Sarah Lois Vaughan was born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 27, 1924. When she was young she played the piano and organ, she also sang at Mount Zion Baptist Church. She joined a talent contest in 1942 at the Harlem’s Apollo Theater, and won with her version of “Body and Soul”. She caught the attention of vocalist, Billy Eckstine, who persuaded Earl Hines to hire Vaughan to sing with his orchestra.
Eventually leaving Hines two years later she joined Eckstines band which included Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, Charlie Parker on the Saxophone. Gillespie and Parker introduced the group to Bebop which at the time was a new form of Jazz. This inspired Vaughan to bring bebop into her singing. This can be heard in the 1940s recording of “Love Man”. She was a contralto with heavy vibrato who took pride in displaying the distinctive instrumental qualities. Only working with them for a year she worked with John Kirby before becoming a solo artist. In the 1940s she was known for her songs “If You Could See Me Now” and “It’s Magic”. The next decade Vaughan produced more pop music when she joined Mercury Records. However, she also recorded jazz numbers on a subsidiary label, EmArcy.
Vaughan’s career spanned nearly 50 years influencing many people.