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Eva Cassidy Biography

Home > Music > C > Cassidy, Eva > Biography

Birth Name: Eva Marie Cassidy
Born: 1963/02/02
Birth Place: Maryland, United States
Died: 1996/11/02
Years Active: 1981–1996
Genres: Jazz, Blues, Folk, Gospel And Pop

Eva Cassidy was born February 2, 1963 in Washington, DC and was a singer and guitarist whose style incorporated jazz, blues, folk, gospel, country and pop music. Cassidy showed an interest in music from an early age. When she was 9 years old her father began to teach her to play the guitar, and by the time she was 11 years old, Cassidy began singing and playing guitar in the band, Easy Street. In High School, Cassidy sang with the band, Stonehenge, and decided to pursue music seriously.

As the 1980s emerged, Cassidy played with a series of bands, including Characters Without Names. 1986 saw Cassidy collaborate with David Lourim on the project, Method Actor. This project led Cassidy to meeting bass player and music engineer Chris Biondo. Biondo and Cassidy formed a five-piece ensemble, “Eva Cassidy Band” with Lenny Williams, Keith Grimes and Raice McLeod in 1990. The band got their start playing local venues in and around the Washington D.C. area.

Cassidy's debut album, “The Other Side,” arrived in 1992. Despite being a household name in her native Washington DC, and releasing 11 albums to date, Cassidy was a virtual unknown throughout the rest of the U.S., but a hit in England, where her rendition of “Over the Rainbow” won her an avid following.

1993 saw Cassidy honored by the Washington Area Music Association, winning two Wammie Awards, in the Best Vocalist Jazz/Traditional category and in the Best Roots Rock/Traditional R&B category. A deal from Blue Note Records emerged, followed by another record offer from Apollo Records, both of which collapsed. 1996 saw a self-released live album from Cassidy, “Live at Blues Alley.” Cassidy was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to her lungs and bones in 1996. She opted for aggressive treatment, however, when chemotherapy became ineffective, Cassidy succumbed to the illness on November 2, 1996, just 33 years of age at the time of her death.

Cassidy next album, “Eva by Heart,” was released posthumously in 1997. Her 1998 compilation album, “Songbird,” peaked at #1 on the U.K. and Irish Albums charts, three years after its initial release, which elevated her worldwide recognition. Since her death, Cassidy has posthumously amassed three #1 albums in the U.K.