Celebrity Eva Fans

How did an obscure singer from Maryland become a favorite of international celebrities?

It’s enormous fun to come across mentions of Eva Cassidy in interviews with musicians, actors, politicians, writers, and even reality television stars. On this page are listed some of the many that Eva’s fans have sent me (their commentary included) or that I have discovered. (Note: If you happen to be both a celebrity and an Eva fan, feel free to e-mail me and I’d be delighted to include your name here!)

MUSICIANS:

SIR PAUL McCARTNEY: The former Beatle had this to say about Eva in “MOJO COLLECTIONS”: ‘Fields Of Gold is a great song, man, it’s now become The One I Wish I’d Written. And Eva Cassidy does a really cool version of it…. It’s such a soulful story, that whole Eva Cassidy thing. And it just so happens that I like Over The Rainbow a lot….’

STING: In the January 9-15, 2005, issue of the magazine American Profile, Bob W. of California asked, ‘I would like to know about my new favorite singer, Eva Cassidy, and why she died so young. She had one of the most stunning, versatile voices ever. Why wasn’t she more famous?’ The unidentified columnist responded, ‘At the time of her death from cancer in 1996, only two of Cassidy’s folk/jazz/blues albums—The Other Side (with Chuck Brown) and Live at Blues Alley — had been released, and the 33-year-old was unknown outside Washington, D.C. However, she left a wealth of unreleased recordings that have forged her legacy. In 2001, she claimed the number one spot on England’s album charts and then became wildly popular in America. “Even though it’s a sad, tragic story,” says pop star Sting, whose song Fields of Gold Cassidy recorded, “it has a kind of poetry about it.” Cassidy’s latest collection: 2004’s Wonderful World.’

SINGER/SONGWRITER PAUL SIMON: Feb. 24, 2003: Chris in the UK writes, ‘Paul Simon is being interviewed right now on WFUV New York. He’s just said , when asked for favourite covers of his songs, that he “really liked Eva Cassidy’s version of Kathy’s Song.” Has he heard Bridge over Troubled Water?’ Chris, I don’t know if he has heard “Bridge,” but from what I was told, it was Paul Simon himself who suggested Eva’s version of “Kathy’s Song” for the soundtrack to the movie “Maid in Manhattan,” instead of his own. Now THAT’S a fan!

ROCK STAR OZZY OSBOURNE From Paul in the UK: “This month’s Q magazine [April 2001?] has a question and answer feature with Ozzy Osbourne, he of the Heavy Metallers Black Sabbath and alleged incident with biting off a bats’ head. Anyway: Question, ‘What was the last record you bought?’ Answer, ‘When I was in England recently I was working out on my exercise bike, watching GMTV. And they did this piece about an American girl called Eva Cassidy, who died of cancer. She’s got an album with a cover of Over The Rainbow on it. I was sat there, tears rolling down, and ended up buying four copies of the cd.’ It’s under the section ‘Famous Last Words.'” Note: Eva’s friend Bryan wrote in the Guestbook that Eva once attended an Ozzy concert!

SIR ELTON JOHN: Steve in York writes, “I thought I’d just mention something I heard on Radio 2 this afternoon. Sir Elton John was a guest on Steve Wright’s show. They were discussing the state of the music scene at both sides of the pond, when Elton said that he felt higher quality music made it into British charts than in the USA. He mentioned several examples including The Scissor Sisters (spelling?), Snow Patrol and of course Eva Cassidy.” Also, Henrik writes, ‘On a Norwegian site I found this quote from Elton John in the context of a review (in English) of a biography of Judith Durham from the Australian 60/70s folk and pop group The Seekers: “’Judith Durham, like Karen Carpenter and Eva Cassidy, possesses the purest voice in popular music. When she recorded one of my songs I was so flattered and loved her version. She made the song her own – a very enviable talent.’ Elton John”. It is extra cool because rather than making a statement about Eva, Elton John is here using her as a standard of comparison!’ (Fall 2004)

SINGER/SONGWRITER MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER: April 2001: Mary Chapin Carpenter was answering questions on Washingtonpost.com. Somebody asked her, “If you could perform with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?” She replied, “Eva Cassidy. One of the greatest singers on the planet.” MCC, like Eva, is from the Washington DC area. Later, MCC actually mentioned Eva in her song “My Heaven” (on her album BETWEEN HERE AND GONE): More memories than my heart can hold, Eva’s singing “Fields of Gold.” In the summer of 2004, MCC performed “My Heaven” at a concert at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia. Cathy in Virginia tells me that ‘As soon as that line hit [“Eva’s singing ‘Fields of Gold'”], everybody who knew Eva clapped and cheered!’

COUNTRY MUSIC STAR MARTINA McBRIDE: John writes, “In the latest People magazine, Martina McBride is asked what music she is listening to — the last one she mentioned was Songbird by Eva Cassidy. She said she has bought 50 or 60 copies and given them as presents. She said she loves how Eva’s feelings come through her music. That’s not exactly the way she says it but close. It is the May 7 issue of People with “The 100 Most Beautiful People”, with Drew Barrymore on the cover. The Martina McBride part is on page 50 bottom left side. Hope you read it.” (Added May 5, 2007)

FORMER SPICE GIRL GERI HALLIWELL: Eva’s arrangements continue to inspire would-be stars: Several fans in the United Kingdom have written to me about last night’s episode of “Popstars, The Rivals” on which Nadine sang Eva’s arrangement of “Fields of Gold.” Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell apparently complimented her by saying, “You remind me of Eva Cassidy.” Annie wrote a great account of it in the Guestbook.

