"Lately I ain't been feelin' right....
And I don't know the cure, no...."
For some time now, evidently, she'd seen changes in her ability to sing...until eventually the voice was gone. Finally, after seeing a neurologist, she was quickly diagonosed with this devastating illness.
She says, when you have Parkinson's, "you can't sing a note."
Much of what I learned about singing---despite a number of years of concentrated formal training---I learned from Linda Ronstadt. I listened to every album, every song, again and again. I analized every inflection, every nuance. I tried again and again to learn to pop a note the way she did, from hard chest voice to head register. Her recordings were my constant teachers.
The power of her voice was extraordinary. It was never forced...it simply floated. By widening out into many genres of music, her voice remained flexible and was never trapped in one style. Her gift stayed recognizable and true to itself. You had only to hear a few notes, and you KNEW....this was Linda Ronstadt.
My favorites are the early recordings, which came out in my late teens to mid twenties, when I was first learning to sing....and later, the Spanish recordings, which spoke to my gringa soul...because I have a Latina heart, bien Mexicana. Oh yes. I do.
I also lost my voice some time ago, for other reasons. I can remember a time when I *actually SAID*, I'd rather lose my eyesight than lose my ability to sing. YES I DID. Wow. SO: I GET THIS. I felt grief then, for myself....and I feel it now for her. My singing talent was puny. Just *imagine* how this reality feels for Linda Ronstadt.
I learned, as time went on, that there are always other creative gifts to share. Since mine became jewelry making, so I am GLAD I did not lose my eyesight, that it was only my voice.
As for Linda Ronstadt, we were given an unbelievable, diverse body of work. We can all still continue to enjoy and marvel at it, and it's still something from which today's singers can learn. It is a tremendous legacy.
Linda Ronstadt will be appearing with Pat Morrison, an interviewer for Writer's Bloc and regular contributor to the Lost Angeles Times, on September 24, 2013 in Santa Monica, CA.
Here is more information:
She has written a book, SIMPLE DREAMS, which comes to market next month. Tickets to the above event are only 25.00.
OH....to be a fly on the wall! IF ONLY I could go, I would in a heartbeat. I hope some of my SoCal creative friends will take advantage of this opportunity, go, perhaps meet her and tell me all about it.
I am writing about Linda Ronstadt today, not only because my heart is heavy for her loss....and my own! But, more so: there is an important lesson here for all of us as artists, no matter your medium:
Sometimes IT IS WHAT IT IS.
Sometimes, you just have to switch gears, find another way. Have you hit a wall lately? Don't give up! Perhaps your journey is simply about to change. I would never have earned a dime with my singing voice, but I *have* made a living as a jewelry designer/purveyor of parts/sharer of ideas. In the long run, too, I made some people happy. It was all GOOD.
YES: Sometimes.....when a door shuts.....a window opens. I can't wait to see what window Linda Ronstadt jumps through.
And say....If you decide to go to this event.... get me a signed copy of her book, would ya?