Crowned as the Queen Of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald was known for her impeccable vocal range and captivating audiences, internationally. Born in Newport News, Virginia, Ella had an unstable childhood due to her parents’ separation and her mother’s untimely death when she was 15 years old. After moving in and out of orphanages and her aunt’s house, Ella eventually became homeless. It was then, in the mid-1930s, Ella began fuel her desire to become a musician by using money earned from sidewalk performances and the Mafia to pay for piano lessons. Eventually, Ella landed several opportunities to perform at New York City theatres such as the Harlem Opera House and the iconic Apollo Theatre, making her a household name. After being discovered and later signed by jazz drummer Chick Webb, Ella’s career fully launched giving her the opportunity to become the most fashion forward jazz singer of the 20th century.
This photo of Ella shows the late singer showing off her #laidedges and stunning lashes. Known for her shy spirit, music historian John Chilton told the Telegraph that Ella wasn’t always as glamorous as she looked. It was until she began to earn more money from performances her glow up became more vivid in the mid-1930s thanks to her manager’s wife. Here, Ella is seen wearing her hair in pinned curl-crown with a side swoop.
Ella came into her own after her Billboard chart-topping song “A Tisket, A-Tasket” became a 19-week hit in 1938. This amazing feat earned Ella the title of the United State’s number one jazz stylist and first lady of song. Due the incredible publicity she was receiving, Ella upgraded her pinned curl-crown with an elegant French roll and faux-hawk ringlets.
Before the millennial generation (and their parents) was even thought of, Ella Fitzgerald was about that #bunlife. When her manager (Chick Webb) passed in 1939, Ella made a girl boss move and began to manage his orchestra. However it eventually disbanded when the musicians began requesting more money. This led Ella the opportunity to begin her solo career. Seen here, Ella dons two sleek pigtail buns after a solo performance.
As her popularity grew as a solo artist, accolades found their way to Ella. She received an honorary doctorate of music from Yale University, won 13 Grammy awards, the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award and NAACP’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also invited to perform at the White House three times. In the midst of this, Ella still remained naturally beautiful especially with this regal pin curl and bun up-do.
Ella could be seen flaunting a short cut with wave curls while still making all of us envious of her luscious lashes as she began to age. And of course, she still smiled with her famous smirk making us wonder what tea she had on the jazz legends she worked with.