It's very difficult to make a living off of a career in music. All it really comes down to is catching the right break, hoping lady luck smiles on you. If not all you can do is cash your check, buy a bottle of jack, and keep going with the flow. At least that's what i thought. Until I met Evie. Some people don't need luck. Some people are born to change the world. I truly believe that now.
Her father brought her into this shabby little music shop that I was working for, I was retired and teaching lessons out of this tiny little back room. I'd been a sound engineer for the past 30 odd years; worked with some very skilled session musicians and famous artists. But I never had the raw talent to succeed on my own as a musician. I was a talented, but I never had the songwriting ability, that spark that pushes people past playing in grungy bars and nightclubs. But I couldn't complain. I have a wife and two beautiful daughters at home and there's worse jobs a man could have.
Evie was a strange girl, very reserved and very quiet. She began taking guitar lessons with me at the age of seven-teen. And I've never seen somebody pick up an instrument as quickly as she did. But forget that - she could sing. Her speaking voice was very quiet and monotone, But even at that age her singing voice had this beautiful ringing harsh quality to it. Like those old rock bands from the 70s that people like to dig out of their record collections every now and then -- the type of voice that could make you feel just about every emotion in the book all at the same time. But mostly there was this deep tragic sadness to everything she sang, I got the sense that things weren't great for her at home.
By the time she was nine-teen she had progressed wildly past anything I could teach her. She had gone from strumming and singing simple songs like "Hey Jude" to belting out notes that classically trained vocalists couldn't even dream of hitting; and she had even began to write her own songs. Music was her passion. It was absolutely the only thing she cared about.
Her talent blew me away; hell it even made me feel a little jealous. Think about that. A 40 something year old man jealous of a little girl. At this point I realized that there was nothing I could do but get her to start playing in front of other people. I had some connections from my engineering days and I knew if I could get her to record some songs or play some live shows she would become something. No question of luck. She was one of those people that are just born to be famous.
But Evie didn't want her songs recorded. She told me she didn't think they were good enough. That there was no way that someone who looked or sounded like her could ever become famous. Here she was a virtuoso telling a talent-less hack like me she couldn't do it. I don't think her parents were very supportive. I wanted to help but there was only so much I could do, I was only her music teacher after everything was said and done.
After what seemed like endless pleading I finally got her on stage. And it was magic. Her first performance, and it was like the crowd in that dingy little bar was completely star-struck by this girl. Not only did she have the talent but she had that stage-presence that only those who've seen the likes of great artists on stage can truly understand. And she had the look too. Things just started rolling down-hill at full throttle after that. She began playing more live gigs and within 3 months she was signed by a record label, and within a few more had recorded her first album.
Looking back I realize that all i really did was give her the proper motivation to become what she needed to be. She didn't need me more than she needed anyone else. I used to believe that the life of an artist was some impossible dream, but now i realize that there are those who are meant to become someone great. That some are just born to be an influence, and that all they really need is a push in the right direction.
Why is it that creating great art always seems to come from a dark place? Evie had begun opening up to me about her home life. Her parents were very distant people. They were artistic as well but were so self absorbed in their own passions that they had hardly any interest in their own daughter. I could tell that she felt very unloved and isolated. It broke my heart. But what could I do?
When Evie left to tour off the success of her first album, I had tears in my eyes. I was so proud of her but at the same time it felt like I was losing a daughter. And her going out on the road made me feel worried as hell. I knew what it was like out there.
At first things were great, but I should've known what would happen at this point. All the signs were there. Evie started losing control. I'd call her and she'd call me every now and then, just to see how things were going; but as time went on it seemed like there was something off about her voice. I started to suspect she might be getting involved in drugs. She started calling me less and less, and soon the only news I'd hear about her was through the news. Very scandalous stories. Drug overdose scares aplenty and not so flattering pictures. I gave up on trying to call her, I was very angry at her and very sad at the same time. How could she take a talent like hers and throw it away like this?
She released a long streak of successful albums. Smashing many billboard charts and age old records that hadn't been touched since the 60s and 70s. Her music was wildly eclectic and innovative. Not only did she have the voice but her songwriting had such a unique and fresh sound. Exactly what a stale radio market needed. But decide the seemingly effortless success of her career her personal life just seemed to continue into an endless downward spiral.
As the years passed I couldn't help but feel guilty. I pushed her into performing after all. I started to feel like the things she was doing were my fault. Like I was a bad parent. I tried to get into contact with her. To get her into rehab but it was all to no avail. When you're handed that much power at such a young age no way are you going to listen to some old man. I knew there was only one way things could go from there.
Drug overdose. Some new kind of pill that all of these famous celebrities and musicians are doing. When I saw the news that she was really dead I felt like my soul had been ripped out of me. Like somebody had cut out my heart and lit it on fire. And the worst thing about it was she had left a good chunk of her sizable fortune to me in her will. I felt like it was some kind of big joke. What had I done to earn that money? And I realized that I was one of the few that really knew her. When you become famous people become obsessed with the idea of you, not who you really are. And when you become dead and famous? Everyone likes to think they know you but at the point your just whatever icon the world wants you to be.
Whatever the case is I know we'll all be spinning Evie's records for a long, long time. Maybe that's all that really matters. That one beautiful piece of her lives on, and makes the world feel a little bit brighter.