ADELE: The British singer has mentioned Eva as a favorite on many occasions. Here’s an early example from The National: “I really loved alternative fashion – the hoodies, dog collars, buffalo boots,” she laughs. “So I used to dress up like a Slipknot fan, and then after school I’d run home and listen to Eva Cassidy.”

SINGER KELLY CLARKSON: The former “American Idol” paid Eva the ultimate compliment by including her in her wedding. People Magazine reported that the star was planning a very private marriage ceremony with her fiance Brandon Blackstone. And for music? “We’re bringing our own vinyl player and we’re doing it that way. Eva Cassidy is like my favorite, and her song ‘Songbird’ so we’re probably gonna slow dance alone to it,” she says. (September 2013)

“BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT” STAR SUSAN BOYLE: Boyle is one of the best known of the many singers to perform Eva’s arrangement of “Over the Rainbow” on television, and she says in her book The Woman I Was Born to Be that it was with “Eva Cassidy’s version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow'” that she won a small local talent competition years before BGT.

IRISH SINGER MARY BLACK: Mary Cliff, the host of the “Traditions” folk program on our local radio station, told me that when she did an interview with Irish singer Mary Black a while back, she asked Black about her recording of “Fields of Gold” on her album SPEAKING WITH THE ANGEL. Had she been listening to Eva Cassidy when she decided to record that song? Mary Black replied, “Oh, absolutely, it definitely was Eva, she inspires us all so much!” (Added October 28, 2005)

SINGER AMY GRANT:Paul from Oklahoma reported in the guestbook, “MSN and the Lifetime Television Network hosted a Celebrity chat with singer Amy Grant on Monday, June 3 [not sure of the year], and someone asked Amy who her favorite singers are and one of the singers she named was Eva Cassidy, I think she said she just recently discovered her.” Thanks to Cathy and Eric who sent me the link! Here’s the exact quote: “My favorite discovery last year was Eva Cassidy. She has since died, but her voice is worth discovering.”

“AMERICAN IDOL” RUNNER-UP DAVID ARCHULETA: Singer David Archuleta is a big fan of Eva’s music. His rendition of “Imagine” on “American Idol” was inspired by Eva’s arrangement. On a number of occasions he has mentioned Eva in high-profile interviews. On “American Idol,” David was asked, “If you could have any mentor, who would it be?” The seventeen-year-old singer replied, “I’d really like Eva Cassidy. {She’s] someone I could really be educated by, ’cause she really understands music… What a perfect person to meet, if I could, but she’s not here anymore.” Larry King asked, “Who would you most like to duet with?” David Archuleta replied, “I’d go with Eva Cassidy.” On another occasion, David confused the ladies on “The View” by naming Eva as his own “American Idol.” Apparently they hadn’t ever heard of her and thought he was talking about DAVID Cassidy!?!?! He performed “Fields of Gold” on his 2009 tour, and talked about how he draws inspiration from Eva Cassidy. In a video interview on the People Magazine web site, David said, “On the music side, someone I would love to spend a day with is Eva Cassidy. You can just feel her spirit when she sings. I think it would be so cool to spend time with her and see what she was like.” Eva is praised in his autobiography Chords of Fame, where Archuleta writes, Of all the performers I have listened to, Eva Cassidy best represented the style and level of artistry that I would most aspire to. She had the whole package: She had tone, pitch, range, dynamics, and control.” Lee from Vienna told me that she and her daughter Carly had the chance to meet David and his father, and gave him one of the “Another Eva Cassidy Fan” bumper stickers. (Added December 9, 2009)

SINGER/SONGWRITER MICHAEL BOLTON: The veteran crooner loves Eva’s recording of “Fields of Gold” so much that he turned it into a duet for his album dedicated a song to Eva on his album “Gems.” You will be glad to know he got permission from Eva’s parents to do so.

SINGER CHARLOTTE CHURCH:Also from Henrik: ‘There is a charming interview with Charlotte Church [in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Discussing her move away from pop-classical music into popular music proper she says “My favorite kinds of artists are, like, Jill Scott, India Arie, Sting, Eva Cassidy, people like that.”’ She told the BBC the same thing: “I’d love to become a cross between India Arie, Jill Scott, Eva Cassidy and Sting.”

IRISH SINGER/SONGWRITER CHRIS DE BURGH: Chris DeBurgh (of “Lady in Red” fame) has written a song about Eva called “Songbird” which is on his most recent album, ROAD TO FREEDOM. Joanne in the UK writes, “I saw Chris De Burgh today on the Terry Wogan show UK Channel 5 (quite a big audience). Terry asked him about his tribute song to Eva, he said some lovely things about Eva’s voice and that the first time he heard ‘Rainbow’ he had to pull over the car as he had tears in his eyes. In an interview on his web site, Chris deBurgh said, ‘The first time I heard Eva Cassidy, I was driving in my car and I heard her singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and I was absolutely amazed. Immediately I thought to myself: “Gosh, I’d love to do a duet with this girl! She has one of the most extraordinary voices that I have ever heard.” Subsequently I heard her version of “Fields Of Gold” which I thought was gorgeous. Unfortunately a bit little later on I discovered that she had died of cancer at an early age and that she was virtually unknown in the world. A few places in the North Eastern part of America. But what happened for her in England was that a friend of mine, the broadcaster Terry Wogan, started playing it on his very important radio show in the morning. And instantly people all over England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales reacted to this beautiful voice and the irony that she was only being discovered when she was dead. And even more incredible is that she sang those two songs live. What a seriously huge talent she was! And I remember I was sitting at my piano one day, waiting for some friends to come to my house, and her name came banging into my head. And I went “oh, I’ve got to write a song about her”, which is why Songbird came up. That came up really fast. I had no idea she had an album called Songbird! And it was my dedication to her to thank her for her incredible talent.’

