More than 50 years after the death of Billie Holiday, singers and musicians continue to pay tribute to the singer known the world over as “Lady Day.” The latest Holiday celebration comes from jazz vocalist Lynne Fiddmont on her new album, “Lady.”
In the long line of lady jazz singers there was no one quite like Billie Holiday. Just ask vocalist Lynne Fiddmont, who says, “Most singers have tried to imitate her, but few have even come close.”
Lynne interprets the Billie Holiday catalog with an up-tempo mix of jazz, pop, and soul. She explains that choosing the songs for her tribute album was simply a process of elimination.
“I listened to all the songs that I had of hers," she said. "I collected them, collected her CDs, went through 30 seconds of each song and said, ‘Ok.’ I didn’t know ‘I Cover The Waterfront’ but I fell in love with it in the first 30 seconds. So, if I fell in love with it in the first 30 seconds I put it on the list.”
Lynne Fiddmont caught the acting bug while growing up in St. Louis, Missouri. She performed in local musicals before heading off to Boston University where she earned a degree in Public Relations. After a short stint at the Berklee College of Music, Lynne moved to Los Angeles to work alongside some of the best in the business. She sang background with everyone from Bill Withers and Phil Collins to Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder, as well as appearances on the Grammy Awards, MTV Music Awards, American Idol, and even at The White House.
"As a background singer, the trick is to learn fast and execute well,” she said.
Lynne was quick to learn the music of Billie Holiday and she executes it extremely well on “Lady.” She says Holiday’s commanding stage presence was one of her greatest gifts.
“That is to me one of the genius aspects of her," she said. "The other aspect of her genius for me is her phrasing. She didn’t think she had to sing it like everyone else.”
On “Lady,” Lynne is joined by pianist Billy Childs, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Billy Kilson on one of Billie Holiday’s most memorable songs, “Lover Man.”