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Billie was born April 7, 1915. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her parents were Clarence Holiday and Sarah Julia Fagan. Her parents named her Eleanora Fagan. She hardly ever saw her dad so Sarah took care of Eleanora as a single mother.
Billie and her mother struggled on their own. Bille skipped school so she could be home more often so she could help out with her mother. The one thing she loved was singing jazz songs.
In the late 1920s Billie and her mother moved to New York City. Around 1930 she started to sing in clubs and renamed herself Billie after the film star Billie Dove.
One day when Billie was singing in a Harlem jazz club, she was discovered by producer John Hammond. She was 18 years old.
She started recording and in 1935, she made several singles including, "Miss Brown to You." She became friends with saxophonist Lester Young. He nicknamed her "Lady Day" in 1937.
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