RENEE AUSTIN BOWS OUT WITH DIGNITY...
I got up this morning like every other, of course with it being Christmas/New Years break for my daughter she was planted in front of the TV and ready for her breakfast, I do love to cook her breakfast so once she was good and eating, I headed up here to my computer to check my email, my myspace page to read messages, bulletins and the like and try and get a little bit of work done.
As I was settling in I got a notification in my main email and went and checked it out; it was sent from the ‘archangel’ on behalf of one of my dearest friends and one of the best singers I have ever heard, the following is the body of that email:
(from Reneé Austin)
I want to start by thanking all of my friends, family, fellow musicians, and fans for all the love and support you have given me over the years. As most of you know I released my second CD with Blind Pig Records “Right About Love” on August 16th. It is a piece of me that I am very proud of and a culmination of lots of hard work from many people.
As some of you know I had to have surgery on September 13th to remove a lump on my thyroid gland. I feel blessed to be able to tell you that I am doing fine and the lump turned out to be cancer free. I regret to inform you all that as a result of the surgery my left vocal chord has been left paralyzed and is not working. The result of this is I can talk softly but I cannot sing.
In the last couple of weeks after lots of medical opinions and various hospital visits my condition has been diagnosed as likely permanent. This means that I probably will never be able to sing again. I am working hard with a speech therapist to see if I can beat the odds and God willing raise my voice in song once again someday. Until that time comes I must say goodbye to you all as a singer and thank you again for all of the love and support you have given me.
I thank God for the opportunities He gave me to live out my dream even if only for small window of time. I trust that He has a plan for my life and whatever that is, I will put my heart and soul into it just as I did my music.
From the bottom of my heart – please know I thank all of you for your kindness to me and I will remember it always. May God Bless each of you.
As I read my heart broke, it felt as though I had been punched in the stomach and I cried a bit.
I met Reneé nearly 10 years ago here in the Twin Cities and immediately fell for her, and in the time since she has earned my undying admiration, respect and love as one of the truly finest people I have ever encountered on this planet, She is a genuinely compassionate spirit, filled with joy and love for every one she passes.
A few years ago when my daughter (then about 2 and a half) was in the hospital for 8 nights and 7 days, Reneé came by to have lunch with us one day and wound up staying nearly 6 hours going into the play room, finger painting, using the play dough, playing with the Lego’s, the kitchen toys and countless other things simply taking some of the stress off of me. My daughter loves her very much, they’ve spent time playing Barbie’s together, She is one of her very favorite baby sitters and good friends. We planned her 4th birthday around a show Reneé did here in town at an all ages venue and every one had a wonderful time.
As a performer Reneé is amazing; sweet and sexy, with a voice that could peel the paint off the walls as it lulls you into submission, she would capture you in her spell as she weaves in and out of styles, blending seamlessly, R&B, Blues, Soul, Gospel, Country, Rock and more, she’d dance, sway, flirt, play guitar, piano, tambourine all the while wowing nearly every person in every venue she ever performed with her nearly 5 octave range. She won hearts and ears town by town, stage by stage, and all the while stayed down to earth and when she’d return home would be eager to get together for lunch or to just chill, go to the park with my girl (her ’netters) or maybe just chat on the phone telling me stories of being on the road, driving ‘round in that Econo-line with the boys in the band, and with her success that traveling got more intense and stressful, now I don’t know what caused this lump in her throat, if it was just one of those things or if she over stressed it singing, or what, but I do know that the music world has (it seems) lost one of it’s brightest up and coming stars, thankfully we, (me and my family) still have one of our dearest friends.
I ask you if your reading this, show Reneé Austin your support, she has a little page in myspace at www.myspace.com/reneeaustin that you can send her your well wishes, or you can go to my web store to check out and maybe purchase and item with her image on it (any proceeds will go straight to her) at www.cafepress.com/blueswearetc . And for sure visit amazon.com or one of the other Cd sites and pick up one or both of her Blind Pig releases, Google her and look over some of the great press she’s received in the past few years since the release of her first Cd on Blind Pig (which by the way got her nominated for a WC Handy award - the Grammy of the blues world) I promise you won’t be disappointed.
My Friendship with Reneé Austin has made me a better person and after reading that email, I sent her one then I called her on the phone we talked for a bit then after we hung up, I cried a little bit more, they say these things happen for a reason and Reneé is looking forward to discovering the reason for this challenge in her live and take it on full force. If you don’t know about her, do some research and find out, she truly is one of the very finest people on this earth and I for one am privileged to be able to share it with her…
WE LOVE YOU RENEE…