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Lady Day: The music and sad life of Billie Holiday

I have been listening a bit recently to Billie Holiday and am generally enamored of her voice. So, I read some more about her life if only to see where all that passion came from. I had always known that she had died from drug abuse and alcoholism, but it was a fairly horrific life all the way through. If you would like to learn more, you can find some background here.

“Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what’s more than enough.”-Billie Holiday

And I think she knew what was more than enough. However, with an artist I try not to focus on their lives but rather their art. And Billie Holiday’s art was otherworldly.


The above is Billie singing her signature tune, I Love You Porgy. Even in this recording, her voice is much more fragile than it had been before the drug abuse had taken its toll.

Compare that to the below, an earlier Billie singing No Regrets.

The differences in her voice are there. But so is the passion; it’s just the technique that is in question a bit.

I will leave you with my single favorite track from Billie Holiday. All of Me is always on my iPod and I hope it will always be on yours. Download and enjoy.

Billie Holiday-All Of Me

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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