I have been listening to Ella Fitzgerald for so long I don't even remember when I first heard her sing. Though I do remember hearing 'At Last' several times on Northern Exposure, a quirky television show set in Alaska that I loved. She grew up in Yonkers, New York, and was a very good student throughout her youth, beginning her singing career in church. Unfortunately after her mom passed away when she was only fifteen years old, she quickly moved to Harlem to be with her aunt amidst rumours of abuse by her step-father and this led to struggles in school, legal trouble and eventually life in an orphanage and homelessness. To overcome her challenges, she began singing in the street and performing at the age of seventeen. Her music saved her. I love that she was inspired by the music of Louis Armstrong and then, after a difficult period in her life, became well-known for performing with him regularly and that she overcame so many obstacles without allowing them to make her bitter. Her smile and laughter are still two of my favorite things about her.