In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
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Janet Jackson is the younger sister of the singing Jackson brothers, including the late "King of Pop" Michael Jackson. She released her first album in 1982; her career really took off with the 1986 album Control, which included the hit single "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" She quickly became a regular fixture in pop music and on MTV, known for her smartly sexy songs and high-energy dancing (the choreography in her videos was done by Paula Abdul). In 1999 she was a guest artist with Busta Rhymes on his hit "What's It Gonna Be." She also ventured into the movies, starring with Tupac Shakur and Maya Angelou in the 1993 film Poetic Justice. Her other albums include Damita Jo (2004, with a title taken from Jackson's middle name), 20 Y.O. (2006) and Discipline (2008).
Michael Jackson, one of the most widely beloved entertainers and profoundly influential artists of all-time, leaves an indelible imprint on popular music and culture.
Five of Jackson's solo albums - "Off the Wall," "Thriller," "Bad," "Dangerous" and "HIStory," all with Epic Records - are among the top-sellers of all time and "Thriller" holds the distinction as the largest selling album worldwide in the history of the recording industry with more than 70 million units sold. Additionally, singles released from the Thriller album sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, another all time record.
During his extraordinary career, he sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and "Thriller" as the Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Award's Artist of the Century Award.
Joel recorded many popular hit songs and albums from 1973 (beginning with the single "Piano Man") to his retirement from recording pop music in 1993. He is one of the very few rock or even pop artists to have Top 10 hits in the '70s, '80s, and '90s. A six-time Grammy Award winner, he has sold in excess of 100 million records worldwide and is the sixth best selling artist in the United States, according to the RIAA. Joel's induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame (Class of 1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Class of 1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (Class of 2006) has further solidified his status as one of America's leading music icons. He has continued to tour occasionally (sometimes with Elton John) in addition to writing and recording classical music.
Sir Elton John is one of pop music's great survivors. Born 25 March, 1947, as Reginald Kenneth Dwight, he started to play the piano at the early age of four. At the age of 11, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. His first band was called Bluesology. He later auditioned (unsuccessfully) as lead singer for the progressive rock bands King Crimson and Gentle Giant. Dwight teamed up with lyricist Bernie Taupin and changed his name to Elton John (merging the names of saxophonist Elton Dean and Long John Baldry). The duo wrote songs for Lulu and Roger Cook. In the early 1970s, he recorded the concept album "Tumbleweed Connection." He became the most successful pop artist of the 1970s, and he has survived many different pop fads including punk, the New Romantics and Britpop to remain one of Britain's most internationally acclaimed musicians.
Elton John announced he was a bisexual in 1976, and in 1984, he married Renate Blauel. The marriage lasted four years before he finally came to terms with the fact that he was actually homosexual. In the 1970s and 1980s, he suffered from drug and alcohol addiction and bulimia but came through it. He is well known as a campaigner for AIDS research and he keeps his finger on the pulse of modern music, enjoying artists such as Eminem, Radiohead, Coldplay and Robbie Williams. He was knighted in 1997.
She was born Geetali Norah Jones Shankar to legendary Indian musician, Ravi Shankar, and Sue Jones in New York City. Fittingly, her birth name, Geetali, carries the meaning of "song" or "melodious", and was bestowed on her by her father. No one could have possibly imagined how fully she would embody that name, even while circumstances removed her from the influences of her father's musical gifts.
Norah Jones was raised by her mother in a Dallas suburb, and that's where her musical talents began to reveal themselves. She performed in church choirs, learned to play the piano and guitar, and even briefly tried her hand at the alto saxophone. She attended Interlochen Arts Camp, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas, and the University of North Texas, where she majored in jazz piano, and won Best Student Music Awards for Best Jazz Vocalist (twice, in 1996 and 1997) and Best Original Composition (1996). At the age of sixteen, she officially shortened her name to Norah Jones, no longer carrying the Indian, "Geetali". Nonetheless, the "melodious song" was very much alive, and moving full-steam ahead.
Janis Lyn Joplin grew up in Port Arthur, Texas listening to the blues. In high school, she started singing them, first at coffee houses, and eventually in southern California and around New York's Greenwich Village. She returned to Texas to give college a try, and became heavily involved with drugs and alcohol. She was an excellent student, but continued to be drawn to the musician's life.
Joplin had become friends with Chet Helms in Austin in the early '60s. By 1966, Helms was in San Francisco promoting groups like Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead. Helms convinced Joplin to move to San Francisco and hook up with a band he was managing, Big Brother and the Holding Company. After appearing at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, the group rocketed to national prominence, and Joplin was established as a major musical star.
Joplin was the first bona fide female rock star, breaking the "girl singer" mold that existed in pop and folk music. She was smart and funny. Her lifestyle, her outfits and her vocal style were "over the top." Although she recorded only a few albums and was not a prolific songwriter, She fused blues and rock in ways that were unique among both male and female singers and her personal style opened the door to a generation of female rock singers.
