Even though she had grown up dreaming of becoming a famous tap dancer, her extraordinary vocal talents drew her attention that she needed to launch her career. Ella Fitzgerald was a mere seventeen year old girl when she performed in front of a formal live audience the first time in 1934. She was dressed in clothes that were anything but meant to be worn for a stage performance and had never taken training to sing. But that evening turned Ella’s life around as she stunned audiences with her singing abilities and her natural magnetism. The very crowd that initially doubted her clapped energetically.
The young girl went on to record over two hundred albums that became top-sellers. While her first exposure to organized music came with the glee club where she received her musical education at a public school, Ella Fitzgerald did not undergo formal training until she received guidance from Chick Webb who was a well established drummer and swing band leader. He took on the form of her legal guardian and took care of Ella and trained her further. As a result of his training, Ella mastered the art of scat singing and it was as a result of this training that she went on to become known as “one of the greatest jazz story tellers in history” (McCurdy, p. 24).
Ella was known as a shy person by nature but it was during one of her own interviews that she stated “I’m very shy, and I shy away from people, but the moment I hit the stage, it’s a different feeling. I get nerve from somewhere; maybe it’s because it’s something I love to do” (Public Broadcasting Service).