Eleanora Fagan, professionally known as Billie Holiday, was an African American jazz singer with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills.

She won four Grammy Awards — all of them posthumously — for Best Historical Album. She was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1973.

It is impossible to understate the impact that she had on musicians for decades after her death. Frank Sinatra said, 

With few exceptions, every major pop singer in the US during her generation has been touched in some way by her genius. It is Billie Holiday who was, and still remains, the greatest single musical influence on me. Lady Day is unquestionably the most important influence on American popular singing in the last twenty years.[1]

In his 2015 study, Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth, John Szwed argued that her autobiography Lady Sings the Blues (1956) is a generally accurate account of her life, but that co-writer Dufty was forced to water down or suppress material by the threat of legal action. According to the reviewer Richard Brody, 

Szwed traces the stories of two important relationships that are missing from the book — with Charles Laughton, in the 1930s, and with Tallulah Bankhead, in the late 1940s — and of one relationship that's sharply diminished in the book, her affair with Orson Welles around the time of Citizen Kane.[2]

In 2021, Hulu released The United States Vs. Billie Holiday that examined a chapter of Holiday’s personal and professional life when she dared to sing the anti-lynching anthem “Strange Fruit” throughout the Jim Crow era.