Singer, actor, and dancer. Born December 8, 1925 in New York City. After his parents split up when he was three, Davis lived with his father and soon began a career tap-dancing in vaudeville. He, his father and Will Mastin performed as the Will Mastin Trio until Davis left to serve in the United States Army during World War II. During his time in the service, he overcame racial prejudice by joining the entertainment unit.
Uupon returning home, Davis resumed his showbiz career, with solo performing and recording success in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1956 he starred on Broadway in Mr Wonderful, and in 1964 in Golden Boy. His refusal to appear in any clubs that practiced racial segregation led to the integration of several venues in Miami Beach and Las Vegas.
Davis' films include Porgy and Bess (1959), Robin and the Seven Hoods with fellow Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin (1964), Sweet Charity (1968), and Taps (1980). He continued to entertain and record until the early 1980s.
Davis married Swedish-born actress May Britt in 1960, when interracial marriages were forbidden by law in 31 states. The couple had one daughter and adopted two sons and divorced in 1968. Davis was married to dancer Altovise Gore from 1970 until his death in 1990.
Alicia Augello Cook was born in January 25, 1981, in Manhattan, New York, USA. She is better known by her stage name Alicia Keys. Alicia Keys is an American recording artist, musician, song writer and actress. Alicia Keys was raised by a single mother in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan in New York City. When she was 7 years old, Alicia Keys began to play classical music on the piano. She decided to attend the Professional Performing Arts School and she graduated when she was just 16 years old as valedictorian. Later on, she attended Columbia University but she dropped out to follow a musical career. Not long after this, Alicia Keys released her first album with J Records.
Diana Krall was born in British Columbia, Canada. She was raised in Nanaimo, a small community on Vancouver Island, where she began performing professionally at age 15 as a jazz pianist. In 1981, Diana won a Vancouver Jazz Festival scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston and, after a year and a half of serious study, she returned to British Columbia. Renowned bassist Ray Brown heard her playing one night in Nanaimo and convinced Diana to move to Los Angeles where she obtained a Canadian Arts Council grant to study with Jimmy Rowles. Jimmy encouraged Diana to explore her vocals to supplement her already blossoming piano skills. With several successful CDs to her credit, Diana has won numerous awards including Canada's Juno Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album (2000) and a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance (2000). She received the Order of British Columbia in 2000 for being a good-will ambassador for British Columbia and epitomizing Canadian culture. The greatest talent in the jazz field to come along in a generation, she frequently acknowledges her roots in Nanaimo where she began . She epitomizes Canadian culture and is an outstanding citizen and good-will ambassador for British Columbia.
Nancy LaMott was born December 30, 1951, in Midland, MI, or as she termed it, a suburb of the Dow Chemical Corporation. Clearly a gifted musician, she learned music in public schools and started publicly singing with the big jazz dance band of her father, trumpeter Jack LaMott, in 1966 at age 15 while dreaming of a professional career. As a teenager she worked at the local Sears outlet. But in her late teens, Nancy developed Crohn's disease, a serious bowel disorder that often caused her to be hospitalized. Feeling a need to leave Michigan at the age of 19, she and her drummer/brother Brett left for San Francisco, CA. LaMott quickly became a popular cabaret singer, but her continued affliction frequently interrupted regular work. Overwhelming medical bills summarily plagued her, but a loyal friend and fan paid for a plane ticket, and she headed for New York City. The burgeoning cabaret scene in the Big Apple adopted LaMott, and in 1989 she met composer/conductor David Friedman, who offered to produce her recordings, the debut album being Beautiful Baby. A close-knit team developed around her, including pianist/arranger Chris Marlowe.
Kathryn Dawn Lang, OC, known by her stage name k.d. lang, is a Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter and occasional actress. She gives her name in lowercase letters, with the given names contracted to initials and no space between these initials.
Lang has won both Juno Awards and Grammy Awards for her musical performances; hits include "Constant Craving" and "Miss Chatelaine". She has contributed songs to movie soundtracks and has teamed with musicians such as Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett, Elton John and Anne Murray. Lang is also known for being a vegan as well as an animal rights, gay rights and Tibetan human rights activist. She performed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" live at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
Mario Lanza's life, sadly, has all the markings of an epic Shakespearean tragedy. The story is truly incredible: a wild, incendiary Philadelphia kid who can sing better than Caruso, sets out to become the greatest dramatic opera singer who ever lived, is detoured by Louis B. Mayer and vixen Hollywood, is remade into a fiercely handsome box office champ with 50 inch chest, his own national radio show, 1951 TIME Magazine cover idol, and king of the pop record world.
He was besieged on cross-country concert tours and appearances years before Elvis and the Beatles, a true 'superstar' before the word was invented and the first singer to ever earn Gold Records with million sellers in both classical and popular categories.