COUNTRY STAR ROSANNE CASH: Peggy writes,’If you go to Rosanne Cash’s web site before the end of February [2005], you’ll see a photo of Eva’s “Songbird” CD and a very nice write-up by Rosanne Cash who apparently has just discovered Eva Cassidy. Thought you might want to know and share with other Eva fans.’ Thanks, Peggy! The Grammy-winning country star wrote in the “Picks” section of her web site, “Where have I been? I missed Eva Cassidy when she was alive, and just got introduced to her music properly. She moves me in every way–emotionally, intellectually, as a singer, and spiritually. Her version of Sting’s ‘Fields of Gold’ moves me to tears.” (Added February 2, 2005)

SINGER/SONGWRITER JOSS STONE: June 2004: Les in England writes, “It’s official, Joss Stone loves Eva Cassidy! Rising star and great singer Joss Stone, she is 17, but with the soul of someone far older (not unlike Eva) , was on BBC Radio 2’s Johnnie Walker show a couple of weeks ago. I e-mailed her live on air and told her I bought her cd as soon as I heard her on the radio, just the same as Eva, and was she aware of Eva. She said very loud and clear that she LOVED Eva’s work! Just thought I would relay the news to you.”

SINGER JENNIFER WARNES: Tom in the US e-mailed me to say, “My friend was telling me that his friend, singer Jennifer Warnes, is a major Eva fan! Jennifer is of course a Grammy winner who made Leonard Cohen a household name with Famous Blue Raincoat….”

SINGER LINDA EDER: Spring 2003: Matt in the US e-mailed me to say, ‘I don’t know whether Eva’s fans will be interested in this or not, but I had the privilege of chatting on her website with a incredibly talented Broadway/pop singer named Linda Eder, who you may or may not have heard of, and I decided to ask if she had heard of Eva. Linda replied, “I love Eva. What a talent and what a loss.”‘

COUNTRY SINGER BILLY RAY CYRUS: Billy Ray Cyrus, famed for his hit “Achy Breaky Heart” and as the father of Miley “Hannah Montana” Cyrus, includes Eva’s arrangement of “Over the Rainbow” on his album, HOME AT LAST. Here are a couple of quotes from Cyrus, which have been reprinted several places so I am not certain of the original sources: “This was one of the first songs the folks at Disney strongly suggested I record,” Cyrus said. “The producer of ‘Hannah Montana,’ Michael Poryes, heard me mulling it over and asked if I’d ever heard Eva Cassidy sing it. He burned me a copy, and I fell in love with her right there. I was intrigued by her story — a woman who stood staunchly behind the integrity of her craft to the very end. My version is a tribute to a great singer who left this world too soon.” Also, I just recorded “Over the Rainbow,” and my inspiration was Eva Cassidy’s version. She was a tremendous artist, maybe one of the greatest, only she wasn’t discovered hugely until after she passed away. I’m a big fan of her version, so I recorded it for a new album that comes out in September on Walt Disney Records.

POLISH SINGER ANNA MARIE JOPEK: Polish superstar vocalist Anna Marie Jopek was recently interviewed by Mike Brannon for jazzreview.com. She was asked, “What inspires you and what do you listen to for pleasure?” Part of her reply: “I think Eva Cassidy was probably the most divine voice of her generation.” Thanks to Linda S., a longtime Eva fan, for this link. (Added December 10, 2004)

SWEDISH SINGER ANITA STRANDELL: Torbjörn and Mona in Sweden write, “The second largest tabloid in Sweden, Expressen, lets on its Sunday supplementary a celebrity choose his/hers favorite book, record, thing, place and person. The headline is Choice of the week. Last week, a singer veteran Anita Strandell, 64, chooses Songbird by Eva and tells us why: ‘Her voice goes straight into my heart. When she interprets Over the rainbow and Autumn leaves I find it difficult to hold back my tears.’ The article ends with a quiz and chances to win Eva Cassidy’s CD Songbird. Eva still attracts attention and that´s nice to see.” (Fall 2004)

SINGER/SONGWRITER ERIC BIBB: From Steve in York: ‘Do you remember that CD “A Family Affair” by Eric Bibb and his dad Leon Bibb? There was the question as to whether or not the cover of “Fields of Gold” was Eva related. The answer is most definitely YES. Here is what Eric wrote about “Fields Of Gold” in the liner notes:

Hearing a singer who has discovered that zone where the spirit infuses every note is a heavenly experience. Eva Cassidy knew that space. My dad was so moved by her version of Sting’s song that he chose to quote it almost verbatim.”

‘ Steve adds, ‘Eric Bibb is the son of Leon Bibb, one of the stalwarts of the Greenwich Village folk scene. He is also the nephew of John Lewis, the leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet, and the godson of actor and singer Paul Robeson. Bibb was introduced early to music. Bob Dylan and the folk singer Odetta were frequent guests around the Bibb house. Leon’s version of Eva’s version is sung mainly with piano accompaniment though Eric chips in with a smidgen of guitar for the Keith Grimes part. So there we have it, a friend of Odetta’s recording an Eva Cassidy tribute.’

