Jazz Musician and Singer-Songwriter Billie Holiday Quotes

Billie Holiday (1915-1959) billieholiday

Find the best collection of quotes by was an American jazz musician and singer-songwriter with a career spanning nearly thirty years. She nick names as Lady Day by her friend and music partner Lester Young.

billie holiday quotes and sayings

  • Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what’s more than enough.
  • If you copy, it means you’re working without any real feeling. No two people on earth are alike, and it’s got to be that way in music or it isn’t music.
  • The difficult I’ll do right now. The impossible will take a little while.
  • You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.
  • I don’t think I’m singing. I feel like I’m playing a horn…What comes out is what I feel.
  • You’ve got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body’s sermon on how to behave.
  • If nobody can learn from the past, then there’s no point in raking it up.
  • Sometimes it’s worse to win a fight than to lose.
  • The whole basis of my singing is feeling. Unless I feel something, I can’t sing.
  • I’m always making a comeback but nobody ever tells me where I’ve been.
  • Don’t threaten me with love, baby. Let’s just go walking in the rain.
  • I never hurt nobody but myself and that’s nobody’s business but my own.
  • They think they can make fuel from horse manure – now, I don’t know if your car will be able to get 30 miles to the gallon, but it’s sure gonna put a stop to siphoning.

billie holiday quotes

  • People don’t understand the kind of fight it takes to record what you want to record the way you want to record it.
  • Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen and I was three.
  • I can’t stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession. If you can, then it ain’t music, it’s close order drill, or exercise or yodeling or something, not music.
  • When you sing, always tell the truth.
  • Dope never helped anybody sing better or play music better or do anything better. All dope can do for you is kill you – and kill you the long, slow, hard way.
  • A kiss that is never tasted, is forever and ever wasted.
  • God has blessed you when he lets you believe in somebody.
  • If I’m going to sing like someone else, then I don’t need to sing at all.
  • Them that’s got shall get, Them that’s not shall lose. So the Bible says, And it still is news. Mama may have, Papa may have, But God bless the child that’s got his own.
  • The only reason they’re out there is to see me fall into the damn orchestra pit.
  • There’s no damn business like show business – you have to smile to keep from throwing up.
  • When Lester plays, he almost seems to be singing; one can almost hear the words.
  • God bless the child that’s got his own,
  • I joined Count Basie’s band to make a little money and to see the world. For two years I didn’t see anything but the inside of a Blue Goose bus, and I never got to send home a quarter.
  • One day a whole damn song fell into place in my head.
  • You can’t copy anybody and end with anything. If you copy, it means you’re working without any real feeling.
  • All dope can do for you is kill you… the long hard way. And it can kill the people you love right along with you.
  • I never had a chance to play with dolls like other kids. I started working when I was six years old.
  • I hate straight singing. I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. That’s all I know.

Billie Holiday (1915-1959) billieholiday

  • I never sing a song the same way twice.
  • If I don’t have friends, then I ain’t nothing.
  • Love is like a faucet, it turns off and on.
  • New Orleans is the only city in the world you go in to buy a pair of nylon stockings they want to know your head size.
  • And when you’re poor, you grow up fast.
  • Don’t be in such a hurry.
  • Singing songs like ‘The Man I Love’ or ‘Porgy’ is no more work than sitting down and eating Chinese roast duck, and I love roast duck.
  • I think I copied my style from Louis Armstrong. Because I used to like the big volume and the big sound that Bessie Smith got when she sang … So I liked the feeling that Louis got and I wanted the big volume that Bessie Smith got. But I found that it didn’t work with me, because I didn’t have a big voice. So anyway between the two of them I sorta got Billie Holiday.
  • I can’t stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession, let alone two years or ten years.
  • In this country kings or dukes don’t amount to nothing. The greatest man around then was Franklin D. Roosevelt, and he was the President; so I started calling Lester the President. It got shortened to Pres.
  • I can only sing songs my way. I don’t know any other way.
  • I’ve been told that nobody sings the word ‘hunger’ like I do.
  • The blues to me is like being very sad, very sick, going to church, being very happy … it’s sort of a mixed up thing. You just have to feel it.
  • I don’t think I ever sing the same way twice. The blues is sort of a mixed-up thing. You just have to feel it. Anything I do sing is part of my life.
  • Lust may be in the heart, though it be not seen by others; as guests may be in the house, though they look not out at the windows.
  • Lust may be in the heart, though it be not seen by others; as guests may be in the house, though they look not out at the windows.

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