What if life was one big adventure? There are voices that makes hearts sing and fills one with an inexplicable sense of hope each time you hear them. A voice that brings tears from the sheer joy of the lyrics being expressed in its purest, truest form. Linda Ronstadt took her fans and her music on the most fanatical journey of all as the first artist to top the Pop, Country, and R&B charts simultaneously. She won 10 Grammy ® Awards, 26 nominations, 28 studio albums, three American Music Awards®, two Academy of Country Music Awards®, Co-Starred on Broadway in Joseph Papp’s revival of Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta The Pirates of Penzance, earning a Tony nomination and attained a level of stardom that only happens once in a lifetime. Her voice is nothing short of phenomenal, could literally embrace every genre of music the industry has to offer and has been silenced since 2011 due to Parkinson’s disease.
Producer James Keach is an expert at bringing to life the stories of American recording artists like Glen Campbell (I’ll Be Me) and David Crosby (Remember My Name) to the silver screen with empathy, class and grace who says that Ronstadt’s resonance as a singer comes from a place inside that defies evaluation with Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice. “It’s one thing to be able to sing a certain style of music,” says Keach, “or to have a great voice and know what can be done with it. But Linda has this power — that’s the key word, power — and it’s of a magnitude you frankly don’t expect. It can be overwhelming. It sounds like an incredibly trained voice, and yet she’s not trained. She trained herself. It’s a mystery, really.”
The only other artist I know of who has even come close to accomplishing what Ronstadt has is Lady Gaga. Both has defied the odds changing their style and image while becoming global superstars in the most unconventional of methods. I literally went out and bought the entire Linda Ronstadt catalog after watching this doc and found myself singing along with the same glee and joy I had when I first heard ‘Blue Bayou‘, ‘Desperado’ or that duet on Motown 25 with Smokey Robinson of ‘Tears of a Clown.’
Using a treasure trove of archival material, concert footage, TV/stage appearances, home movies, behind-the-scenes photographs and films — Directors Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein track Ronstadt’s family lineage, her childhood in Tucson, Arizona; her emergence in the 60’s California music scene with the Stone Poneys and ultimately the solo work that established her into a global superstar.
Massively proud of her Mexican heritage, In 1987, Ronstadt released Canciones de Mi Padre (“Songs of My Father”), a collection of traditional Mexican Mariachi music, folk songs, and ballads which she had heard her father, Gilbert. Says Keach, “That album…was a true affirmation of who Linda is. It’s about that authenticity that grows throughout her life, and the more successful Linda became, the more authentic she became. I know so many people who didn’t even know she was Latina, and yet that heritage is so vital to her.”
This doc will leave you little nostalgic, hopeful and inspired by the tenacity and resilience of this legend especially watching a scene where she sings once again with her family proving that you are only counted out if YOU count yourself out of the game. Linda Ronstadt illustrates that live can always be lived on your own terms and you can judge for yourself when CNN Films releases this gem on September 6th.