EUROPEAN STAR TRIJNTJE OOSTERHUIS: Floris in the Netherlands saw this “Eva moment” on Dutch television: ‘Yesterday I watched “Idols”, the Dutch version of “American Idol.” This is a very popular tv-show in Holland, usually more than 3 million viewers. Ten of the thirty finalists had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with Trijntje Oosterhuis, a singer who is very popular in our country. She took them to her studio to listen to different versions of a few songs. One of the songs was “Ain’t No Sunshine.” She played short parts of a few versions, the Sting version, the Bill Withers version, AND the Eva Cassidy version. Trijntje commented that a priority to learn the art of singing is to concentrate and to listen to what others do, and how they do the song. After they played Eva’s version she said, “his a a very good example of a voice that touches you immediately, and how Eva sang it with such emotional power.” When they played the short part of Eva’s version, her name was shown with a short clip from the “Live at Blues Alley” performance. It was a short Eva moment on the Dutch tv, but I think it was long enough to make people think, “Who is that beautiful lady with that touching voice?” And to learn that one of our country’s greatest singers is a fan of Eva, is very nice.’

SWEDISH SINGER/ACTOR TOMMY KöRBERG: Henrik writes, “Tommy Körberg, the greatest Scandinavian and a major European musical star – he performs with the likes of Elaine Page – was asked by a Swedish TV viewer early in July this year what music he listened to. This is what he answered (I translate): ‘The latest record I bought was Steely Dan. And I also listen a lot to the jazz singer Carmen McRae. Eva Cassidy singing “Ain´t no sunshine when she´s gone” (he sings the tune) is also a favorite. There’s a lot!‘”

RISING STAR ROZZI CRANE: “There’s this one singer named Eva Cassidy who died tragically at a young age. She had recorded all of these amazing cover albums of classic songs. As a kid, I actually heard her versions before I heard a lot of the original versions, and her voice is just beautiful, a crystal clear kind of voice. I don’t think I always realized how much she affected me.”

NORWEGIAN POP STAR MORTEN HARKET: April 27, 2003: Henrik in Denmark found another casual, revealing, minor mention of Eva Cassidy: “This is from an interview in the Norwegian newspaper VG with Morten Harket from the world-famous Norwegian pop group A-Ha: ‘We drove for five hours without a single note of music, without a single word on the radio. Morten rarely listens to music, least of all his own, when he is not busy making it. But he likes Coldplay, and he is especially impressed with Eva Cassidy and Jeff Buckley. – They are vocalists that really touch me; they have taken their art further than I have. They are a source of stimulation to me.’

SINGER-SONGWRITER MINDY SMITH: February 2004: Doug in Pennsylvania writes, “So is newcomer Mindy Smith still the best-kept secret in Nashville? Not quite anymore. What IS the secret is she, too, is an Eva fan.” Eva is mentioned in a Boston Globe article by Steve Morse: ‘The mix of influences she picked up along the way is quite unusual. They range “from Sarah Vaughan to the Sundays and the Cure, then Appalachian music and bluegrass by Alison Krauss and the Cox Family,” Smith says. “Then I got excited by Shawn Colvin. Any woman who can play guitar like that and make her own records is someone I’m attracted to. Then I discovered Patty Griffin and Julie Miller — two of the best songwriters of the past decade. I also listen to Eva Cassidy. I’m all over the place. If it’s good, I want to hear it.”‘ Smith’s enthusiasm for Eva’s music was also mentioned in an article on the WMVY-FM website: “Unlike her idol, Eva Cassidy, Mindy’s talent got noticed immediately.”

PIANIST JIM BRICKMAN: Jim in Wisconsin writes, ‘[On] popular pianist Jim Brickman’s website… Jim relates what music, books, etc., he indulges in when not performing. Of course, at the top of the list is, you guessed it, the Eva Cassidy “Songbird” album! Jim is a wonderful artist and recently collaborated with “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken for a lovely new single, “LOVE OF MY LIFE.”‘

SINGER-SONGWRITER RICK ASTLEY: Ian in the UK writes, “Here’s a quote from singer/songwriter Rick Astley about Eva Cassidy. I thought it would be nice to put it in your quotes from other artists about Eva: “Eva Cassidy, when she did that interpretation of ‘Over The Rainbow,’ she breathed something into that song, and some of the others that she did, that you didn’t think was possible.”

SINGER/SONGWRITER ERIN BODE: Kevin Johnson’s review of singer Erin Bode’s new album, in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, mentions Eva more than once: ‘…Bode is far more influenced by the late Eva Cassidy, her favorite artist, than by [Norah] Jones. “She was just perfect,” Bode says. “She wasn’t overly famous, but she absolutely had the most beautiful voice I’ve heard. She inspired me a lot. I always want to keep true to the music, and I know that’s the way she was.”‘ Also, ‘Bode also covers “Time After Time,” the ballad made famous by Cyndi Lauper. But Bode says her version is more in line with Cassidy’s cover. “She made me just fall in love with the song,” she says.’

GUITARIST JUDE GOLD: Top-tier guitarist Jude Gold listed LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY in his “ten favorite albums” list on the Guitar Player website. If you’re not familiar with his name, you’ve probably heard his music. Per Wikipedia, “Jude Gold is an American guitarist who has toured with Jefferson Starship since 2012 and has toured with Kristin Chenoweth, JGB (formerly the Jerry Garcia Band), Eddie Money, 2 Live Crew, Jeff Berlin, and more. He is also the Los Angeles editor of Guitar Player magazine.”

