— Frank Sinatra
Context: In terms of my singing I have sometimes been asked how it all began, and it’s usually been a little hard for me to set the story down in any continuous narrative. From the days of my childhood I’ve been listening to sounds and singers, both colored and white, and absorbing a little bit here and a little bit there. Countless musicians of talent have helped. But it is Billie Holiday, whom I first heard in 52nd Street clubs in the early 1930s, who was and still remains the single greatest musical influence on me. It has been a warm and wonderful influence and I am very proud to acknowledge it. Lady Day is unquestionably the most important influence on American popular singing in the last 20 years. With a few exceptions, every major pop singer in the U. S., during her generation has been touched in some way by her genius.
In "The Way I Look at Race" https://sinatrafamily.com/forum/showthread.php/46953-Frank-Sinatra-on-Racism by Sinatra (as told to Allan Morrison), in Ebony (July 1958)