Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Eva Cassidy

I'm probably late to the game with this one, since most of her recordings date from the late 1990's, and her album skyrocketed to number 1 in England around 2000, but I have just discovered an amazing musician.

Eva Cassidy grew up just outside Washington DC in Bowie, MD. She struggled with being extremely shy, and didn't like to be in the spotlight. She sang as a background singer for other musicians, and occasionally played at Blues Alley in DC. She recorded demos that she sent to labels, but her talents were too wide ranging. Record labels had a hard time imagining how to sell an artist that excelled a jazz, folk, pop/rock, R&B, and gospel.

In 1996, after some success collaborating with Chuck Brown on "The Other Side" and releasing a live album from some gigs she did at Blues Alley, she moved to Annapolis, MD and took a job painting murals at elementary schools. The summer of 1996 she was experiencing hip pain that she assumed was from using the stepladder at work. X-rays revealed she had cancer throughout her body. A few short months later, at the age of 33, she died.

Eva had a beautiful, clear voice, and for being extremely shy and afraid of the spotlight, she poured herself and her passion into her performances. Just search YouTube for videos, watch them, and you'll see what an amazing talent she had.

Her fame and success has come posthumously. When a DJ in England played her song on the radio, her album became a smash hit, and more and more people have been discovering her music. Perhaps part of the attention her music has gotten is because of her tragic story, but I believe her music stands on its own, and I'm glad to have discovered it.