STARS OF THE STAGE AND SCREEN

SIR MICHAEL CAINE: The British actor told the Daily Mail, “I love chillout music and I’ve just made a compilation record, Cained. It came about when I was having dinner with Elton John at his house in Nice and he was playing some of my favourites in the background – and I kept naming the tune, much to Elton’s surprise. I told him that I’ve been making chillout compilations, because I’ve gone through my disco period, my house period, urban and rock ‘n’ roll and now I’m looking for quieter stuff. And he got me a three-record deal. It really is not what you know but who you know. So I made a record that includes music by my great friend, the late Stan Getz, and Roy Budd, who’s no longer with us – he wrote the music for Get Carter. It’s music that many people have probably never heard before, like St Germain, Sarah McLachlan and Eva Cassidy.” The Eva song on the album is “Fields of Gold.” (2007)

SINGER/ACTRESS KRISTIN CHENOWETH: Broadway and television star Kristin Chenoweth has been an Eva fan for years. In this article, the singer tells the magazine Entertainment Weekly “What’s On My iPod.” “There was an angel on earth and her name was Eva Cassidy…. Her album Songbird has just about every great song ever written. And her voice! ‘I Know You By Heart’ is a particular fave.” She also mentions Placido Domingo, Adele, and Blossom Dearie.

SINGER/ACTRESS BETTE MIDLER: Assuming that Bette does her own social media postings, which is by no means certain! In October of 2014, this showed up on the star’s Facebook and Twitter: “The Autumn leaves, drift by my window, The Autumn leaves of red and gold” Get out your old Eva Cassidy record now!

TELEVISION HOST JERRY SPRINGER: In an interview on April 15, 2010, the infamous celebrity Jerry Springer was asked by interviewer Don Imus about his favorite songs. His reply: ‘”Tennessee Waltz” is my favorite song. Oh, I love that song. In fact, there was a great version of it — she’s since passed away — that Eva Cassidy did. That was a great version of “Tennessee Waltz.”‘

ACTOR MICHAEL MORIARTY: Emmy-winner Moriarty, best known for his role in the television drama “Law and Order,” wrote about Eva in his blog “Enter Stage Right,” “I have been waiting for Eva Cassidy all my life! Waiting for 73 years!! Never!!! Never have I known an artist, all by herself and her guitar, to take me eternally prisoner. So completely! So irresistibly!” After that, he gets effusive. You should read the whole blog posting.

ACTRESS/SINGER MINNIE DRIVER: Hilary in Oxfordshire reports, ‘The actress turned singer Minnie Driver is an Eva fan! We saw Minnie perform a show in Oxford last night, (Tuesday) at the Zodiac club…. Halfway through the first set she performed “Fever,” and guess what, it was Eva’s arrangement from start to finish. I said to David, my husband, that I thought that Minnie might be an Eva fan and if we get the chance after the show we must go and ask her if this is true. We did meet Minnie and all I can say is this, what a lovely person she is and so easy to talk to. She said to us that she loved playing the smaller venues and couldn’t wait to come back here again. I said to her that I loved her version of “Fever” and I also made the comment that her version was so like Eva Cassidy’s. I asked her if she was a fan of Eva’s music. Her eyes lit up and she said, “Oh yes, I just love Eva’s music so much. I am a big fan of hers.” She also said that she admired Eva not just because she was a great singer but also because she could play the guitar really well too, she said that Eva was a great musician who died far too young. We were pleasantly surprised that Minnie is an Eva fan, but I do think that there are many, many more musicians out there that we admire and we maybe don’t know that they are fans of Eva’s music. I also think that it doesn’t do any harm to ask these people if they like Eva’s music. After all, if you don’t ask then how will you ever know?’ What a great idea, Hilary!

“GLEE” STAR LEA MICHELE:: Broadway-trained singer Lea Michele has been listing Eva Cassidy as one of her favorites, saying, “’Songbird’ by Eva Cassidy is my favorite song to sing.” (Don’t tell Christine McVie, who actually wrote the song. But I think Lea is referring to Eva’s arrangement.)

BROADWAY STAR EDEN ESPINOSA: One of Broadway’s most brilliantly “Wicked” Elphabas, Eden Espinosa, paid tribute to Eva in her show “Celebrating Life: Remembering Eva Cassidy” at New York’s cabaret Below 54. You can read more about it here.

SINGER/ACTRESS KERRY ELLIS: Another former Elphaba with an Eva Cassidy interest is Kerry Ellis, who in 2004 played the role of Eva Cassidy in a workshop of Imogene Stubbs’ play “Way Beyond Blue.” She said in an interview with What’s On Stage in 2007, “I did a play that Imogen Stubbs wrote as a workshop that Trevor directed, and I thought that was brilliant. I played Eva Cassidy in it, and I’d love to do it in the West End. It’s in talks to be happening, so I hope it will, but nothing is certain. ”

BROADWAY STAR KATE BALDWIN: In an interview with Robin Blonk, Kate Baldwin was asked about what she would discuss with President Obama, if she had the opportunity to meet with him in the Oval Office. One of the questions:

RB: What CD would you recommend that the president add to his collection? Why?
KB: “Eva Cassidy Live at Blues Alley.” Tracks like “Stormy Monday,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “People Get Ready” are soulful reminders to keep going even though its difficult.

