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The Sound of Ella
René used to mimic jazz great Ella Fitzgerald. Listen as she demonstrates, and compare Ella's renditions of "Blue Skies" and "Mr. Paganini."
Finding Her Own Voice
René describes why she quit doing imitations, and went down a different path.

An Audience of Two

When she was a young mom, René Marie carried her sons around the house in a special baby backpack. As she went from room to room, doing housework, she sang to them. She sang Sesame Street tunes, and songs by singers she liked ... Cleo Laine, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan.

As she sang, she visualized changes in her vocal chords. And she found she could imitate Sarah Vaughan. Her imitation of Vaughan singing "Ain't Got Nothin' but the Blues" captures the spirit of the original.

Copyright 2002 NPR