‘Eva Cassidy was fearless but she didn’t want to play the game’

Twenty-seven years ago, singer Eva Cassidy (2 February 1963 – 2 November 1996) died. She only became famous after her death, but if it had been up to Mick Fleetwood (1947) that would have happened much earlier. In the 1990s, the Fleetwood Mac drummer owned music club Fleetwood’s in Alexandria, near Washington DC. Mick organised sessions where he met local musicians and Eva Cassidy was one of them. Mick’s driving force is pure passion. He doesn’t have a judgement call on technique or anything. He needs to be touched and he looks for sweetness and drama. That’s how he found Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham and that’s also how he discovered Eva Cassidy: ‘Her voice was her ultimate tool of magic and she was like a perfect band member. Emotionally she reminded me of the time I played with Peter Green.’



Mick Fleetwood spoke to Eva and he realised she was as pure as snow: ‘Crystals. Just totally. But sort of stubborn. She was trying to get a record deal. Trying to be noticed. She was looking for someone who understood her. Except that there was no one out there who understood her. I said: “Why don’t you go and play the game?” So off she went to get together with record company Blue Note in New York. They loved her music apparently. And they saw her potential. But it was their potential it wasn’t her vision. So she came back from one of these trips. And I remember saying: “How did it go?” And she answered: “Well, nothing happened. I basically all but walked out and said: ‘I’m not going to do that, I’m not interested.’” They wanted to take the essence of Eva and make it more accessible, but to her it was: What about me? What about it? The essence of me?’

Mick and Songbird

Mick never brought it up again. Because he realised it was off limits: ‘The very thing that they wanted to change became the uniqueness of her forever success and regard from all corners of the earth. Her persona; that was all about her music. She was a gorgeous girl that had no interest in fluffing up. She just wanted to sing. You don’t have to be brilliant. But she was brilliant and she had that childlike, lovely thing that was just … the magic! I call that: it. So I look at her as an interpreter of songs and she had so much power and conviction about herself, that she could do that. I mean some of the songs that she sang were so public domain; Why do you want to do that song? It has been done by everyone! “Well, because it’s a great song. And I can sing it.” She was fearless. She wouldn’t play the game. She didn’t choose a song to satisfy someone else; if it didn’t feel right, she wouldn’t do it. In terms of Eva and how she is perceived, received and loved through her music: I am certainly not surprised, but I know when these moments were really really real. That was when I realised: something is happening now!’

Eva Cassidy

Eva Cassidy

5 responses to “‘Eva Cassidy was fearless but she didn’t want to play the game’”

  1. Sanya Dowling says:

    She is my favorite ❤️❤️

  2. Dave Gartner says:

    I have a book or video idea for Mick Fleetwood…Call it “The It Factor,” Mick’s 60+ years in the music business and his experiences with other musical artists who possessed “It.” I’m sure he has plenty of stories. He could devote a chapter to each Artist.

  3. Doug OBrien says:

    Eva is my #1. I have introduced her to many friends and family. Eva ‘s “somewhere over the rainbow” is just perfect!

  4. Mark Harbold says:

    Have owned several of her CD’s for years. Very talented, both playing and singing.

  5. Terry Cieri says:

    A good friend of mine shared her music with me. I am a fan forever and even more in love with this amazing talent after reading this back story.

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