GEELONG, AUS (CelebrityAccess) – Renée Geyer, considered one of the best jazz and soul singers in Australia, has died due to complications from hip surgery. Independent music and entertainment company Mushroom Group announced her death in a statement. She was 69.
“It is with immense sadness that we announce that Renée Geyer has passed away from complications following hip surgery. While in the hospital, it was discovered that Renée also had inoperable lung cancer. She was in no pain and died peacefully amongst family and friends. Renée is one of the most highly regarded singers in contemporary music – her unique vocal sound influences countless singers to this day,” the statement read in part.
It continued, “Renée was irrepressible, cheeky and loyal and her musical legacy speaks for itself, with her performing and recording career spanning five decades. She was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2013, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Music Victoria Hall of Fame; and she received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Women in Music Awards in 2018.”
It concluded, “Renée lived her life as she performed – on her terms and to the fullest. Beloved and respected, she was a force of nature and a national treasure, and her passing leaves a giant void in the Australian music industry. We would like to thank the staff at the University Hospital Geelong for their care and consideration. In place of flowers, Renée would have preferred donations be made to Support Act to give back to an industry that loved her so much.”
Geyer began her singing career as a teenager in the 1970s. She had four albums under her belt before the 70s ended. Her 1977 album, Moving Along, was the first released internationally and included collaborations with Ray Parker, Jr. and Funk Brother James Jamerson.
Geyer’s songs were initially embraced in the US by black radio, under the assumption that she was a black woman. However, Geyer insisted that her face is left on the album cover, and then the stations stopped playing her music, The Guardian reports.
“My sound caused a lot of confusion. Black people were hailing it, but being white got in the way. And white people simply didn’t know what to do with me because I sounded too black,” she wrote in her 2000 memoir, Confessions of a Difficult Woman.
Geyer was known for taking the hard line and tendency to speak her mind, as evidenced by the name of her memoir, mentioned above.
She famously slapped interviewer Molly Meldrum in the face while live on air and was always candid about her struggles with heroin addiction in the 1970s and 1980s. In her memoir, Geyer revealed she had been resuscitated three times after overdosing and had undergone several abortions. “At the times I got pregnant, I was not responsible enough to have a child,” she said in an interview. “I regretted it every time I’ve had to do it, but I have no qualms about doing it.”
Geyer was known for her songs “It’s a Man’s Man’s World” and “Say I Love You.”
In addition to her solo work, Geyer contributed to songs by Neil Diamond, Sting, and Men at Work, among others. Her 2003 release, Tenderland hit No. 11 on the ARIA albums chart.
She never married or had any children. Tonedeaf reports that details of her memorial will be forthcoming.