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Eva Cassidy: Extraordinary Singer Who's Gone Over the Rainbow

Updated on October 4, 2017
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green discusses musical talent and explores different musical styles ranging from classical to rock.

Eva Cassidy--in Love With the Music and Not the Fame


A Shy Artist Gives the World the Gift of Her Music

(Feb. 2, 1963-Nov. 2, 1996)

Eva Cassidy has been said to be one of this generation's most talented individuals. She may have left this world but her music has left an indelible imprint and still lives on, in the hearts and minds of fans world over.

Who of us doesn't still hear: " And I love you, I love you, I love you, like never before." from the popular Songbird.

Eva came from a musical family. Her father was a bass player and her brother, Danny, a fiddle player. Eva grew up listening to music and discovered her love of music early on. Taught by her father how to play guitar, she became serious about her voice and her guitar at the tender age of nine. She had plenty of practice growing up, as she played with her siblings as part of a family music group.

In her teens, she continued her musical explorations, singing with other bands and eventually getting into a studio and recording some of her songs. Fortunately, her live performances and some studio sessions were also recorded and were later released and made available to the public.

Although initially shy about performing, Eva eventually embraced and interacted with her audiences when she came to realize how profoundly her singing affected others. Eva poured her very heart and soul into her music.

Eva could sing nearly anything and make the listener feel it was music that mattered. She had a wide repertoire, ranging from blues to folk to gospel to jazz. She wouldn't allow herself to be pigeon-holed and lost record company deals because of this but it was more important to her to stay true to music that inspired her and to share that music with others. She was more intent on developing a repertoire of songs that worked on many different levels for her. And her instincts proved correct because Eva's repertoire attracted and continues to attract a growing number of fans.

While Cassidy remained pretty much unknown outside of her native Washington, DC, her posthumously released recordings have sold extensively. Her album, Songbird, reached #1 on UK album charts.

Eva Jazzes it up With a Bluesy Tune

Eva's Timeline

  • Eva displayed artistic talent at an early age.
  • At 9, she began to sing and play guitar.
  • At 18, Eva began her musical career, performing in Washington with the band, Easy Street.
  • During the 1980s, Eva worked with a number of bands.
  • In 1986, Cassidy met recording engineer, Chris Biondo who helped her to find work as a back-up singer for different acts.
  • In 1992, Eva recorded a duet album with Chuck Brown.
  • 1993, Eva was awarded two Wammie awards.
  • 1996, Eva recorded the album, Live At Blues Alley.

A Voice Like Velvet

Fans, old and new alike, have marveled at the purity of Eva's voice.

A True Songbird

Cassidy was a songbird who kept singing, and she still does, because her music lives on.

Songbird Lyrics

For you there'll be no crying

For you the sun will be shining

Cause I feel that when I'm with you

It's alright, I know it's right

And the songbirds keep singing

Like they know the score

And I love you, I love you, I love you

Like never before

To you, I would give the world

To you, I'd never be cold

Cause I feel that when I'm with you

It's alright, I know it's right

And the songbirds keep singing

Like they know the score

And I love you, I love you, I love you

Like never before

Like never before; like never before.

What Do you Think of Eva Cassidy?

See results


Eva released two records.

Her Vocal Stylings Transformed Melodies

Eva was known for taking a song and making it peculiarly her own. She would interpret the music in her own inimical style and turn it into something almost completely different.

An example of this is Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Some had heard this song and never really given it much thought, then along comes Eva and in a span of 12 years of working on this melody, she turned ordinary into extraordinary. Her rendition of this song was so moving, it left audiences to tears. And in one poll, this song was was listed as being one of the most memorable.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Would Prove to be Eva's Swan Song

Her final version of it emerged the same year she died.

Posthumous Recordings

  • 1998 Songbird
  • 2000 Time After Time
  • 2002 Imagine
  • 2003 American Tune

Eva's Albums

The Best of Eva Cassidy
Simply Eva
American Tune
Time After Time
The Spirit of Christmas
Eva by Heart
Live at Blues Alley
The Other Side

Eva's Art

Eva's talents weren't limited to singing and playing the guitar. She painted murals and created her own pictures. She would often paint a picture or a card and give it as a gift to friends or family.

Just as with her music, her love for art started and was expressed very early. As with many artistic people, she loved the natural world and this was reflected in much of her artwork: water, trees, landscapes, animals. She also would express, through her paintings, things she'd seen or places she'd visited.

More touching still, instead of just giving people gifts, Eva would thoughtfully make something with her own hands, whether it was a drawing, card or painting to cheer someone or to express appreciation or to commemorate time shared in some place.

She also incorporated her art into other mediums, such as wood--seen in a toy she made, a box, and in a wooden figure--and in handmade beads that she fashioned from clay and turned into artistic creations.