BROADWAY’S ELIZABETH STANLEY: In an interview on Broadway.com, Stanley was asked, “What album was the soundtrack to your 20s?” Her reply: “My early 20s was Lenny Kravitz’s 5. My boyfriend (at the time) and I were in love with it, and fell in love to it. In my mid-20s it was Eva Cassidy’s Songbird.”

ACTRESS JENNIFER ANISTON: In an old, old Rolling Stone article from 2001, is this sentence: “Aniston leaves Tower with $184 worth of CDs, mostly by women (Eva Cassidy, Beth Hart, Lucinda Williams, Jill Scott).”

ACTRESS GAYNOR FAYE: Late 2002: Joe in Aylesbury wrote in the Guestbook, “Yesterday’s Daily Mirror ‘M’ magazine – The last 5 things I bought by Gaynor Faye (actress?!). 3. CD. ‘I’ve just got the CD Songbird by Eva Cassidy. I’m a big fan
of Radio 2 and while I was listening the other day this extraordinary beautiful, pure voice came on singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow like I’d never heard it sung before. My mum asked what I wanted for my birthday so I chose that and her other CD, Imagine.’ (Cheating? that made 6 things she bought).”

ACTRESS AMANDA SEYFRIED: You may remember her as “Cosette” from the “Les Miserables” film. Former “Mean Girl” star Amanda Seyfried said in an interview in the Daily Express that she’d love to play the role of Eva Cassidy in a film. “Eva has an amazing story and then she was gone. She has this whole catalogue of music – she’s amazing. It’s tragic. I love singing too, I love her music and I would love to play her. That would be fun.”

BROADWAY AND WEST END STAR RUTHIE HENSHALL: The actress and singer appeared on BBC Radio 4’s program “Desert Island Discs” in 2008. She listed Eva’s “Over the Rainbow” as her “favourite track.”

SIMON COWELL: The cranky talent show judge has made it clear that he knows and loves Eva’s music. “I like the kind of Eva Cassidy-type arrangement,” said Simon Cowell, referring to a performance of “Yesterday” by Syesha Mercado (March 2008). (I’ll add more references when I can find where I noted them. I don’t think it counts, that he supposedly made a list of songs he didn’t want to hear “X Factor” contestants sing, and Eva’s version of “Songbird” was one of them….)

ACTRESS LUCY HALE: As reported in Us Magazine in 2010, Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale (who plays Aria Montgomery) promises Ryan Seacrest her character will sing an Eva Cassidy song in an upcoming episode of the hit ABC Family drama. “I’m singing about my teacher I’m in love with. He’s so angry at me,” the 21-year-old says. “He’s actually mad at himself, but he takes it out on me because I guess he’s mad that [my character’s] 16.”

BRITISH TV AND RADIO PRESENTER BILL ODDIE: Hilary in the UK writes, “We were listening to the Michael Parkinson Show on Radio Two. The show goes out on Sunday morning between 11 am and 1 pm. Michael’s guest this week was TV and Radio presenter, Bill Oddie. He is very well known over here and was on Michael’s show to promote his new TV show. Each guest chooses a couple of their favorites songs and they tell Michael why they like the particular tunes. Bill Oddie selected Eva’s ‘Over the Rainbow’ as his second choice. After the song had finished, Michael said to Bill Oddie, ‘That Eva’s version was timeless.’ Bill agreed with him and said, ‘The whole Eva story is so tragic and the way that she just holds the last note of the song is so incredible.’ He continued, ‘Like most people I was blown away when I heard her sing that song. It is one of my all time favorite songs.’ He also said that like most people he grew up listening to the Judy Garland version, but now prefers to listen to Eva’s version.” (From June 2004)

AUTHORS: “EVA MENTIONS” IN BOOKS

BookBESTSELLING NOVELIST CLAIRE COOK: The author of Must Love Dogs is a fan of Eva’s music and has mentioned Eva in several of her novels. We exchanged e-mails a few years ago, and she told me, “I’ve been a fan of Eva’s music since Robin Young’s WBOS days, when she introduced the Boston area to Eva and her amazing voice, so filled with heart and hope. I can remember driving along on the way to a meeting, tears streaming down my face and running my mascara, the first time I heard her sing ‘Fields of Gold.’ Later that day, I went online and ordered everything she’d ever recorded that I could get my hands on. I hoped mentioning Eva singing ‘Cheek to Cheek’ in MUST LOVE DOGS might help a few more people discover her. The novel, by the way, is doing so well — it was chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers book, as well as a Booksense 76 fiction pick, and Viking (an imprint of Penguin Putnam) has gone back to press three times just to meet orders! (There has been quite a bit of interest in the screen rights, so maybe someday I’ll be in a position to suggest Eva’s recordings be used in that capacity.)” **UPDATE 2005: A movie was indeed made from this book, but Eva was not in the soundtrack. Oh well!

SUPERSTAR AUTHOR JAMES PATTERSON: Stephanie wrote, “I’ve noticed Eva’s name in …James Patterson’s newest work, ‘Sam’s Letters To Jennifer’, on page 147: ‘The fireflies traced cursive neon letters in the night air as I tossed salad and Brendan put the steaks on the grill. There was a CD player in the guest house, and soon Eva Cassidy was remembering the night as only she can. Brendan asked me to dance. I took his hand and immediately felt the blood rush to my head… Simple as this was I loved it. Eva was followed by Sting…’

Patterson must really be a fan. In April 2004: Mike W. wrote, ‘On page 44 in the new James Patterson book 3rd Degree, the protagonist – a homicide lieutenant – goes to visit a friend (an assistant DA): “An Eva Cassidy CD was playing lightly in the background.” Patterson is one of the current blockbuster authors – maybe someone new will check out Eva because of this.’

