The swing era is considered to be one of the most significant parts of Jazz history. Considered to have begun in 1935 and lasted until 1945, the Swing Era brought forth numerous artists such as Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Lester Young and Ella Fitzgerald (Yurochko). Ella Fitzgerald was born on the 25th of April in 1918 in Newport News Virginia and is known for her jazz singing of swing, ballads and bebop (McCurdy). As a child, Ella Fitzgerald would derive inspiration from the moves of the likes of the great Snake Hips Tucker. Ella would listen to music by Louis Armstrong, The Boswell Sisters and Bing Crosby amongst others and would try to imitate their sounds as a young child. She was inspired by the records that her mother would bring home and would spend most of her time trying to imitate them.
This was a girl who had lost her mother to a heart attack and who sought peace in singing and dancing. She began to take active interest in singing and dancing and would practice day after day. She had dreamt of becoming a famous singer and dancer and the little girl held on to her dream tightly. However, her mother’s death led Ella to deviate from her naturally gentle and intelligent persona as she dropped out of school and engaged in gambling. It was during Ella’s days as a free bird in Harlem that the city became the home of jazz and it comes as no surprise that Ella’s exposure to jazz in those days brought her to a point where she became known as the First Lady of Song (Krohn). This paper shall present a discussion on the beginnings of Ella Fitzgerald as a singer and her performances.