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One quote that seams to sum up this legend is “Are not there little chapters in everyone’s life that seam to be nothing and yet affect the rest of history.” Eva Cassidy was a young woman that had a great passion for the things she loved, and her voice will affect the rest of music history forever. Eva was born on the 2nd of February 1963 in Washington D.C. Being born into very artistic and music family it was no surprise when Eva showed an interest in the arts from a very early age.
Painting at the age of two, everyone around was amazed with her creativity. Eva’s father was a sculptor and encouraged Eva with her art. Also being very musical, when Eva was nine years old he got the family to form a 4 piece ensemble, Eva’s father on bass and cello, her brother on the violin, her mother and of course Eva herself singing. In their teens Eva and her brother got together again playing in a pop group called “Stone Henge.”
From these very early years in her life it was obvious that Eva was very talented. But this was not a woman full of confidence wanting to get to high places; this was a lady painfully shy with no ambitions or future goals in life. This was a lady with a passion for beautiful things and only wanted to sing nice songs and make good music. It is this unassuming lady with no hopes of stardom that touches mEva didn’t really want to pursue a career in music and went to university to study art. During this period she produced wonderful paintings inspired by some of the impressionist painters, such as Monï¿½t and Van Gough. Eva would get very frustrated with people that didn’t appreciate these artists. Eva then became a plant propagator, playing sessions on the sideline.
Playing as a backup singer in local pubs and bars, Eva was discovered by Chris Biondo, who naturally fell in love with Eva’s sweet, heart filled sound. Talking her round, Eva reluctantly made her demo tape called “Natural Woman” in order to get more work as a backup singer. During 1990 Eva was pleased to receive a lot more session work through her demo tape. At one of these sessions, Chuck Brown saw Eva and suddenly she’d been talked into doing a commercial recording with him in 1992 called “The Other Side.” Chuck and Eva played together in a lot of sessions and he describes those moments as the best in his career.
During this period Eva sadly suffered from melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Eva was very week, but being so determined, she played her last concert with Chuck Brown in Blues Alley, where she had often performed with him. Fighting against this awful disease, one day in bed Eva said to her mother “All I want to do when I get well is sing and travel the world with my music.” Sadly Eva never did get better, recovering from melanoma once; it came back and killed her on the 2nd of November 1996 at the tragic age of 33. Eva left behind few possessions and few recording of her beautiful, pure voice but what she did leave behind were lots of grieving loved ones and now she leaves behind a huge fan base.
A month after the death of Eva, a tribute concert took place in Greenbelt Park, Maryland. Eva’s brother played the violin and her friends sang… Canu Rhywle del i ganu Rwy’n dy glywed yn y glaw Awen di-ben-draw Sibrwd yn yr yd Canu o hyd Singing – somewhere still singing. I can hear you in the rain A never ending inspiration A whisper in the corn – still singing Five years later, half way across the world in England, DJ Terry Wogan played Eva’s cover of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” referring to her as the “late but mighty Eva Cassidy.” Shortly after this publicity there was a huge demand from the public to hear more. Eva had a pure voice. Full of warmth, full of hope and most of all full of love. Eva once said to a friend “I have the easiest job in the world. All I have to do is sing and play the guitar”
To all of the songs that she covered, Eva somehow managed to bring them to a whole other dimension. Eva’s first official cd was released after her death, “songbird.” It quickly reached 1 in the UK album charts. More cds can be found, such as “Eva by Heart” and “The Other Side” with have all entered at high positions on many online shops such as amazon.com. 5% of the profit of each cd is now being donated to cancer research. Eva’s cover of “Fields of Gold” by Sting is now appearing in a cancer research advert on the television. It brings a tear to anyone’s eye.
Maybe it’s the sadness of Eva’s story that touches us; maybe it’s her wonderful talent, or maybe a combination of both. It is very sad that Eva missed her fame and her fortune. But in some ways it is good that it is happening now. Would this shy, quiet lady vulnerable to criticism have really wanted the spotlight shone on her? Would she just have cowered away? We will never know, but what we do know is that this was a lady with a gift that was luckily caught before it was too late. “Now we are left with her music – and it lives where is always belonged…. at the very top.” Nikki Lee, a close friend of Eva’s. any hearts today with the wonderful gift of her voice.