What is Billie Holiday's nickname?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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First of all, you should know that you could even say that Billie Holiday is this singer’s nickname.  It is not her birth name, as she was named Eleanora Fagan when she was born.  However, she was not known by that name as a professional singer. Instead, she used the name Billie Holiday, with Holiday having been her father’s last name.  Since most people would call Billie Holiday her professional name, the most likely answer to your question is that her nickname was “Lady Day.”

The nickname Lady Day was given to Holiday by saxophonist Lester Young.  Young knew her from her youth and was a frequent accompanist of hers.  The “Day” part of the nickname came from her professional last name.  The “Lady” part was meant to portray her class and elegance.  Many of the albums that Holiday released were given names that incorporated this nickname.  These included such albums as “Lady Sings the Blues” and “Lady in Satin.” 

The most likely answer to your question, then, is that Billie Holiday’s nickname was “Lady Day.”

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