“BREAKING HER FALL” NOVELIST STEPHEN GOODWIN: In an interview on the Powell’s website, the author was asked: “Aside from other writers, name some artists from whom you draw inspiration and talk a little about their work.” Goodwin’s reply: “Marc Cohn, singer songwriter extraordinarie. The late Eva Cassidy, possessor of the most haunting voice I’ve even heard. Chagall, whose vision conveys beauty and magic. Tiger Woods, whose athletic prowess is a form of high virtuosity.”

SCIENCE FICTION AUTHOR ORSON SCOTT CARD: In the “Reviews” section of his web site, Hatrack River, Card writes about Eva, How do you market a singer who thinks that “Bridge Over Troubled Water” belongs on the same live album as “What a Wonderful World,” and — of all things — “Autumn Leaves”? Or that a mellow guitar rendition of “Over the Rainbow” should be programmed with “Fields of Gold” and “Oh, Had I a Golden Thread” and “Wayfaring Stranger” on her Songbird album? Folk, spiritual, pop, swing, country, rock — she found ways to bring them to new life with her marvelous sense of the beating heart of the song. The albums to start with are Live at Blues Alley and Songbird. If you don’t find something to love, drawing you on to the others — like the Imagine that melds the John Lennon song with “Tennessee Waltz” and “Fever” and “Danny Boy” — then there’s just no hope for you.

BESTSELLING AUTHOR JANE GREEN: More than just a mention here. The popular writer and cancer survivor told the Daily Mail in this 2014 article that it was her interest in Eva’s music and story that led her to have her own suspicious moles checked by a dermatologist:

In May this year, on my 46th birthday, my friend Sophie gave me two CDs by Eva Cassidy, a singer I hadn’t heard of before. When I listened to them I was astonished at how beautiful her voice was. Keen to learn more, I typed her name into Google and discovered that the reason I hadn’t heard of her was because Eva died nearly 20 years ago, aged just 33.

Three years previously, she discovered a small, dark mole on her back. It was a malignant melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. The melanoma was removed, but in 1996 Eva returned to hospital with pain in her hips and was told that the melanoma had spread to her lungs. Two months later, she was dead.

The night I read about Eva Cassidy, I had moles on my mind. As I lay reading, my eyes happened to glance down to the side of my left calf. There was a mole that didn’t look right. It wasn’t particularly large, but was asymmetrical, and in the middle were two black splodges, like a spatter of paint….

NOVELIST STEPHEN GOODWIN: Lucy writes, “I was led to Eva thru a novel I read. Its title is “Breaking Her Fall” and it was written by Stephen Goodwin. It feels like the book was almost written as a way to share Eva with the rest of us. It is set in D.C., and refers to Eva several times, in fact the song Over the Rainbow is given to one of the characters to help her heal from a tragedy…. It’s a very emotional book, but one I recommend. ” (Summer 2004)

TELEVISION WRITER AND NOVELIST NICHELLE TRAMBLE: In 2004, she wrote on her blog, “Closing in on the end of my new book, listening to a lot of EVA CASSIDY while I write. She is perfect for this landscape.”

EDGAR WINNER DAVID HOUSEWRIGHT: In A Hard Ticket Home, an excellent thriller/mystery by Edgar award-winning author David Housewright, the protagonist is driving home after a tense confrontation with a gang of arms dealers. “I leaned back against the seat and closed my eyes, waiting for my nerves to quiet themselves, breathing deep, exhaling slowly. Eva Cassidy was on the CD player. I thought her exquisite voice would help. It took both her and Ella Fitzgerald.” (Summer 2004)

ROMANCE NOVELIST CAROLINE ANDERSON: August 2003: Suzanne writes, ‘I was recently reading a Harlequin Romance by Caroline Anderson that mentions Eva. The book is named “The Baby Bonding”. The author is from Suffolk. She is mentioned in the third chapter, the male lead character is a doctor who is in his study. The paragraph is below.’ Thanks, Suzanne (and thanks to Caroline Anderson, too)! Here’s the quote: “There was an Eva Cassidy album in the CD player, and he pressed the ‘play’ button, dropped into a corner of the sofa and closed his eyes with a grunt of relief. The day was officially over. When he could be bothered he’d get up and go pour himself a glass of wine, but for now he was content just to sit and listen to Eva’s soft, haunting voice filtering through the speakers, and do nothing.”

NOVELIST HELEN WALSH: In the novel “Brass” by Helen Walsh (described by Amazon as “chick-lit noir”) comes the sentence “A tall redhead offers me some Scouse from a big pan. Eva Cassidy purrs from a lone speaker which sits on a bookshelf bursting with ravaged books.”

THRILLER WRITER BARRY EISLER: From the thriller “Rain Storm” by Barry Eisler, ‘I paused for a minute, and listened to Eva Cassidy doing “Autumn Leaves,” the lyrics and the melody the more poignant by virtue of the singer’s untimely death.’

NOVELIST SARAH CHALLIS: On page 132 of “Blackthorn Winter” by Sarah Challis, a character “sorted through the tapes Anthony kept in the car, discarding most of them, and slotted an Eva Cassidy album into the player.”

