We all know who’s making waves in the music scene at the moment, but how about giving some of the most influential artists of all time a mention too, after all, if it wasn’t for them, who knows what the music industry would be like today?

This month we honour the soulful singer Eva Cassidy, who tragically died at the tender age of 33; and in a cruel twist of fate only really achieved real musical success after her death.

Early Life

Born in February 1963 Eva Marie Cassidy was best known for her interpretations of Jazz, Blues, Folk, Gospel, Country and Pop classics, it seems that anything she turned her hand to she overcame with ease.

Eva Marie Cassidy was the third of four children born to Hugh and Barbara Cassidy, it was clear music was in her blood and from an early age Eva had a keen interest in music.

When she was nine, her father taught her to play the guitar, and she began to play and sing at family gatherings, by the time she was 11 Eva began her professional career by singing and playing guitar in a Washington area band called Easy Street who adopted lots of different styles- something Eva did with ease - and soon they were performing at weddings, corporate parties, and pubs.

While a student at Bowie High School, she sang with a local band called Stonehenge and in 1986 the guitarist and high school friend David Lourim to lend her voice to his music project; Method Actor.

Through doing this she ended up at Black Pond Studios, where she met bassist and recording engineer Chris Biondo who helped her find work as a session musician and later introduced her to Al Dale, who would become her manager.

Her first album, The Other Side was a set of duets with Chuck Brown and was released in 1992. This was followed up by a live solo album entitles Live At The Blues Alley, however, despite these two albums; she was virtually unknown outside her native Washington DC when she died of melanoma in 1996.


In 1993, Eva had a malignant mole removed from her back but three years later, during a promotional event for the Live at Blues Alley album in July 1996, Cassidy noticed an ache in her hips, which she attributed to stiffness from painting whilst perched atop a stepladder.

The pain was still there a few weeks later so she went to see her doctor, who after performing numerous X-Rays revealed that the melanoma had spread to her lungs and bones and gave her just three to five months to live.

Determined not to go down without a fight, Eva had aggressive treatment but her health deteriorated rapidly and she died at her family home on November 2 1996.

Posthumous recognition

Four years later Eva was thrust upon Britain when BBC Radio 2 started playing her versions of Fields Of Gold and Over The Rainbow, which are probably the two songs she is best known for today.

Following the overwhelming response, a camcorder recording of "Over the Rainbow" which was filmed at the Blues Alley was shown on Top Of The Pops 2 and paved the way for her compilation album Songbird which climbed to the top of the UK charts almost three years after its original release.

The success she gained in the UK led to her receiving even more recognition on a global scale and her recordings have now totalled a staggering six million recorded sales from Australia to Germany, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and many more.

New Album

A new album featuring previously unreleased material is scheduled for release this month. The album, entitled Somewhere will contain 12 new tracks covering many musical genres and includes songs written by Eva Cassidy herself. So it's not over just yet, thank goodness - Sleep Well Eva.

FemaleFirst - Ruth Harrison

Relive the legenday Blues Alley performance of Over The Rainbow below: