A tribute to Nancy LaMott

I do not believe in coincidences. I believe that our minds somehow connect to seemingly unrelated matters. It’s a synchronicity of sorts, an intangible, illogical, but no less meaningful phenomenon.

I say this to let you know that I had one such experience last night while thinking about a topic for today’s blog.

While my husband and I were returning home from a holiday party, we listened to one of my favorite CDs, Nancy LaMott singing at Tavern on The Green.

As with any artist, when what he or she creates touches my soul – and, in LaMott’s case, it’s the absolute beauty of her voice and the tenderness of her spirit – there’s hardly a time when I don’t listen to her and become teary.

It is a tragedy that she died far too young from cancer at age forty-three, but my tears are ones of joy at the absolute beauty of her voice and her particular interpretation of every song she sings. My tears are never tears of pity, because LaMott’s courage and ability to become one of the leading cabaret singers of the 1990s did not prevent the CDs of her performances from being an incredible gift that was left to us. When I listen, she remains more than alive. She is a living treasure.

I never saw her in concert. In fact, I didn’t discover her until a few years ago, yet she has become a staple for my heart, a comfort to my being. To honor her best, I choose to remember her as she described herself, a woman who deeply believed in life’s infinite possibilities. The fact that she is extremely popular today is a testimony to that belief as well as to her infinite talent. For me, personally, she never ceases to feed my soul and warm my heart when singing my favorite Irving Berlin, Ira Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Stephen Sondheim, and Cole Porter songs, to name a few.

In that spirit, I want to share the message of a song written for her by the film and theatre composer and lyricist David Friedman. “HELP IS ON THE WAY” As she says in her introductory remarks, she asked Friedman to create a song that would give people HOPE.

It was while listening to that particular song – during this holiday season and with the New Year approaching – that I felt compelled to pay a personal tribute to her in my blog today.

What I didn’t know – until I looked up her bio before writing this – is that she passed away on December 13th 1995. December 13th, the day I am choosing to honor her. So, once again, I believe there is nothing coincidental about my listening to her for the umpteenth time last night and deciding that today would be the day I wished to thank her … and to share with you Friedman’s song. (I hope you will now feel propelled to gift yourself and listen to her sing it):

“Don’t give up the ship even when you think it’s sinking … and you don’t know what to do .

Don’t give up your dream even though you may be thinking it never will come true . Life has its own ideas of how things come about; and if you just hang in there, life is gonna work it out .

Help is on the way from places you don’t know about today. From friends you may not have met yet. Believe me when I say … I know. Help is on the way.
You don’t have to know where the path you’re on is leading . You just have to walk along, dreaming as you go, asking for the things you’re needing; you never can go wrong . If you have faith that things are happening as they should and just believe each step you take is leading you to something good …

Help is on the way from places you don’t know about today . From friends you may not have met yet . Believe me when I say … I know. Help is on the way.
So open your heart . Open your mind . No matter how you’ve tried and failed , tomorrow you could turn and find that … Help is on the way from places you don’t know about today. From friends you may not have met yet. Believe me when I say … I know. Help is on the way!”

With thanks to David Friedman for writing the song and, most importantly, to Nancy LaMott for enriching my life and giving me hope, I pass that hope along to you with wishes that you enjoy your holidays, count your blessings, and appreciate the talent of those who have shared and others who continue to share their artistry with us.

Have a great week!

~ Linda

1 Comment

  • Lori says:

    Nancy LaMott is one of my favorite singers. I first heard her many years ago. I was in the Gramercy Bakery when on their radio was a song "Not Exactly Paris" sung by someone with the most haunting voice. When I returned home I researched who was singing it, found out it was Nancy LaMott, and immediately bought her cd, "Listen to My Heart." On it is another of my favorite songs, "I'll Be Here With You."
    After reading your blog, I put on the cd and once again got teary-eyed by her amazing interpretations of beautiful songs.
    It has been a while since I listened to her. Thanks for reminding me.