Remembering Renée Geyer: a wonderfully honest, all-round talented music icon
I remember first seeing Renée Geyer perform Stares & Whispers on Countdown’s 100th episode and knowing this was a talented force to be reckoned with.
I remember hearing classic soul covers on the radio – like Ain’t No Sunshine, If Loving You Is Wrong and It’ a Man’s Man’s Man’s World – and while not fully knowing what the songs stood for at age 7, simply knowing their messages were urgent, judging from the insistent husky vocals.
I remember joining forces with my little sister and cousins Nella & Amanda to perform lip-synced stage shows to catchy songs in Say I Love You and Do You Know What I Mean.
I remember being way impressed by a voice that went from husky and deep to high and sweet in a matter of seconds and wondering who in the hell this diversely talented singer was.
I remember reading about “a white Hungarian Jew from Australia sounding like a 65-year-old black man from Alabama” then hearing that voice regularly in the background of songs by Sting, Chaka Khan, Toni Childs and Joe Cocker.
I remember styling Renée for a story in Cream magazine, when she was a much bigger woman and where she complained that the Nicola Finetti dress I’d hoped to squeeze her into just wasn’t going to make the shoot. Instead, we made do with a split skirt and long Nicola scarf.
I remember Renée phoning me later that night to tell me Celine Dion was on the news wearing a man’s suit backwards and that Renée herself would rather not promote fashion at all if she had to wear something as silly as that on camera.
I remember Renée performing at the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney, realising she still had the vocal goods and that cool stage presence all these decades on.
I remember Renée Geyer being somewhat of a ‘Difficult Woman’ at times – but that was only if you didn’t do your professional job, well, professionally.
I remember Renée Geyer enjoying the ‘Sweet Life’ as much as she could, and telling it like it was if anyone tried to turn parts of that life into anything sour.
I remember a wonderful, honest-to-God, all-round talented music icon who will always be a part of Australian – no the world’s music history.
Rest in peace, Renée Geyer. Thank you for the memorable music.
Renée Geyer passed away this morning, 17th January 2023, from complications following hip surgery. While in hospital, it was discovered Renée also had inoperable lung cancer. She was in no pain and died peacefully amongst family and friends.
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