To say I was a fan of you would be inadequate. To say I am a student would be much closer to the truth.
I was a child that never met my father. The only thing I ever really knew about him was that he was a musician. Some part of me needed something from him, so I fashioned myself as a musician. I would use it as a way to cope, to ground myself. Music can go anywhere, and as a poor kid, the fact that singing was free let me “be someone” even just if for myself. I would sing along with the radio, on the school bus and for the few friends I had. I thought I was pretty good. Then I heard you sing. I was blown away. “How does he reach these notes eith such ferocity?” So, every day I would play music and stand directly in front of the speaker, singing directly into it, in an effort to match your pitch and tone, attempting to find some greater secret. I learned so much about the craft I hold so dear to my heart from you. Music is still my release- it still keeps my soul safe from crushing depression. You have so much to do with this. You saved me. I know there are countless stories like mine that have you as the protagonist. It’s a wonderful testament to how many lives you touched- changed for the better. Thank you for that.
When I heard the news you were gone, I felt empty. You seemed immortal; untouchable; a constant in the universe. I listened to Euphoria Mourning, Seasons, and Sunshower on repeat, poring over your lyrics over and over. I found new meaning, exhilaration, and many, many tears singing along with one of my oldest friends whom I’d never met.
When I’m down is my favorite song to sing. Thank you for the gift you shared with all of us. I am so sorry what the muse of the tortured would eventually lead you to. In a small way, I feel a bit guilty that something that brought me so much joy and stability in my life cost you yours. It’s not enough to say thank you, but it’s all I can give. So thank you, a million times a million times.