Avril Lavigne was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada on September 27, 1984. At 16, she moved to Manhattan and began work on her debut album. She dropped out of high school after the 11th grade when she secured a record deal. When Avril was almost 18, she released "Complicated" from her debut album titled: "Let Go," which went 6x platinum. As a petite skater girl from a small town, Avril has shown she is independent, full of confidence and determination, providing a good combination to make "Complicated" and Avril a musical breakthrough. "Complicated" went to number #1 on Billboards Top 100 while also earning her 5 Grammy nominations, MTV music awards, MTV European music awards and many more.
As a blues-influenced jazz singer, Lee's restrained yet soulful subdued singing style has been compared to Billie Holiday. Her long singing career virtually encompassed the history of American popular music between 1940 and 1970. In addition, she acted in films and revealed herself to be an accomplished songwriter.
Born on a farm, Lee sang with the Four of Us in small clubs in the Midwest and California before being discovered by Benny Goodman in Chicago in 1941 and joining his band as replacement for Helen Forrest. Her first recordings with Goodman, including Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is the Ocean" (Columbia, 1941), were merely competent, but her 1942 recording of "Why Don't You Do Right?" revealed an individual style. Written by Lee herself (sic), it was based on a blues song by Lil Green. In 1943, after her marriage to Goodman's guitarist David Barbour, she left the band and retired to raise a family, only occasionally recording (sic). Among her first solo hits were "Manana" (Capitol, 1948), written with Barbour; "Bali Ha'i" (Capitol, 1949) and "Lover" (Decca, 1952), her spectacular mambo version of Lorenz Hart's and Richard Rodgers' waltz with an orchestra backing supplied by Gordon Jenkins.
Leona Louise Lewis is a British singer-songwriter. Lewis was a contestant in third series of the British television series The X Factor, which she won.
Lewis is a multi-platinum selling artist and three time Grammy Award nominee. Her most successful single, "Bleeding Love", reached number one in over thirty countries around the world. She was proclaimed 'Top New Artist' by Billboard magazine in 2008. Lewis has released two albums to date, Spirit and Echo, in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Spirit became the fastest-selling debut album and the biggest seller of 2007 in both the United Kingdom and Ireland, and made Lewis the first British solo artist to top the Billboard 200 with a debut album. It has sold over 6.5 million copies worldwide.
Lewis's debut single "A Moment Like This" became the fastest selling UK single after being downloaded over 50,000 times within thirty minutes of its release. In November 2008 she set a record in the UK for the fastest selling download-only release with her cover version of the Snow Patrol song "Run" which sold 69,244 copies in two days(citation needed). Lewis's debut tour, The Labyrinth, took place in 2010.
Lisa Anne Loeb is an American singer-songwriter and actress. She launched her career in 1994 with the song, "Stay (I Missed You)". She was the first artist to have a number one single in the United States while not signed to a recording contract.
Loeb's efforts now include music, film, television, voice-over work and children's recordings. Her five studio CDs include her major label debut, the gold-selling Tails and its follow-up, the Grammy-nominated, gold-selling Firecracker. Loeb has appeared in two television series, Dweezil & Lisa, a weekly culinary adventure for the Food Network and Number 1 Single, a dating show on the E! Network in 2006.
In conjunction with Camp Lisa, she launched her own non-profit, The Camp Lisa Foundation, designed to help underprivileged kids attend summer camp through its partnership with Summer Camp Opportunities Provide an Edge, Inc. (SCOPE).
Jennifer Lynn Lopez (born July 24, 1969), also known by her nickname J.Lo, is an American actress, singer, record producer, dancer, television personality, fashion designer and television producer. Lopez began her career as a dancer on the television comedy program In Living Color. Subsequently venturing into acting, she gained recognition in the 1995 action-thriller Money Train.
Her first leading role was in the biographical film Selena (1997), in which she earned an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress. She earned her second ALMA Award for her performance in Out of Sight (1998). She has since starred in various films, including The Wedding Planner (2001), Maid in Manhattan (2002), Shall We Dance? (2004), Monster-in-Law (2005), and The Back-up Plan (2010).
Peter Gene Hernandez, better known by his stage name Bruno Mars, is an American singer-songwriter and record producer. Raised in Honolulu, Hawaii by a family of musicians, Mars began making music at a young age. He performed in various musical venues in his hometown throughout his childhood. He graduated from high school and then moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a musical career. Mars produced songs for other artists, joining production team The Smeezingtons.
Mars had an unsuccessful stint with Motown Records, but then signed with Atlantic Records in 2009. He became recognized as a solo artist after lending his vocals and co-writing the hooks for the songs "Nothin' on You" by B.o.B, and "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy. He also co-wrote the hits "Right Round" by Flo Rida featuring Ke$ha, and "Wavin' Flag" by K'naan. In October 2010, he released his debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans. Anchored by the worldwide number-one singles "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade", the album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200. Mars was nominated for seven Grammys at the 53rd Grammy Awards, winning Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Just the Way You Are".
