86 Women in Jazz Quotes

86 Quotes to Celebrate Women in Jazz

To celebrate women in jazz I've brought together ideas and discussions about jazz and over 86 quotes by women who have inspired generations of musicians, artisans, designers, writers and people from every walk of life.

Here you'll find quotes by these amazing women about everything from creativity, music, drugs and lifestyle, freedom, family and faith and everything in between.

Make sure you spread the inspiring words of these jazz infused ladies and be part of celebrating amazing women.

The only thing better than singing is more singing.
- Ella Fitzgerald

How do you explain what it feels like to get on the stage and make poetry that you know sinks into the hearts and souls of people who are unable to express it?
- Nina Simone

It isn't where you came from, its where you're going that counts.
- Ella Fitzgerald

There's so much more you can do with the dynamics of songs when they're simple... I think it was what I needed in my life - there was a lot going on, a lot of layers.
- Sarah Blasko

I've been singing since I was 5 years old. Not in-the-church-thing kind of way. I always made up music. Since I was a little girl. Improvisation was with me from the beginning. It drove my parents crazy. I would sing all the time. To anything. Television show themes. I loved to imitate the sounds.
- Cassandra Wilson

Handmade bird brooches and necklaces by Creatively Belle

It's time to take a look at my failures and stop calling them successes. Now I can start working at something that can use me best.
- Nina Simone

My travels led me to where I am today. Sometimes these steps have felt painful, difficult, but led me to greater happiness and opportunities.
- Diana Ross

It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.
- Lena Horne

Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what's more than enough.
- Billie Holiday

There's a category for me. I like to be referred to as a good singer of good songs in good taste.
- Sarah Vaughan

Jazz really does try to include everything. It's always been popular music. But the wonderful thing about jazz is its willingness to take chances.
- Madeleine Peyroux

The most important thing to do as an artist is to get out of your comfort zone and work with different people: people who can't read a note of music, people who have incredible classical skills, blues and jazz musicians, pop artists, visual artists, dancers and actors. Learn from people who are creative in a different way to you and you'll keep evolving.
- Katie Noonan

There's a lot happening in many of us. I think you have to celebrate every part. It's what you are. You have to try to find all of those secret names.
- Cassandra Wilson

I set up this little office space with a piano in it and I thought that would be quite a novel way of writing the album, to make it like a job - a romanticised version of the 9 to 5. I think that was probably my favourite time. I made sure I walked there every day, which took me about an hour.
- Sarah Blasko

I think those walks to the studio were the most enjoyable times for me, because I could get lost in my head and think about what I wanted the album to sound like as I was writing. For the most part, it was great to have all that time alone writing the songs.
- Sarah Blasko

Girls talk to each other like men talk to each other. But girls have an eye for detail.
- Amy Winehouse

Don't be afraid to feel as angry or as loving as you can, because when you feel nothing, it's just death.
- Lena Horne

I hate straight singing. I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. That's all I know.
- Billie Holiday

There are notes between notes, you know.
- Sarah Vaughan

Slavery has never been abolished from America's way of thinking.
- Nina Simone

The worst thing about that kind of prejudice... is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds you self-doubt. You start thinking, perhaps I am not good enough.
- Nina Simone

There's only one free person in this society, and he is white and male.
- Hazel Scott

If you understand a person's origins, you can understand her. I've always had to take care of myself. I couldn't just be that sweet little girl who kept her mouth shut. Had I done that, I'd be long gone by now. In this business, an African-American woman has to protect herself because precious few will.
- Anita Baker

My mum's an opera singer: I grew up watching her get swept up in music and transform herself into characters. She taught me that music is a lifelong journey, and that with every day and every song and every gig you learn something new.
- Katie Noonan

I had spent many years pursuing excellence, because that is what classical music is all about... Now it was dedicated to freedom, and that was far more important.
- Nina Simone

I've always been a deep thinker. Since I was a kid I was delving into the very depths of why we existed, often driving my parents crazy with unanswerable questions.
- Missy Higgins

I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change...I'm changing the things I cannot accept.
- Angela Davis


We keep our chops up and inspire each other. That is the best way to keep it up, by playing with people.
- Ingrid Jensen

I'm picking and choosing in terms of the stress factor. If it's not fun, I'm not going to do it.
- Anita Baker

It's work. I recognise that it's work, and it can be hard work, so making it a commodity is not so hard to believe.
- Madeleine Peyroux

A military audience is kind of weird. Pretty much how you would imagine a troop of males that haven't seen a female in a long time and have been stuck in a base camp in the middle of nowhere for too long without any alcohol.
-Missy Higgins


In college I had a weekend gig at a restaurant, a solo thing that was the best practice I could have ever had. That's where I learned to coordinate my singing and my piano playing.
- Norah Jones

Just don't give up on 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

One day a whole damn song fell into place in my head.
- Billie Holiday

To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt, and that's not what I play. I play black classical music.
- Nina Simone

