Someone once e-mailed me to ask, “Who are you and why do you have this web site?” Here is the answer:
Who am I? I’m one of Eva’s many cousins (her father and my mother are brother and sister). I’m not a journalist or a web designer. The web site is not an “official site,” because Eva is not here to assign that designation. It is strictly a personal endeavor. I try to make it readable on a variety of equipment, and to load easily without unnecessary gadgetry. Many wonderful people give me assistance, however, and I thank them very much.
When I started the Eva Cassidy Web Site in early 1999, it was hard to get information about Eva Cassidy. She was completely unknown in the music world, but the people who heard her voice tended to become instant fanatics. I wanted to help Eva’s fans find out more about her music, and to help them find her CDs. (Remember when on-line shopping was brand new, and paid downloads not yet invented?) Creating the web site was intended both to promote Eva’s music and to honor her memory, with a focus on her music and recordings rather than her biography. In the early days, even the slightest mention was cause for excitement.
Since that time, Eva’s fame has grown enormously, and the web site has grown too. I am proud of the interviews and articles I have researched and written for the site, as well as the screenplay that nobody wants to make into a movie. One of my earliest features, the Eva Cassidy Guestbook, has been a source of much interest and pleasure – to Eva’s family, friends, and musical colleagues as well as to her fans. The Amazon Associates fundraiser has contributed over US$ 20,000 to melanoma research at Johns Hopkins University.
In 2015 the site joined the 21st century and is getting a much-needed make-over. The goal is to be readable on smartphones and tablets as well as computers, but still to be accessible for people using screen readers and other assistive technology. If you are having any difficulties with the site, please let me know.
The Eva Cassidy Web Site is about Eva, not about me, so I prefer to be something of a “mystery woman,” hence this coy photo that doesn’t show my face. All the “How to Promote Your Website” articles insist that readers want to know about the writers, so here’s some personal information, in case the articles are correct and you’re really interested, which I doubt: I’m three years older than Eva, I live in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC, and I have two teenaged kids. I used to play the flute pretty well, but I realized long ago that I’d never be in Eva’s league. I have a talent for proofreading and for finding four-leaved clovers. Someday I would like to be on the game show “Jeopardy!” I love daffodils and daisies and roses that have an actual fragrance. My favorite chocolate is Cote d’Or milk chocolate, my favorite author is Diana Wynne Jones, I believe Richard III did not murder his nephews, and I prefer my commas inside the quotes. I usually wear jeans and T-shirts and Birkenstocks. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and copyright laws matter to me. My children would tell you that I am likely to quote Dr. Seuss far too often. Musically I enjoy Wagner’s Ring operas, the political songs of Roy Zimmerman, old-fashioned musical theatre cast recordings, orchestras, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Eva Cassidy (duh), and “anything but that pop crap.” You are free to imagine that I look like Nicole Kidman, though I don’t. There, is that enough?
The British newspaper The Guardian actually wrote about me once: Mike Anderiesz had e-mailed me in connection with an article he was working on about fan tribute websites. The article is called “KEEPING THE FLAME.” It was in the print edition Thursday, April 4th, 2002. Mike A. e-mailed me that day to say, “Sorry for the hash they made of two lines which make it sound like it’s a site about you rather than Eva – I can’t believe they messed that up!”
Anderiesz quoted me a lot more than I expected. One of the things I told him that didn’t make it into the article, I shall add here, for the record: “My website is not in any way responsible for Eva’s posthumous success. The credit goes to Eva herself, and to her producer and band members who made the albums with her… I enjoy working behind the scenes to help spread the word about Eva, but I don’t think the website introduces people to her music. They hear it on the radio, perhaps, and are instantly hungry to know more. They look her up on the Internet and find my website. It gives people access to more information about Eva and makes them feel they are part of a worldwide community of fans. The people who fall in love with Eva’s voice want to share their wonderful discovery with their friends. I call them ‘Evangelists.’ One Evangelist in Vermont has given away over 100 Eva CDs as his own personal promotion effort! Many of the people who write in my guestbook also correspond with each other via e-mail. It all helps the word-of-mouth.”