Dean Martin (June 7, 1917 - December 25, 1995), born Dino Paul Crocetti, was an American singer, film actor, television star and comedian. Martin's hit singles included "Memories Are Made of This", "That's Amore", "Everybody Loves Somebody", "Mambo Italiano", "Sway", "Volare" and smash hit "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?". Nicknamed the "King of Cool", he was one of the members of the "Rat Pack" and a major star in four areas of show business: concert stage/night clubs, recordings, motion pictures, and television.
On the 11th of March, 1950, Bobby McFerrin was born. His parents were classical singers and he began to study music theory early on in his life. His family then moved to Los Angeles. During high school and then in College, UCSC, he focused on the piano. Once he finished college, Bobby McFerrin toured with numerous bands including the Ice Follies.
However, it was only in 1977 that Bobby McFerrin decide to become a singer. At one point he met Bill Cosby who arranged for him take part in the 1980 Playboy Jazz Festival. It was only two years later where he released his firm album called "Bobby McFerrin" in 1982. It was in 1983, that Bobby McFerrin started converting without a band. This eventually led him to make a solo tour in Germany. It was in Germany that he recorded his album "The Voice". From that point on, he continued to make solo tours in the most prestigious locations. It is also important to realize that Bobby McFerrin worked with several important people like Garrison Keillor, Jack Nicholson, and Joe Zawinul. On "Another Night in Tunisia", Bobby McFerrin won two Grammies.
Samuel Timothy "Tim" McGraw (born May 1, 1967) is an American country singer and actor. Many of McGraw's albums and singles have topped the country music charts, leading him to achieve total album sales in excess of 40 million units. He is married to country singer Faith Hill and is the son of former baseball player Tug McGraw.
McGraw had 11 consecutive albums debut at Number One on the Billboard albums charts. Twenty-one singles hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. He has won 3 Grammys, 14 Academy of Country Music awards, 11 Country Music Association (CMA) awards, 10 American Music Awards, and 3 People's Choice Awards. His Soul2Soul II Tour with Faith Hill is the highest grossing tour in country music history, and one of the top five among all genres of music.
Sarah McLachlan was adopted in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As a child, she took voice lessons, along with studies in classical piano and guitar. When she was 17 years old, and still a student at Queen Elizabeth High School, she fronted a short-lived rock band called The October Game. One of the band's songs, "Grind", credited as a group composition, can be found on the independent Flamingo Records release 'Out of the Fog' and the CD Out of the Fog Too. It has yet to be released elsewhere. Her high school yearbook predicted that she was "destined to become a famous rock star."
Following The October Game's first concert at Dalhousie University opening for Moev, McLachlan was offered a recording contract with Vancouver-based independent record label Nettwerk by Moev's Mark Jowett. McLachlan's parents insisted she finish high school and complete one year of studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design before moving to Vancouver and embarking on a new life as a recording artist, and McLachlan finally signed to Nettwerk two years later before having written a single song.
Gloriously flamboyant American entertainer Bette Midler was born in Honolulu, HI, to the only Jewish family in the neighborhood. After dropping out of a drama class at the University of Hawaii, she took a tiny role in the 1966 film Hawaii, playing a seasick boat passenger (though it's hard to see her when viewing the film). Training for a dancing career in New York, Midler made the casting rounds for several months before finally winning a chorus role, and then the featured part of Tzeitel, in the long-running Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof.
During her more than forty-year career, Midler has been nominated for two Academy Awards; and won four Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, and a special Tony Award.
Liza Minnelli was born on March 12, 1946, the daughter of Judy Garland and movie director Vincente Minnelli. She was practically raised at MGM studios while her parents worked long hours there and she made her film debut at fourteen months of age in the movie In the Good Old Summertime (1949). Her parents divorced in 1951 and, in 1952, her mother married Sidney Luft, with sister Lorna Luft and brother Joey Luft subsequently being born. Her father, Vincente Minnelli, later married Georgette Magnani, mother of her half-sister Christiane Nina "Tina Nina" Minnelli.
At sixteen, Liza was on her own in New York City, struggling to begin her career in show business. Her first recognition came for the play "Best Foot Forward" which ran for seven months in 1963. A year later, Judy invited Liza to appear with her for a show at the London Paladium. This show sold out immediately and a second night was added to it. Liza's performance in London was a huge turning point in both her career and her relationship with her mother. The audience absolutely loved Liza and Judy realized that Liza was now an adult with her own career. It was at the Paladium that Liza met her first husband, Peter Allen, a friend of Judy's.