NOVELIST IAN SANSOM: In “The Impartial Recorder: A Novel,” by Ian Sansom, a female character turns ‘on her personal stereo all the way up to 12, in order to drown herself in “Fields of Gold” with Eva Cassidy.’

MYSTERY WRITER CHRISTIAN THOMPSON: In Christian Thompson’s mystery series novel Sing No Sad Songs, the narrator makes reference to “… a plan to buy some booze and fags and just wallow in it. I would listen to a tape of Eva Cassidy when I got home and I would probably hug the cat too hard and make it run off.”

WRITER SUSAN WIGGS: From Stephanie: [In]Susan Wiggs’ story, Summer By The Sea, she mentions Eva on page 172: She gave him a quick hug and got into the car. With the stereo blaring an Eva Cassidy tune, she pulled out of the driveway.’” (Added Fall 2004)

SINGING TEACHER JO THOMPSON In her book Find Your Voice – The No. 1 Singing Tutor, Jo Thompson lists Eva as one of her Top Ten singers, along with Maria Callas, Ella Fitzgerald, and Aretha Franklin. “For emotional intensity my vote has to go to the late great Eva Cassidy. She has a golden voice and uses so many colors and textures when she sings. She could swing between a full tone with a lot of power and a deeply moving, intense fragility…. She brought a whole new meaning to the term ‘cover version,’ blowing everyone else out of the water.”

VOCAL COACH SUSAN ANDERS: In her book The No Scales, Just Songs Vocal Workout, Vol. Two, Anders writes, “Other singers, like Marvin Gaye, Al Green, early Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley, and Eva Cassidy, smoothly swoop from head to chest register without a bump.”

DEDICATION TO EVA: According to book critic Michael Dirda of the Washington Post, a recently-published fiction anthology is “dedicated to the great and greatly versatile singer Eva Cassidy and the much-missed artist Susan Davis, along with four other Washington women who died young.” The anthology, edited by Richard Peabody, is entitled Grace and Gravity: Fiction by Washington Area Women (Paycock; paperback, $14.95). Dirda comments, “There are more than 30 stories in this hefty paperback, but nearly all of them possess a brash swagger and sexiness that may surprise. Isn’t Washington supposed to be staid? This volume is not only an important showcase but also a lot of fun.” (Added December 4, 2004)

MORE AND MISCELLANEOUS:

FORMER SENATOR BYRON DORGAN: One of our United States Senators, Senator Dorgan (a Democrat from North Dakota), mentioned on his senatorial web site that he is an Eva fan! Favorite Musical performer or group: The Corrs, Lyle Lovett, and Eva Cassidy

BRITISH MODEL CRESSIDA BONAS: Well known as sometime-girlfriend of Britain’s Prince Harry, Cressida Bonas was described in Tatler’s Little Black Book as “really pretty, really nice and absolutely obsessed with (jazz singer) Eva Cassidy.” What a nice thing to say about somebody!

ROYAL FAN: His Highness the Maharaja of Jodhpur loves Eva’s music, according to an article in The Independent. The author (whose name was not listed) writes, “Stopping in the desert, I joined the Maharaja in the Phantom. The atmosphere inside was in exquisite contrast to the furnace outside. Songbird by Eva Cassidy, His Highness’s favourite CD, contended with the purr of conditioned air and HH’s steady obligato on the horn.” (Added September 18, 2006)

NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST BOB LEVEY: The Washington Post veteran wrote in 2002, “I can’t TELL you how great Eva Cassidy is! My wife just shipped me a piece about her that ran in The Washington Post magazine in 1998. Dunno how I missed it the first time past. It traces her life and career. She is truly a daughter of D.C. If you haven’t heard her, Web buddies, the old line applies: Run, don’t walk. ”

GOSSIP BLOGGER PEREZ HILTON: At least, I presume he’s a fan, because he’s mentioned Eva quite a few times on his web site.

NPR’S TREY GRAHAM: Pop culture commentator Trey Graham of Pop Culture Happy Hour apparently said that ‘[his] main happy-making thing, however, is a recording of Eva Cassidy singing “Autumn Leaves.”’

SECRETARY OF EDUCATION ROD PAIGE: April 2004: How did I stumble across this obscure reference? (Isn’t the Internet wonderful?) Eva Cassidy was mentioned in a speech given by [then] Secretary of Education Rod Paige, at an orchestra concert. The Secretary said: “I want to join in welcoming the St. Malachy’s College Orchestra. This is a fine orchestra from a wonderful school. These young men are outstanding ambassadors for Northern Ireland, for classical music and for Irish music. I am very pleased that they will perform for us today. I should tell the members of the orchestra that Washington is a musical town. We are proud of our musical heritage: Francis Scott Key, Duke Ellington, Eva Cassidy and many other musicians have made their mark here. This is a city that helped give birth to jazz and the blues. We are a center for bluegrass and country. Washington is well-known for rock and rap. We are a home for classical music, with a special place in our hearts for the National Symphony Orchestra. And Washington loves – passionately loves – Irish music. Whether on the metro, at Constitution Hall, or in a pub, people in Washington seriously and knowledgeably discuss and evaluate Irish music. So you are most welcome.” (Only a true curmudgeon would point out that — well, OK, I guess I am a curmudgeon. Hate to break it to you, Mr. Secretary, but Francis Scott Key was not a musician, he was a poet. But Washington does love Irish music, and our National Symphony Orchestra is the best!)