In a way, I think this album is stronger than the last one - in terms of not hiding behind anything. So in a way, I see this album as fiercer than the last. I just find it interesting hearing what people think. If that's people's interpretation, then that's valid and interesting. It's hard to try and neatly place a record like that.
- Sarah Blasko

It's wonderful to work with someone with mentor status.
- Madeleine Peyroux

It puts us in a passive place sometimes, but it can also put (women) in a powerful place.
- Sarah Vaughan

I am influenced by everything.
- Ingrid Jensen

I've always known I was gifted, which is not the easiest thing in the world for a person to know, because you're not responsible for your gift, only for what you do with it
- Hazel Scott

Long tresses down to the floor can be beautiful, if you have that, but learn to love what you have.
- Anita Baker

Retire? Not on your life. I have no plans to stop singing. What are you going to do when you love music? It's a terrible disease. You can't stop. Of course, I'd like to get off the road.
- Peggy Lee

Without a piano I don't know how to stand, don't know what to do with my hands.
- Norah Jones

Who ever walked behind anyone to freedom? If we can't go hand in hand, I don't want to go.
- Hazel Scott

When I sing, trouble can sit right on my shoulder and I don't even notice.
- Sarah Vaughan

I'm very conscious of developing my singing, technically and stylistically. I want it to become more individual, express more of me. That's my goal. These songs are steps along that way.
- Madeleine Peyroux

Music is a gift and a burden I've had since I can remember who I was.
- Nina Simone

It's funnier than I thought it would be. The process of making it is so laborious, as you're working on it over the course of a month, that you forget how funny it will be when all the bits and pieces are put together.
- Prudence Johnson

You can't just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream. You've got to get out there and make it happen for yourself.
- Diana Ross

I don't try to sound like anyone but me anymore. If something is out of my element, I try to avoid it.
- Norah Jones

Things would hurt me in a big way because I didn't seem to have a very thick layer of skin, but this also meant I had extreme empathy for other people. I think perhaps that's what makes my songs hit home for some people, because I've tried to see the world through their eyes and I recognise- even just for a second- that we all ultimately are struggling with the same things.
- Missy Higgins


At home I'm relaxed. I may be in the yard talking to neighbours, or riding my bike, or fishing, making up the bed-and things just come to me. I'll hum a melody, and if it feels real good, I'll play it on the piano and put it on tape, and then develop it later. The music speaks words to me.
- Anita Baker

It's great to have other people's help. Then the music gets heard. There's a lot more commercial support for that now.
- Madeleine Peyroux

I really, deeply believe that dreams do come true. Often, they might not come when you want them. They come in their own time.
- Diana Ross

Some so-called 'jazz purists' are critical of me using strings instead of just a trio, and I say to that, 'HA! Who cares?'
- Diana Krall

I don't think I can carry it, but I am absolutely thrilled to be receiving this award.
- Lena Horne

There's no excuse for the young people not knowing who the heroes and heroines are or were.
- Nina Simone

I just do the same stuff I always did. I have a bigger apartment - that's the main change.
- Norah Jones

The subway was really learning how to play in adverse circumstances. With the trains coming by and distractions like people trying to steal your stuff while you are playing, it was a very important experience and made me strong on many levels.
- Ingrid Jensen

Judy Garland was the singer I most wanted to sound like then, not to copy, but to get some of her soul and purity. A wonderful young voice.
- Sarah Vaughan

Instead of looking at the past, I put myself ahead twenty years and try to look at what I need to do now in order to get there then.
- Diana Ross

Jazz is not just music, it's a way of life, it's a way of being, a way of thinking. . . . the new inventive phrases we make up to describe things -- all that to me is jazz just as much as the music we play.
- Nina Simone

In this country, don't forget, a habit is no damn private hell. There's no solitary confinement outside of jail. A habit is hell for those you love. And in this country it's the worst kind of hell for those who love you.
- Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday really sang what she had to say in her own way. That's one of the things that was so impressive about her; she was a survivor, and had an absolutely brilliant, innovative concept of her own.
- Nnenna Freelon

If it wasn't for [pimps, prostitutes, hustlers, gangsters, and gamblers] there wouldn't be no jazz! They supported the club owners who bought the music. It wasn't the middle-class people who said "Let's go hear Charlie Parker tonight."
- Betty Carter

I say if it's going to be done, let's do it. Let's not put it in the hands of fate. Let's not put it in the hands of someone who doesn't know me. I know me best. Then take a breath and go ahead.
- Anita Baker

I don't like rap music at all. I don't think it's music. It's just a beat and rapping.
- Nina Simone

I guess, I ended up finding music to pour my curiosity into. It was my creative outlet and therapy at the same time.
- Missy Higgins

