People I Know and/or Admire

Happy Rhodes

"I don't sing because I've found it, I sing because I'm looking for it."
Serenading Genius

I adore Happy. I listen to her recordings often and they are among the very few that I never tire of. Her voice has an astonishing range from a rich contralto to a breathy high soprano, often in harmony with each other. If you hear someone ask "Who's that guy singing with Kate Bush?" (a comment from her long-time producer, Kevin Bartlett), they're both Happy.

Aside from being a superb singer, her songs have a unique quality of dark beauty. It is fairly obvious that she suffers from depression and existential angst and that she uses her emotional depths as a source for her art. Having said that, there is also such clarity and grace that her melancholy seems at some level to delight her, to be a sort of ornate gift. She's the kind of person who doesn't work easily with others - she has her own vision and she knows how to make it happen and she'd just as soon you wouldn't interfere. If you can't help, just get out of her way. At the same time she craves recognition and understanding. I think she gets a lot of emotional support from her fiercely loyal cult of devotees (of which I consider myself one) - perhaps more than she'd like to admit.

Anywhere you, here or beyond
Nothing will stop me from finding what dream you're on
Now that I am whole, part of me is gone
The ages-long fear of extinction.

-from Looking over cliffs

Happy's lyrics are sometimes mythical, sometimes psychotherapeutic. They are about alienation and control and hope. I think of her music as equivalent to science fiction; not in any overt way, but in the way it plays with my mind.

I have resonance with Happy on so many levels. She abandoned the traditional education system to follow her bliss and to succeed on her own terms. She is a Star Trek fan (TNG, of course). She sometimes suffers debilitating bouts of depression and anxiety, but when she immerses herself in her music, she is healed. See her web site at Auntie Social Music and buy her music.