Ella Fitzgerald Quotes
Wise Words from "Mama Jazz"

Here's a great collection of Ella Fitzgerald quotes, not just from the lady herself, but also wise words and wonderful praise from many of the people who worked with her.

"Forgive me if I don't have the words. Maybe I can sing it and you'll understand." ~Ella Fitzgerald

One of the greatest and longest careers of any singer—jazz or otherwise—began in 1934 when Ella Fitzgerald was just 17 years old. Her name was picked to compete in "Amateur Night" at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. She'd been planning to dance, but after watching a dynamic dance performance by a group ahead of her on the bill, she she knew she couldn't hope to top it. So she decided to sing instead. And sing she did. Her one song led to cries of "Encore," so she did another. She never looked back

"Once up there, I felt the acceptance and love from my audience," she said. "I knew I wanted to sing before people the rest of my life."

Learn more about the performer dubbed "The First Lady of Song" with these Ella Fitzgerald Quotes.


The only thing better than singing is more singing.


It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts.


I stole everything I ever heard, but mostly I stole from the horns.


Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.



Ella Fitzgerald - Quote

A lot of singers think all they have to do is exercise their tonsils to get ahead. They refuse to look for new ideas and new outlets, so they fall by the wayside.


Some kids in Italy call me "Mama Jazz;" I thought that was so cute. As long as they don't call me "Grandma Jazz."


I know I'm no glamour girl, and it's not easy for me to get up in front of a crowd of people. It used to bother me a lot, but now I've got it figured out that God gave me this talent to use, so I just stand there and sing.


Once, when we were playing at the Apollo, Holiday was working a block away at the Harlem Opera House. Some of us went over between shows to catch her, and afterwards we went backstage. I did something then, and I still don't know if it was the right thing to do—I asked her for her autograph.


There are many Ella Fitzgerald quotes not form the lady herself but from the larger world as well. Ella touched many lives and worked with all the big names for many decades. And she affected them all. Here's what some of her contemporary musicians had to say about her.

Ella is simply the greatest singer of them all.
~Pearl Bailey


There is no voice like that lady. She has it all. She's complete.
~Louie Bellson


She is amazingly creative, bringing so much more to a song than just a singer. She is a first-class musician and the most gracious person in the world.
~Marty Paich


Whatever she does to my songs, she always makes them sound better.
~Richard Rodgers


Ella's amazing! My daughter says that every time she makes a mistake, it becomes a hit record.
~Lucille Ball


If you want to learn how to sing, listen to Ella Fitzgerald.
~Vincente Minelli


Ella's musicianship is just incredible. Playing with her is like playing with a full orchestra.
~Ed Thigpen


She was the best. She was the best there ever was. Amongst all of us who sing, she was the best.
~Johnny Mathis


The best way to start any musical evening is with this girl. It don't get better than this.
~Frank Sinatra


Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest of them all.
~Bing Crosby

Ella Fitzgerald Quote

She has been one of my all-time favorite singers for many years and still is—she's terrific.
~Perry Como


It seems like no one had a bad word to say about her. Here are a few more remarks from some of the greats in quotations about Ella Fitzgerald.


Ella's voice becomes the orchestra's richest and most versatile sound.
~Arthur Fiedler


The one radio voice that I listened to above others belonged to Ella Fitzgerald. There was a quality to her voice that fascinated me, and I'd sing along with her, trying to catch the subtle ways she shaded her voice, the casual yet clean way she sang the words.
~Doris Day


Every other singer, male or female, if they're lucky, they listen to Ella.
~Pat Boone


I call her the High Priestess of Song.
~Mel Torme


Finally, my very favorite of these Ella Fitzgerald quotes. It seems to describe her so perfectly...

"Music comes out of her. When she walks down the street, she leaves notes." ~Jimmy Rowles

Be sure to check out the other jazz quotations from and about Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis as well as many other Jazz Quotes. Check the links in the box at the top right of this page.


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Also see these pages
of quotations by and
about other jazz legends.

Charlie Parker Quotes
Duke Ellington Quotes
John Coltrane Quotes
Louis Armstrong Quotes
Miles Davis Quotes

Also see these pages
of funny and inspirational
music quotations

Jazz Quotes
Quotes About Music
Inspirational Music Quotes
Funny Music Quotes
Opera Quotes
Quotes About Richard Wagner
Rock and Roll Quotes