Sunday, October 21, 2007

Eva Cassidy
Eva Marie Cassidy (February 2, 1963 in Washington, DCNovember 2, 1996 in Bowie, Maryland) was an American vocalist described by the British newspaper The Guardian as "one of the greatest voices of her generation." She had a diverse repertoire of jazz, blues, folk, gospel and pop. Cassidy remained virtually unknown outside of her native Washington, DC, when she died of melanoma in 1996. However, her posthumously released recordings have since sold in excess of four million copies, and in early 2001 the compilation album Songbird reached #1 on the UK album charts.

During the later part of Eva Cassidy's performing and recording career, she was accompanied by a core group of musicians:

Keith Grimes - guitar
Lenny Williams - keyboard
Chris Biondo - bass
Raice McLeod - drums Accompaniment

In 1998, a compilation of tracks from Cassidy's three released recordings was assembled into the CD Songbird. This CD lingered in obscurity for a few years until being given airplay on BBC Radio Two by presenter Terry Wogan following recommendation by his producer Paul Walters. In 2001 the album reached #1 in the UK after the BBC television show Top Of The Pops 2 aired a video of Over The Rainbow to massive public reaction. The Songbird CD also achieved significant chart success throughout Europe and has achieved gold status in the United States.
Since then, several CDs have been released: Time After Time (2000) and Imagine (2002) and "American Tune" (2003). In 2001 a book entitled Songbird was released in the UK on the life and work of Cassidy, based on interviews with close family and associates. The hardcover edition has since sold in excess of 100,000 copies. A U.S. edition (softcover, published by Gotham Books, a division of Penguin Group USA) was released in late 2003 and included additional chapters.
Sting, the songwriter for "Fields of Gold", was reportedly
Later in the year Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi skated to Eva's rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine."
Eva's performance of "Kathy's Song" can be heard in the feature film Maid in Manhattan which was released in 2002 as well. This version was used at the suggestion of the song's writer Paul Simon.
Another film soundtrack to feature Eva's singing was 2002's The Man from Elysian Fields starring Mick Jagger and Andy Garcia.
In the first season of Smallville at the end of the episode "Crush", Eva Cassidy's song "Time After Time" is featured in a moving funeral scene.
In 2003, Anglo/Georgian singer Katie Melua released her song "Faraway Voice", in memory of Cassidy. She has also performed Eva's arrangement of "Anniversary Song" in concert. On Christmas Eve 2006 BBC1 aired a programme of "impossible duets" in which she duetted with Eva on Over The Rainbow.
In 2003, American Tune became Eva's third consecutive #1 album in the UK. No other recording artist in popular music history has been able to match this posthumous success, including Elvis Presley or Jimi Hendrix.
Eva's song Songbird was featured in the feature film Love Actually which was released in the fall of 2003.
Irish singer Chris De Burgh has stated in concert that his song "Songbird" from his album The Road to Freedom was written in honor of Eva Cassidy.
In 2004, singer Mary Chapin Carpenter made poignant reference to Eva Cassidy in her song "My Heaven" on the album Between Here and Gone: "More memories than my heart can hold, when Eva's singing Fields of Gold."
Olympic Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes skated to "Over the Rainbow" during the "Smuckers Stars on Ice" tour, and World Champion Kimmie Meissner, a teenager from Maryland, also chose "Over the Rainbow" at the exhibition gala following the World Championships.
2006 Eva's voice was heard on another movie soundtrack when her "Over the Rainbow" opened the film Alpha Dog.
In season 5 (2006) of the TV show American Idol, the runner up, Katharine McPhee, sang a song chosen by Simon Cowell. He chose Eva Cassidy's 1996 unique rendition of "Over the Rainbow" for McPhee. Jackson was blown away, calling her "a hot one," and declaring that she had the best song of the season. Abdul was also impressed, saying that song was her "element." Cowell said that he was very happy for McPhee and, putting the fact that he chose the song aside, he thought it was the best performance of the competition to date. He also added that it was brilliant.
In (2006), on the The X Factor (TV series), Leona Lewis sang Eva's version of Over the Rainbow. Simon Cowell commented saying, "That was the single best performance I have ever witnessed".
In (2007), on the TV show America's Got Talent, Julienne Irwin sang Cassidy's rendition of "Over the Rainbow." Posthumous recognition and popularity
In an interview, her parents mention the possibility of a future film:
"Eva's parents said Kirsten Dunst or Emily Watson have been suggested as possible actresses who could play their daughter.
The Cassidys said they have shown their tapes to several producers, and hope for a documentary first, then a feature." [3]

Possibility of future film

"She could sing anything . . . and make it sound like it was the only music that mattered." -- Richard Harrington, The Washington Post, Nov. 17, 1996 [4]
"Eva Cassidy's is the most remarkable posthumous career trajectory in pop music history." -- Daily Telegraph Videography

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