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.
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I think that if you do the best you can in your life, you get your just reward. You sometimes give up a great deal to achieve a plane you're looking for. But if you find that it's important enough, then you do it. You have to decide. Even when you figure you've given up a great deal to get a small amount of something, the pain is only there for a short time. It really goes away. Whatever the quandary, it leaves you....
I believe in you and me. I'm like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life - in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don't believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice.
There are things about organized religion which I resent. Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in his name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion, and I'll show you a hundred retrogressions... I'm for decency-period. I'm for anything and everything that bodes love and consideration for my fellow man. But when lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday-count me out.
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I believe in you and me. I'm like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life -- in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don't believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice.
I get an audience personally involved in a song - because I'm involved myself. It's not something I do deliberately: I can't help myself. If the song is a lament at the loss of love, I get an ache in my gut. I feel the loss myself and I cry out the loneliness, the hurt and the pain that I feel.
I said to Mr. Pavarotti once ... a marvelous man and a great artist ... I said to him ... "Maestro, I'm having trouble closing out a note so that it's almost as thin as a butter knife ... finish it out quietly like that." I said, "I have trouble doing that. What do you think I should do?" He said, "Justa close up your mouth." That's all he said, and I fell on the floor. I thought he was gonna give me a dissertation.
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(While accepting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award) I've been thinking about why you have to get famous to get an award for helping other people...If your name is John Doe, and you work night and day doing things for your helpless neighbors, what you get for your effort is tired. So, Mr. and Mrs. Doe, and all of you who give of yourselves, to those who carry too big a burden to make it on their own, I want you to reach out and take your share of this...Because if I have earned it, so too have you.
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I've always had a theory that whenever guys and gals start swinging, they begin to lose interest in conquering the world. They just want a comfortable pad and stereo and wheels, and their thoughts turn to the good things of life - not to war. They loosen up, they live and they're more apt to let live.