One of the most important musicians of my life is gone.
I started listening to Soundgarden at the age of 16 or so, back in art school, when I was just discovering “real” music instead of just going with whatever pop hits were playing on the radio.
Soon enough, I got to see them live in Helsinki in 1995 or so. I was shy, unfamiliar with the capital city, extremely afraid of going alone… but I wanted to see them enough to overcome all this. Looking back, it might’ve not been the best concert I’ve ever seen, but it always remained one of the most important, life-changing ones.
During the following two decades I saw Chris Cornell again with Audioslave a couple of times plus during his solo gigs in Dublin, and again in Helsinki just last year – I also finally managed to meet him in person at the stage door. I was so happy, so proud to be standing there, shooting a 4 second selfie video with him, one of the biggest idols of my life.
I’ve had plenty of good times in my life, but also quite miserable ones when I’ve struggled with mental health, self-esteem, finishing high school and many other things. I’ve had my heart broken by a few boyfriends and best friends and even family. I’ve lived in 40 something addresses, never really knowing where my home is.
But his voice has always been there as a constant. He lulled me to sleep when I was having trouble sleeping, he raised the roof when I was getting tipsy on home-made wine with good friends. He’s been there when I paint, when I write, when I travel.
He and his music alone helped me discover what music really can mean to a person and how it can change a life.
Today is the first day of my adult life that he isn’t around anymore. The first day of knowing there will never be new material to add to the huge library of songs sung by one of the best rock voices in the world.
I’m sad for myself, sad for his family and beautiful children he’s often proudly posted photos of on social media.
I’m so sad. Forever sad. My heart is broken.
I wish you a beautiful journey beyond the rainbows, Mr. Cornell. I’m sure all the other legends we’ve lost will be delighted to have you in their gang.
(Whenever someone’s asked what my favorite songs of all times are, this one has come up in the top3. Always.)