Over the break I heard a song from Nicolette Larson that I hadn’t heard for a few years. I downloaded the song and sang it in the shower, doing the washing up, getting dressed and folding the towels.
I looked her up on Wikipedia and was saddened to find she died at the age of 45. I read her discography, surprised she had played second fiddle for most, of her career. Even her chart-topping song Lotta Love was a Neil Young cover.
I’m not saying she failed, but we don’t set out in life to be a back-up singer. Most people aim for more than that. Whether we get there is another topic entirely.
But she kept trying. She persisted with the tough American charts, even trying her hand in the country music arena to moderate success, but was usually back-up singer on soundtracks or other people’s albums.
I admired her valour. Yes, she did succumb, moving into Nashville’s charts, but at least she lived and died doing what she was best at — being herself, singing. No matter who was listening.
Recently, my friend confided his relationship worry to me. He was confused and upset. “Just be who are, it’s what you know best and it’s the only way through the riddle my friend..sleep well..x,” I said to him via text to tuck him into bed.
To not be yourself and allow another to drive a relationship is destructive to both sides. It is fraught with danger. When you get comfortable around each other, suddenly one person changes — after you’ve spent months getting to know them.
Nicolette and my friend have taught me something. In her case, it was okay to play back-up to others. Perhaps she was happy with her lot in life — she was releasing albums till her death.  In my mate’s case, he isn’t happy playing second fiddle and in my opinion he deserves much more than that.
It’s gonna take a lotta love to make this work out right.

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