Joni Mitchell is one of the most highly regarded and influential songwriters of the 20th century. Her melodious tunes support her poetic and often very personal lyrics to make her one of the most authentic artists of her time. As a performer she is widely hailed for her unique style of playing guitar. Mitchell's unflinching struggle for her own artistic independence has made her a role model for many other musicians, and somewhat of a bane to music industry executives. She is critical of the industry and of the shallowness that she sees in much of today's popular music. Mitchell is also a noted painter and has created the beautiful artwork that appears on the packaging of her music albums.
Willie Hugh Nelson (born April 30, 1933)(1) is an American country singer-songwriter, author, poet, actor, and activist. His 1975 album Red Headed Stranger was a huge commercial success and, along with the 1978 album "Stardust", made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music.
Nelson started studying music from mail order material that his grandparents gave him. He wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at nine. During high school, he toured locally with the Bohemian Fiddlers as their lead singer and guitar player. After graduating from high school in 1950, he joined the Air Force. However, he was discharged due to back problems. After his return, Nelson attended Baylor University for two years but dropped out because he was succeeding in music. During this time, he worked as a disc jockey in Texas radio stations and a singer in honky tonks.
In the long and distinguished career of Aaron Neville, Nature Boy is unique. A deeply satisfying suite of standards sung with remarkable sensitivity, Nature Boy is both a hallmark and a revelation: Aaron's feel for sweetly swinging jazz is pitch-perfect. He reinvents the Great American Songbook with a sure, soft touch; he lavishes his remarkable gifts on a project he calls "precious." Nature Boy is a classic-and classy-in every respect.
Dolly Rebecca Parton is an American singer-songwriter, actress, author, businesswoman, and humanitarian, known primarily for her work in country music.
Parton is the most honored female country performer of all time. Achieving 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, she has had 25 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. She has 41 career top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and she has 110 career charted singles over the past 40 years. All-inclusive sales of singles, albums, hits collections, and digital downloads during her career have topped 100 million worldwide. She has garnered eight Grammy Awards, two Academy Award nominations, ten Country Music Association Awards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and is one of only seven female artists to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year Award. Parton has received 46 Grammy nominations, tying her with Bruce Springsteen for the most Grammy nominations and placing her in tenth place overall.
Luciano Pavarotti was the best-selling classical singer and humanitarian known for his most original and popular performances with the 'Three Tenors' and 'Pavarotti & Friends'. Pavarotti was blessed with a voice of a rare range, beauty and clarity, which was best during the 60s, 70s and 80s. In 1966 he became the first opera tenor to hit all nine "high C's" with his full voice in the aria 'Quel destin' in 'La Fille du Regiment' (aka.. The Daughter of the Regiment) by Gaetano Donizetti. He repeated this feat in his legendary 1972 Met performance and was nicknamed "King of the High C's" in rave reviews. Pavarotti's popularity was arguably bigger than that of any other living tenor in the world. His 1993 live performance in the New York's Central Park was attended by 500,000 fans while millions watched it on television. During the 1990s and 2000s Pavarotti was still showing his ability to deliver his clear ringing tone in the higher register, albeit in fewer performances.
Katy Perry was born in California, the middle child of pastor parents. She has an older sister and younger brother. Raised in a deeply religious family, Perry's first experience of performing was singing in church. A passion for music grew and at the age of 15, Perry began visiting Nashville, gaining experience of song writing and recording demos.
She signed to a Christian record label, Red Hill, and recorded an album, under her birth name of Katy Hudson. The album was not a success. At age 17 she moved to Los Angeles and collaborated with producer Glen Ballard, but was not able to secure a lasting record deal. Perry did sign to Columbia Records in 2004, but again this did not prove a success, and she was dropped.
Edith Piaf born Edith Giovanna Gassion, was a French singer and cultural icon who became universally regarded as France's greatest popular singer. Her singing reflected her life, with her specialty being ballads. Among her songs are "La Vie en rose" (1946), "Non, je ne regrette rien" (1960), "Hymne a l'amour" (1949), "Milord" (1959), "La Foule" (1957), "l'Accordeoniste" (1955), and "Padam... Padam..." (1951).
Legend has it that Edith Piaf was born (as Edith Giovanna Gassion) on a Parisian street corner with two policemen attending. This is not a far-fetched idea, however, and may be true. Ediths mother was an alcoholic Italian street singer and part-time prostitute who neglected her for all of two months and then abandoned her to her father. Ediths father, Jean Gassion, was a famous acrobat who hadnt the time nor the skills to nurture an infant. He dropped the child off with his mother, the madam of a bordello, and she raised Edith through the toddler years.
