartache," and "Strange Fruit", a protest song which became one of her standards and was made famous with her 1939 recording.
Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Sarah Julia "Sadie" Fagan (née Harris). Her father, Clarence Halliday (Holiday), a musician, did not marry or live with her mother. Her mother had moved to Philadelphia when thirteen, after being ejected from her parents' home in Sandtown-Winchester, Baltimore for becoming pregnant. With no support from her own parents, Holiday's mother arranged for the young Holiday to stay with her older married half sister, Eva Miller, who lived in Baltimore.