Inspiring women: Ella Fitzgerald

"First Lady of Song" just about says it all. Ella went through it all; loss of her mother, abuse by her stepfather, an orphanage, homelessness. But at 17 years old, she made her debut at an amateur night in the Apollo Theatre. She intended to dance, but was trumped by an earlier act and opted instead to sing. Of course, she won the $25 prize.

Her voice was described by Will Friedwald as "easily one of the most beautiful and sonically perfect sounds known to man." Fitzgerald won fourteen Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement in 1967. You can't go wrong listening to her, but this, in particular, makes me smile wide.

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