2. Billie Holiday

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She was born Eleanora Fagan in 1915 into an incredibly troubled life. Her mother came home one evening to discover a neighbor raping young Billie Holiday. The man was arrested and she was placed in protective custody until she was 12. It was during this time she discovered the music of Bessie Smith and began to love music. When she was 14, she and her mother moved to Harlem and worked as $5 prostitutes. What a childhood! While in Harlem, Billie began to hang out in jazz clubs and started to sing. She went on to become a jazz pioneer and has been noted to have "changed the art of American pop vocals forever."

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