Star Robbed Of Her Voice For 30 Years Nominated For Two Awards
10 February 2017 Entertainment
Folk star Shirley Collins, who was robbed of her voice for 30 years by an emotional crisis, has been nominated for two Radio 2 Folk Awards.
The 81-year-old is up for singer of the year, while Lodestar, her first record since 1978, is up for best album.
Collins was an immensely important figure in Britain’s folk-rock scene in the 1960s, thanks to her pared-down singing style and strong storytelling.
But her career was cut short by the end of her marriage in the late 1970s.
The star’s second husband, Ashley Hutchings, left her for a young actress who took to showing up at Collins’ performances.
One night, during a performance of Lark Rise at London’s National Theatre, she froze on-stage and found herself unable to sing.
“It was humiliating,”she told Newman last year. There were nights when I opened my mouth nothing would come out, or just a few croaks would come out.
“It went on night after night after night, for far too long. I was trying to sing through tears. I was just in a state.”
“I never lost the desire to sing,” she added. “It was really heartbreaking for me not to be able to. [But] I couldn’t even sing indoors. I couldn’t sing to myself.”
Collins developed a form of dysphonia, a condition often associated with psychological trauma.
In the years that followed, she wrote books while working in charity shops and a job centre “for five ghastly years” to support herself.
But her music was discovered by a younger generation of fans – including Blur’s Graham Coxon and the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy – and, eventually, she was coaxed back onto the stage, releasing her new album to wide acclaim last year.
Sarah Gimba Americanmusic, awards, Folkstar, Radio2Folkawards, Shirleycollins, Star Robbed