Elvis Aaron Presley was born on Tuesday, January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi. In September 1948 when Elvis was 13, he and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee. After graduating from Humes High School in Memphis, Elvis took odd jobs working as a movie theater usher and a truck driver for Crown Electric Company. He began singing locally as "The Hillbilly Cat", then signed with a local recording company, then in 1955 with RCA. He did much to establish early rock and roll music, bringing black blues singing into the white, teenage mainstream. Teenage girls became hysterical over his blatantly sexual gyrations, particularly the one that got him nicknamed "Elvis the Pelvis" (TV cameras were not permitted to film below his waist). At the time of his death, he had sold more than 600-million singles and albums.
Vocalist Lana Del Rey makes atmospheric, orchestral, retro-'60s-sounding pop that showcases her torchy image and sensuously husky singing style. A native of Lake Placid, New York, Del Rey released the single, "Kill Kill", under her given name, Lizzy Grant, in 2009, before remaking herself into the pop femme fatale character, Lana Del Rey. A video for the single, "Video Games", appeared online in August of 2011 and drew considerable buzz, as did a secret show she performed at Brooklyn's Grasslands Gallery that September. Del Rey's EP, featuring the songs "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans", was released in fall 2011. Amidst a heavy dose of hype, her debut album, "Born to Die", was announced by Interscope for release early the following year. Del Rey cemented the anticipation around the album with an appearance on "Saturday Night Live" (1975), becoming the first artist since Natalie Imbruglia, in 1998, to perform on the show before the release of her debut album.
LeAnn Rimes (born August 28, 1982) is an American country singer-songwriter, actress, and author. She is best known for her rich vocals similar to country music singer Patsy Cline, and her rise to fame at the age of 13, becoming the youngest country music star since Tanya Tucker in 1972.
Since her debut, Rimes has won many major industry awards, which include two Grammys, three ACMs, one CMA, twelve Billboard Music Awards, and one American Music award. In addition, Rimes has also released ten studio albums and four compilation albums through her record label of 13 years, Asylum-Curb, and placed over 40 singles on American and international charts since 1996. She has sold over 37 million records worldwide, with 20.3 million album sales in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Singer. Born on July 14, 1946, in Tucson, Arizona. From a musically inclined family, Ronstadt left college to her dreams of being a singer in Los Angeles. Although she recorded and performed with the Stone Poneys and a solo artist for years, she finally found success with Heart Like a Wheel (1974). The album had several hits, including "You're No Good" and "When Will I Be Loved." The album went platinum-meaning it sold more than one million copies-as did her next few albums, establishing her as a music superstar during the 1970s.
In 1980s, Ronstadt tried her hand at pop standards, working with famed arranger Nelson Riddle. Together they put out three albums: Lush Life (1982), What's New (1983), and For Sentimental Reasons (1986). She also explored her Hispanic heritage by recording a Spanish-language album Canciones de Mi Padre (1987), which was filled with traditional Mexican songs like the ones her father loved. Two other Spanish-language albums followed-Mas Canciones (1990) and Frenesi (1992).
She was raised in the Riverdale section of New York City with two sisters and a brother. Her father, Richard Simon, played Chopin and Beethoven on the piano. Three of her uncles gained distinction in various fields of music. George, as an authority on Jazz, Henry, as a Musicologist and book editor and Alfred as the music director of a classical radio station.
She attended Riverdale county school and spent two years at Sarah Lawrence before dropping out to form a folk duo with her sister, Lucy. They billed themselves as the Simon Sisters and managed to get work at small clubs on the eastern seaboard. Lucy eventually left the act and married a physician. Carly's eldest sister Joanna was a professional opera singer.
She met her first husband James Taylor as a child when their parents had summered near one another on Martha's Vinyard. She married Taylor in 1971 and they later divorced. She has been married to writer Jim Hart since 1981 and they live on Martha's Vineyard, Mass. She has a son and daughter from her marriage to James Taylor.
Frank Sinatra has been called the greatest popular singer of the century. Whether that is true, in a century that also offers us Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and many others is, of course, a matter of personal emotional choice and, therefore, unknowable. What can be said is that under the intense and fickle scrutiny of the pop marketplace for nearly two-thirds of a century, Sinatra's music was in the air the world breathed and fell out of fashion only long enough for the deserters either to grow up or recognize that what was offered in its place was almost always trash by comparison.
Frank Sinatra, American singer and motion-picture actor who, through a long career and a very public personal life, became one of the most sought-after performers in the entertainment industry; he is often hailed as the greatest American singer of 20th-century popular music.
Hailed as a prodigy on the acoustic double bass within months of first touching the instrument as a 15-year-old, Esperanza Spalding has emerged as a fine jazz bassist, but has also distinguished herself playing blues, funk, hip-hop, pop fusion, and Brazilian and Afro-Cuban styles as well. Born in Portland, OR in 1984, Spalding was not well served by the public school system and soon dropped out of classes to be home schooled. Returning to the public school system at 15, she encountered her first acoustic bass (she had already been playing violin for several years) and immediately took to the instrument. Dropping out of school again, Spalding enrolled in classes at Portland State University as a 16-year-old, and earned her B.A. in just three years and was immediately hired as an instructor in the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston in the spring of 2005. After touring and playing with a whole host of artists, including Joe Lovano, Patti Austin, Michel Camilo, Charlie Haden, Regina Carter, Pat Metheny, Dave Samuels, and a host of others.
