Sarah and Clarence weren’t married and didn’t live together when their daughter was born.
Soon after Eleanora was born, Clarence uprooted his family to seek a career as a jazz guitar and banjo player.
When Sarah was 19 years old, she left her parents’ Baltimore, Maryland, home after being kicked out for getting pregnant and moving to Philadelphia. She had no help from her parents, so Eva Miller, her elder, married half-sister, consented to care for her kid in Baltimore.
Concerning Sarah Julia Fagan
By the start of 1929, Billie and her mother had relocated to Harlem. Florence Williams was a well-dressed woman who ran a brothel at 151 West 140th Street. Billie, who was just 14, became a prostitute for $5 per session despite her young age, making her one of the town’s youngest prostitutes. The home was invaded on May 2, 1929, and the inhabitants were detained. Sarah and Billie were released from a workhouse two months after their incarceration.
Eleanora Fagan gave birth to Billie Holiday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 7, 1915 (Billie Holiday Biography.com). Her parents, Sarah Julia Fagan and Clarence Holiday were only 16 and 18 when she was born. She might have inherited her talent from her father, Clarence, a legendary jazz performer. Billie’s life’s journey was anything from simple. Billie never had a father figure in her life.
Career and Family
When Billie was just five years old, her mother, Sarah, married Philip Gough, and their union ended in divorce. When Billie was nine years old, she started skipping school. She was sent to “the House of Good Shepherd” for her difficult African American girls (Billie Holiday Biography.com). She came again seven months later, but this time she was a ten-year-old who had been “molested and abused” (Ward).
After relocating to New York City, “she worked as a prostitute at Alice Dean’s brothel” for two years (Ward). She began singing in clubs to relieve some of her life’s stress, at which point she “renamed herself Billie after the film diva Billie Dove” (Billie Holiday Biography.com). She was invited to join John Hammond’s band when she was just 18 years old after being noticed by him at a jazz club in Harlem.
By 1941, when she was 26 years old, “she had married small-time drug dealer Jimmy Monroe who introduced her to opium and heroin and it proved to be an addictive acquaintance” and “her ruin” (Glasgow). When she turned 32, her conviction for narcotics possession was upheld. (Glasgow).
She performed Saddest Tale in Billie’s scene, and later in her career, after abusing drugs and smoking a million cigarettes, she honed her craft as a master of depressing tunes.
People like myself, who first learned about Billie through the melancholy things, are thrilled to discover all this lovely content. However, many collection CDs demonstrate that Billie’s recordings in her early years were frequently cherry, so this is not surprising.
There are two schools of thought regarding the Billie Holiday catalog.
Her voice has faded and the songs themselves are dismal, according to some fans, making her final albums the most tragic of her career.