Tenor Jerry Hadley died a year ago today. He was a gifted singer, but towards the end of his life he struggled with a number of vocal and personal problems.
In re-reading an obituary in the Los Angeles Times, I was inspired by several quotes of Jerry from previous interviews.
On the beginning of his career:
I had to let go of a tremendous amount of fear. I had to let go of a tremendous amount of physical tension that was brought on by wanting to do it [sing] so much. I had to let go of the feeling that I had to prove myself all the time. (Florida’s Orlando Sentinel, 1999)
On taking a break from singing several years ago to recover from the breakup of his marriage:
A wounded bird cannot sing. It was tough. It was emotionally distressing, and it goes straight to the throat. So I took some time off and sat in the quiet for a while.
I never really understood how inseparable was the journey of the spirit and the journey of singing and making music. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t see a way forward. But I came out on the other side of it with a deeper appreciation of what a great gift and great opportunities God has given me. (Australia’s Courier-Mail, 2007)
What strikes me most is Jerry’s understanding that singing is as much about soul as it is sound, and musical growth requites as much self-awareness as it does talent and technique.