Britney Jean Spears was born in rural Louisiana (Kentwood) to Jamie Spears and Lynne Spears. As a child, Britney attended dance classes, and she was great at gymnastics, winning many competitions and the like. But, most of all, Britney loved to sing. At age 8, Britney tried out for "The All New Mickey Mouse Club" (1989), but was turned down due to her young age. This directed her to an off-Broadway show, "Ruthless", for a 2-year run as the title character. At age 11, she again tried for "The All New Mickey Mouse Club" (1989) and, this time, made it as a mouseketeer alongside many stars of today (Justin Timberlake and J.C. Chasez of *NSYNC and Ryan Gosling). Her big break, however, came when she was signed as a Jive Recording Artist in the late 90s. With the release of her debut album, "...Baby One More Time" in early 1999, Britney became an international success, selling 13 million copies of "Baby" and 9 million (as of July 2001) of her sophomore album, "Oops!...I Did It Again", released in May of 2000.
Singer. Born Joscelyn Eve Stoker on April 11, 1987, in Dover, Kent, England. A lover of soul music since a young girl, Stone is known for deep throaty vocals, soulful renditions and barefoot performances. In 2002, she left home for New York City to pursue her dream and landed a deal with S-Curve CEO Steve Greenberg.
A year later at age 16, Stone released her debut album, The Soul Sessions, a collection of covers she produced in just four days. The record reached the top 5 in the U.K. and the top 40 on the U.S. Billboard Chart. The singer followed her debut with 2004's Mind, Body & Soul, a body of original work that was an even bigger success than the first. In 2005, Stone won two Brit Awards and was nominated for three Grammys.
Stone launched her own record label, Stone'd Records earlier this year and is expected to release a greatest hits album in the near future.
Barbra Streisand is one of the most commercially and critically successful entertainers in modern entertainment history, with more than 71.5 million albums shipped in the United States and 140 million albums sold worldwide. She is the best-selling female artist on the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) Top Selling Artists list, the only female recording artist in the top ten, and the only artist outside of the rock and roll genre. Along with Frank Sinatra, Cher, and Shirley Jones, she shares the distinction of being awarded an acting Oscar and also recording a number-one single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Singer, songwriter, musician. Born Taylor Alison Swift on December 13, 1989, in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Swift spent her early years on her family's Christmas tree farm. Her grandmother had been a professional opera singer, and Swift soon followed in her footsteps. By the age of 10, Swift was singing at a variety of local events, including fairs and contests. She sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a Philadelphia 76ers game at the age of 11, and began writing her own songs and learning guitar at 12 years old.
To pursue her music career, Swift often visited Nashville, Tennessee, the country music capital. There she co-wrote songs, and tried to land a recording contract. Noting her dedication, Swift and her family moved to nearby Hendersonville, Tennessee, in an attempt to further Swift's career.
A stellar performance at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville helped Swift get a contract with Scott Borchetta's Big Machine Records. She released her first single, "Tim McGraw," in 2006, and the song became a Top 10 hit on the country charts. It also appeared on her self-titled debut album in October of that same year, selling more than 2.5 million copies. More popular singles soon followed, including "Our Song," a No. 1 country music hit. "Teardrops on My Guitar," "Picture to Burn," and "Should've Said No" were also successful tracks.
James Vernon Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist born in Lenox, Massachusetts, and raised in Carrboro, North Carolina.(2) He owns a house in the Berkshire County town of Washington, Massachusetts. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Taylor achieved his major breakthrough in 1970 with the #3 single "Fire and Rain" and had his first #1 hit the following year with "You've Got a Friend", a recording of Carole King's classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies. Following his 1977 album, JT, he has retained a large audience over the decades. His commercial achievements declined slightly until a big resurgence during the late 1990s and 2000s, when some of his best-selling and most-awarded albums (including Hourglass, October Road and Covers) were released.
Pop singer. Born Justin Randall Timberlake on January 31, 1981, in Memphis, Tennessee. Raised a Baptist, Timberlake grew up singing in the church choir. From 1993 to 1995, he performed with The Mickey Mouse Club along with popsters Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and JC Chasez. Afterward, Timberlake and Chasez, along with Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick, formed the all-male singing group 'N Sync. The boy band would go on to become one of the hottest pop groups of the 1990s, releasing No Strings Attached in 2000 and Celebrity in 2001.
