This week we celebrate the life and music of Billie Holiday, who would have turned 100 on Tuesday. She brought real emotion to the American songbook and set the standard for nearly every jazz vocalist to follow. Completely ahead of her time, Lady Day's struggles in her own life came through her art, creating a singular legacy that still moves listeners even today.
Generations of singers have also been moved by Billie’s talent. Artists as diverse as Bjork, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, and Sam Smith have all credited Billie Holiday as a formative influence in their own work.
To mark this centenary occasion, songstress Cassandra Wilson (who in the past has covered songs by U2, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and even the Monkees) has released a new album this week, Coming Forth by Day, featuring unique new interpretations of Billie Holiday’s signature songs with an innovative twist.