Seeing how those companies operate, it didn't amount to a massive vote of confidence in their artists. There was talk of me going to Columbia after that, but nothing happened. I got disillusioned, and I pulled back.
- Madeleine Peyroux

It's kind of a twisted cycle, but I think that there is less money in real music these days,
- Lalah Hathaway

I'm not really on a mission to tell anybody anything. I'd rather be figured out.
- Diana Krall

With the Supremes I made so much money so fast all I wanted to do was buy clothes and pretty things. Now I'm comfortable with money and it's comfortable with me.
- Diana Ross

I do a lot of inward thoughts and meditation, ... I listen to a lot of music. I'm not an extremely religious person. I am an extremely spiritual person. It's more of a feeling than something I can talk about.
- Lalah Hathaway

I know you're supposed to set goals for yourself. I see all that motivational stuff on television. "Think about the future, what's next!" But I'm all into the journey. It's fascinating to me. So if I make certain what I want moment to moment, I'm cool at the crossroads.
- Cassandra Wilson

Download your free How to Make Money from Content ebook

I'm sure any vocal teacher that listens to me would rather cut my throat than do anything - I do everything all wrong - but I think for me that's the best - because I don't think I have a voice so I think what I project would be style - if I learned to sing I'd lose my style.
- Julie London

I love playing to people and seeing them react.
- Madeleine Peyroux

You can do anything you want to do, if you know what to do
- Betty Carter

There are so many pockets of places around the country where I play at tiny little towns, and the audiences in general there are so much more appreciative than big city audiences.
- Ingrid Jensen

My dad always said to me that with fame comes great responsibility, which has always stuck with me, even though I think he stole that line from Spiderman.
- Missy Higgins

I would say that my peak was making my first million at the ripe age of 29, after the first album.
- Anita Baker

If I'm going to sing like someone else, then I don't need to sing at all.
- Billie Holiday

I listened to Billie Holiday a lot in order to learn to sing. She remains one of the extraordinary jazz singers. But my intent is to become my own voice, to be able to interpret these songs in my own way.
- Madeleine Peyroux

Everybody seems to think Madeleine sounds like Billie Holiday, ... I think that's OK, but it's really not all that important an observation. She sounds a little bit like Billie to me, but that's not anything to make a big deal about it.
- Marian McPartland

My dream is to do whatever I want without any interference from the record company.
- Sarah Vaughan

Just because I have my standards, they think I'm a bitch
- Diana Ross

My mother only called when she wanted things. She doesn't know me, so how could she have a feeling for me? Still, I see her each time I pass a mirror. The resemblance shocks me. Someday I'll go back to make a new stab at a relationship, but not yet. Happily, her approval is no longer necessary. No one's is. I'm no longer driven to prove I'm worthy. That war is over, even if there are still days when I have to do battle.
- Anita Baker

Share

Share

Read more...

Read more...

Increase Profits with This Little Known Marketing TechniqueIncrease Profits with This Little Known Marketing TechniqueSmart business women are making use of intelligent and effective marketing strategies and techniques to increase sales and keep costs down.

This insightful customer focused marketing technique is all about doing just that because the customer is at the centre of it. Find out what's involved in this simple method and increase your profits.
Finding a Balance in Life - Lessons from the Supermarket!Finding a Balance in Life - Lessons from the Supermarket!Struggling to fit everything in to daily life?

Share a light bulb moment with Belinda as she gets a real life lesson on how to fit everything that matters into life.

Quiet Your Inner Critic and Pursue Your DreamsQuiet Your Inner Critic and Pursue Your DreamsStop letting your persistent inner critic run your life. Boost your confidence with these top 5 confidence boosters and kick your inner critic out of the drivers seat.

Find out what you can do to gain more confidence and help yourself be more successful in life. Stop doubting yourself and allow yourself to stand out in the crowd!

The Secrets to Understanding MoneyThe Secrets to Understanding MoneyLooking for some handy hand online resources to help get your money sorted?

Let Amanda Cassar of Wealth Planning Partners share some great tips and tricks online to make the most of your money.

Quotes to Inspire on International Women's DayQuotes to Inspire on International Women's DayTo help celebrate International Women's Day we've brought together a great collection of inspirational quotes by women, about women (and there's a sprinkling of quotes from the men too).

Be inspired by these wise women sharing their knowledge, have a bit of a giggle with a few of them and count your blessings with quotes that get you thinking.

Rewarding GoalsRewarding GoalsOften we forget to set ourselves a reward for achieving our goal and we get caught up in getting stuck into achieving the next goal.

Yet it's been proved so many times that giving yourself a reward for reaching your goals is a great way to not only congratulate yourself but also to keep motivating yourself to keep going.

Search by Keyword

Search by Keyword

Follow SheInspires.com.au on facebook
Follow SheInspires.com.au on Twitter
Delicious
Copyright © She Inspires Life Bondi Junction, NSW
2009 - 2017