In 2002, Timberlake decided to pursue a solo career, debuting with the hit song "Like I Love You." Later that year, he released his first solo album, Justified, which sold over seven million copies worldwide. He received two Grammy Awards in 2004 for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The wins came on the heels of a controversial Super Bowl performance with Janet Jackson in which Timberlake accidentally tore off a portion of Jackson's costume in what is now deemed the infamous "wardrobe malfunction".
Shania Twain was born Eileen Edwards, on August 28, 1965, in Ontario, Canada. She was raised in the small mining town of Timmins, Ontario, by her mother, Sharon, and stepfather, an Ojibway Indian named Gerald Twain. (She later changed her name from Eileen to "Shania"; an Ojibway word meaning "I'm on my way").
Twain was already singing and writing songs by age 10; as a teenager, she performed on Canadian television. In 1987, her mother and stepfather were tragically killed in a car accident, leaving Twain to care for her three younger siblings.
With the help of Lange, Twain released The Woman in Me in 1995, which sold 12 million copies, becoming the bestselling country album by a female artist in history. The album, which yielded the hit songs "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" "Any Man of Mine," and "(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!" earned Twain a Grammy Award for Best Country Album.
Carrie Marie Underwood (born March 10, 1983) is an American country singer-songwriter and actress who rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol, in 2005.
Underwood has since become a multi-platinum selling recording artist, a multiple Grammy Award winner, a member of the Grand Ole Opry, a Golden Globe Award nominee, a three-time Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Female Vocalist winner, a GMA Dove award winner, and a two time ACM Entertainer of the Year. She is the first-ever female artist to win back-to-back Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards for Entertainer of the Year (2009/10).
American jazz vocalist and pianist known for her rich voice, with an unusually wide range, and for the inventiveness and virtuosity of her improvisations.
Vaughan was the daughter of amateur musicians. She began studying piano and organ at age seven and sang in the church choir. After winning an amateur contest at Harlem's famed Apollo Theatre in 1942, she was hired as a singer and second pianist by the Earl Hines Orchestra. A year later she joined the singer Billy Eckstine's band, where she met Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Vaughan's singing style was influenced by their instruments-"I always wanted to imitate the horns." Gillespie, Parker, and Vaughan recorded "Lover Man" together in 1945.
A contralto with a range of three octaves, she came to be regarded as one of the greatest of all jazz singers. Among her best-known songs were "It's Magic," "Make Yourself Comfortable," "Broken-Hearted Melody," "Misty," and "Send in the Clowns." Vaughan died in 1990, the same year in which she was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame.
Hank Williams (September 17, 1923 - January 1, 1953), born Hiram King Williams, was an American singer-songwriter and musician regarded as one of the most important country music artists of all time. In the short period from 1947 until his death, at 29, on the first day of 1953, Williams recorded 35 singles (five of which were released posthumously) that would place in the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including eleven that ranked number one.
The eighth of ten siblings in the musical Winans family, CeCe Winans (born Priscilla) performed most often with her brother, BeBe, in a duo which recorded gospel material with R&B settings and proved to be the most commercially successful of the Winans groupings (which also includes her older brothers Marvin, Carvin, Ronald, and Michael in the Winans and her parents in Mom & Pop Winans). Born in Detroit, she worked with BeBe in a duo called the PTL Singers until 1987, when they released their self-titled debut album (with vocal contributions from nine members of the family). Four albums followed during the next seven years (two of which hit gold) plus 1991's platinum Different Lifestyles. The duo's success increased as they added more contemporary forms of production -- their two number one R&B singles, "Addictive Love" and "I'll Take You There," both treated spiritual love in fuzzy terms just as conducive to the physical. After 1994's Relationships, CeCe began recording her very first solo album. Released in 1995, Alone in His Presence found her working her way back to traditional gospel, singing standards like "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," "Blessed Assurance," and "I Surrender All." His Gift followed in 1998, and a year later Winans returned with Alabaster Box.
She was born Amy Jade Winehouse, on September 14, 1983, in Enfield, London, England to a Jewish family with Russian ancestry on her mother's side. Her father, Mitchell Winehouse, was a taxi driver; her mother, Janis Winehouse (nee Seaton), was a pharmacist. Her family shared her love of theater and music. Amy was brought up on jazz music; she played her brother's guitar and received her own guitar at age 13. Young Amy Winehouse was a rebellious girl. At age 14, she was expelled from Sylvia Young Theatre School in Marylebone, London. At that time she pierced her nose and tattooed her body. She briefly attended the BRIT School in Croydon, and began her professional career at 16, performing occasional club gigs and recording low cost demos. At age 19, she recorded her debut, Frank (2003), a jazz-tinged album that became a hit and earned her several award nominations. During the next several years, she survived a period of personal upheaval, a painful relationship, and has been struggling with substance abuse. Her 2006's album 'Back on Black' was an international hit, and 'Rehab' made No. 9 on the US pop charts.