Jazz is a music genre that was started by blacks. It was used as a symbol against racial discrimination. It encouraged equal opportunities for all races. Today, the opportunities for women who sing Jazz have been broadened. Women have taken jazz singing as a career and the sexism surrounding them has subdued. Several workshops have been conducted whose aim is to improve visibility and women participation in Jazz. This has led to the creation of new professional opportunities for women. Jazz singing is now seen as a way of empowering women and raising awareness for women in the singing career.
Billie Holliday, an African American Jazz singer started her career on a low note in the early thirties. She did not have a permanent producer and unrecognized in the world of Jazz. Her song "Strange Fruit" which was performed in 1939 threw her into the world of popularity and mainstream music success. In her early career years, she was poorly paid and did not have a place to record her songs. In 1940, her song "God Bless the Child" hit the billboards and she graced several cover magazines. She had cultivated her own popular style and laid the basis for any aspiring vocalist. Her economic benefits showed other female Jazz singers that Jazz singing is a professional career.
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Ella Fitzgerald began a solo career. She recorded at Verve records and her song "Oh, Lady be Good!" increased her popularity and reputation as a Jazz singer and performer. Although she began on a low note, she was awarded 14 Grammies and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1967.
Mary Lou Williams began on a high note as a Jazz pianist. At the age of seven, she was performing and inspired many people with her Jazz tones and voice. She mentored people like Dizzy Gillespie to become great Jazz singers. Her works laid the basis of supporting Jazz singers and this has sustained the passion in many female Jazz singers until date.
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