November 02, 2021
The Singer died at 33 of cancer before the world got to hear her sing. Those who knew and worked with her look back on an unusual talent
‘One of the best singers ever’: remembering Eva Cassidy, 25 years after her death
On a late May day in 1996, the singer Eva Cassidy and her bandmate Chris Biondo drove to a remote factory in rural Virginia to collect copies of the recording that turned out to be the last she would ever make. “We picked up a total of about 1,100 cassettes and CDs,” Biondo recalled. “When we got in the car, Eva cracked open a box and started getting very worried. She felt she wasn’t going to be able to sell them all. I’ll never forget her comment: ‘When I’m dead and they find me, there’s going to be boxes of these in my basement,’ she said. Her expectations for the record could not have been more minimal.”
After all, Cassidy had been performing for nearly a decade by then in relative obscurity and, while she had a number of meetings with record company executives in that time, they never went beyond the talking stage. Worse, by the summer of 96, the 33-year-old was facing something dire. Over the course of the next few months, she would receive increasingly grim diagnoses of a cancer that had already begun to make quickening race through her body, robbing her of any chance of making a mark during her time on earth. Given that, who could have foreseen that Cassidy’s music would one day generate a sustained catalogue that would sell in the multi-millions, creating chart hits all over the world? “At the time, we just hoped to make enough money to buy a PA system,” Biondo said.
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