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“You’ve got to have something to eat and a little love before you can hold still for any damn body’s sermon.” 

Sans any musical training, Holiday became the premiere jazz singer of the 1930s, acclaimed for the unadulterated power of her vocals. Producer John Hammond hailed her as “improvising jazz genius,” a perpetually truant teenage delinquent who turned out to be an entirely organic, once-in-a-generation talent. Sometime stints in prison for narcotics and Holiday’s unapologetic defiance of institutional racism did not dampen her popularity, and she remained one of the most famous musicians in the world.