The Eva Cassidy story is relatively well known, I think. But for anyone not familiar with it, I shall summarise briefly.
She was an American vocalist and guitarist with a beautiful voice, singing a range of jazz, country, folk, blues and pop classics in the 1990s. She was also virtually unknown outside her local area – Washington DC – when she died of skin cancer in 1996 at the age of 33. Four years later, Terry Wogan, one of the UK’s most popular BBC broadcaster’s started playing her recording of Over The Rainbow. A camcorder recording of her singing this song was broadcast on one of the UK’s top music TV nostalgia shows – Top of the Pops 2. As a result of the ensuing demand for her work, a compilation album, Songbird, was then released, which became a major success and meant that Eva Cassidy had posthumously become a household name.
It’s a bittersweet story isn’t it. The introduction on the Eva Cassidy Website puts it rather nicely – “Her music was little-known during her 33 years of life, but today her soul-stirring voice is reaching people all over the world.”
It is certainly the case that Eva had a beautiful voice. When you listen to the tracks on Songbird, every one is amazing. Each one is also so professional and accomplished. When she was recording them, she could not have known they would eventually reach millions of people, but they are of a standard to be worthy of such coverage.
An important point is that she was ‘doing her thing’ and enjoying it. Another quote from her website:
“I have the easiest job in the world. All I have to do is sing and play the guitar.”
Eva Cassidy, when asked if her hip injury would
force her to cancel some singing engagements
Isn’t this great? One of my favourite points of reference for life comes from a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894):
Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.
It seems to be that at least Eva Cassidy managed to avoid Holmes’ trap. How about you – are you letting your ‘music’ out, whatever it may be? Something to think about, I’d say.