Eva was a sensitive, creative person. This was expressed in many forms and thus, she left a lasting legacy.

Eva's family has carefully preserved Eva's paintings, drawings, and works-in-progress. These can be seen at Eva Cassidy Artwork in posters, prints and cards, now available to the public. Clicking on the Prints and Cards section is interesting as you learn more about the thoughtful artist behind the work and why the paintings were created.

Mysterious Bubbles

A fascinating element is the mysterious bubbles that Eva added to some of her work.

Her Creativity Knew No Bounds

  • Eva developed a love for art very early. At around three years of age, she began drawing and coloring.
  • Eva drew a version of Mona Lisa when she was 12 year's old.
  • As a teenager, Eva painted a mural in the family home. After the family moved, the new owner allowed for the mural to be cut from the wall and thus it was preserved.
  • Eva did sketches in high school.
  • In 1982, in a dragon painting, the first of the bubbles appeared in Eva's art.
  • Eva continued painting in college.
  • She painted the prize-winning New Guinea Tribal Chief.
  • Eva painted labels and cards and paintings for birthday gifts, for Mother's Day, and for other occasions.
  • Eva designed her own Christmas cards.

Eva Given Another Set of Wings

All good things come to and end and sadly, Cassidy's light and life was cut short.This gentle, humble spirit's wings were clipped just as she began to fly. Eva was here just long enough to record her songs and thus gave her music to the world. Then she left us. Heaven gave her another set of wings.


Gone But Not Forgotten

Eva was a gentle soul who found serenity in natural surroundings. Perhaps like so many gifted individuals, Eva came to share a glimpse of the sublime with the rest of us.

© 2007 Athlyn Green


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    • Athlyn Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Athlyn Green 

      8 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Adagio,

      Yes, Eva was truly special. Thanks for stopping by!

    • adagio4639 profile image

      Larry Allen Brown 

      8 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

      The Greatest voice I ever heard.

    • adagio4639 profile image

      Larry Allen Brown 

      8 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

      I had the great fortune to have worked with Eva in DC back in October of 94, a few years before she passed away. She actually sang backup in a concert that I did and she was the easiest person I ever worked with. She is also hands down the greatest voice I've ever heard. Truly in a class of her own. There was nothing she couldn't do. No song that she didn't make uniquely her own. She played excellent guitar and accompanyed herself beautifully. She was fairly well known in DC by musicians, but the town hardly knew her which is often the case in that town. There are so many great musicians that go unknown in that city. It's a long list. But Eva...there are no words to describe her greatness. You just have to listen to her...and you know you're experiencing something truly rare and astonshingly beautiful. I have to assume that she had perfect pitch. She nailed each note no matter what the range was. Not an arrogant bone in her body. She was a joy to work with. Imagine if there had been a show like The Voice back then. She would have won at the auditions. But Eva never would have let a record label try to package her. She only sang songs that she loved. Folk songs, R&B, Gospel songs, and certain covers that spoke to her. What a stunning story and such a tragic loss to the world.

    • Athlyn Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Athlyn Green 

      8 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Dolores and Eva,

      She does such a wonderful rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." It's tragic she was taken from us too soon.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Why oh why did I play that video! I just can't listen to Eva without crying. Her perfect voice makes her renditions of any song she sings the best rendition. While I was trying to learn to paint, I played a lot of Eva Cassidy. She put me into another world and I feel like she is some kind of personal angel.

    • elayne001 profile image


      11 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Eva Cassidy is one of my favorite singers. She really sang with all her heart. Her hauntingly sweet melodies never fail to amaze me.

    • Athlyn Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Athlyn Green 

      11 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Richard,

      Thank you for your comments. You know I didn't particularly care for "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" until I heard Eva do it. She brought the song alive, embodying innocence and gentleness. I wonder, when she sang it, if she knew she was dying?

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Eva was one of the best, every time i play her song somewhere over the rainbow it brings tears to my eyes.

      Eva was to young to pass on.

    • Athlyn Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Athlyn Green 

      12 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Benson,

      I really enjoyed your Hub about the writing opps., BTW.

      It's so sad that Eva passed away. She had so much to offer and was such a gentle soul.

    • Benson Yeung profile image

      Benson Yeung 

      12 years ago from Hong Kong

      what a nice coincidence. Eva is my favorite too.

    • Athlyn Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Athlyn Green 

      12 years ago from West Kootenays

      Thank you, Mr. Marmalade.

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      12 years ago from Sydney

      A beautiful story and composed some one who has great feelings towards her subject matter

      Please make many more

    • Athlyn Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Athlyn Green 

      12 years ago from West Kootenays

      Hi Sukithra,

      Thank you for your comments. Why is it that so many truly special people seem to go before their time? Maybe it's because they have fulfilled their purpose.


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