All jazz music lovers admire Peggy Lee, including me. Saying I am the biggest fan of the prolific singer and songwriter would be an understatement. Norma Deloris Egstorm’s contributions to the specific music genre are countless.
Personally, I love learning about the lives of my favorite jazz musicians, and Peggy Lee is one of them. After creating a large fan base during her career’s peak, the outstanding jazz musician continues to influence the new generation of jazz singers and music lovers.
Continue reading this piece to learn about the life and legacy of Peggy Lee, the pioneering actress, and jazz singer.
Peggy Lee's Life
Peggy Lee was a versatile worldwide artist. She was a top-tier performer and recording artist in addition to being a songwriter, bandleader, producer, voiceover artist, arranger, Academy Award nominee, and lyricist.
The singer’s contribution to getting cinema music composers a better pay deal from studios is another aspect of her legacy. Later, she became a supporter of musicians’ rights. She pioneered in many different ways.
Changing Her Name
Peggy Lee did not have the best of beginnings in life, despite the fact that she rose to fame for her distinctive singing style. When she was four years old, her mother passed away, and she was raised by an abusive stepmother. Nevertheless, despite having a difficult upbringing, her love for music and natural gift for singing eventually gave her a ticket to a better life.
Peggy Lee began singing in a local band while still a high school student. This led to appearances on a sponsored radio program and eventually an audition at one of North Dakota’s largest radio stations, WDAY, in Fargo, operated by Ken Kennedy.
Kennedy advised the 17-year-old aspiring singer to change her name. “Norma Egstrom sounds strange. You resemble Peggy Lynn No, Peggy Lee,” the singer proclaimed in her autobiography, Miss Peggy Lee Published in 1989.
Her Natural Technique
At this stage of her career, Peggy had not developed the deep, seductive vocal style that would later characterize her solo work. She started her career with an incredible natural voice style. Peggy matched the timbre and caliber of many other singers who had higher-pitched, canary-like vocals during her time with Benny Goodman’s big band.
In 1943, after leaving Goodman, Peggy joined Capitol Records. Big bands were generally eliminated towards the close of World War II for economic reasons, aiding Peggy’s ascent to fame. She began recording with smaller groups, which allowed her to develop a more expressive singing style that facilitated storytelling and suggested intimacy.
Peggy Lee’s Legacy
Although Peggy passed away in 2002 at 81, her timeless music has remained popular 18 years after her death. She is relevant because her phrasing, timing, pitch accuracy, elegance, performance preparation, and expressiveness are unrivaled. No matter how long she has been gone, we can all benefit from what she taught us.
Peggy Lee contributed to the jazz music industry in significant ways. If you love jazz music and want the genre to keep flourishing, support jazz and independent musicians like me! Listen to my jazz songs here: www.maggysimonsings.com/music.