Connecting with Your Favorite Dead Artist

For some people, their favorite artist has been long dead, and yet the way they connect to their artistry it’s as if they’re here having a personal conversation.

By now there have been so many artists who have made huge waves in their fields. There’s a rich history of people using their artistry for the betterment of the world and connecting to the audience on such a personal level. Unfortunately, over the past century or so, most of these artists that people still connect to deeply are now gone. Whether you knew of them when they were alive or fell in love with their work after they were no longer alive, that connection is just as real.


Long Live the Artist

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Muhammad suryanto/shutterstock

It’s so fascinating to think that after some famous person has passed you can look up their entire life story, at least on a superficial level, and see where they grew up, what their childhood was like, and what path they followed or made their own to success. When you check out Queen on Spotify, as of early 2022, they still have more than 36 million listeners per month. It’s been over two decades since the legend Freddie Mercury passed away, yet his voice still resonates with so many people. Easily one of the greatest voices in music ever, Freddie had such a shiny personality when he was alive that people couldn’t help but fall in love. Whether you’re a new fan or you maybe even saw Freddie alive and performing on stage, this connection is just beyond comprehension.


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Ralf Liebhold/shutterstock

David Bowie died more recently in 2016, but his music will obviously live on forever. Another personality that’s just so easy to fall in love with, Bowie is one of the best-selling artists of all time for a good reason. For the listeners who adore Bowie’s music and relate to his struggles at his late stage with an incurable sickness, listening to his last album Blackstar is a heavy journey. Being aware that one is going to die soon and yet choosing to make art once again because that’s who they are as an artist and as a person, that’s special.


There Are Many Great Examples

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There are many ways upon which listeners connect to an artist’s work after they’re gone. It’s a bit sad to think about but in reality, listeners connect a lot more to an artist’s struggles than successes. Amy Whinehouse struggled with alcohol and drug addiction for much of her short life. Though she died so young, her work in retrospect has taken a whole new meaning. The greatness with which she poured her soul into her work will always be a comforting, dark, and ultimately perhaps even necessary listen to those fans who will remember her name for as long as they live. One of the most important artists to represent something bigger than just one person’s lifestyle is Katharine Hepburn. Not only did she work until the ripe age of 87, but the way she lived her life not conforming to a patriarchal society that demanded specific things from women was and still is inspiring to many. She was a trendsetter and her overall feminist attitude broke barriers. Additionally, you know someone is a key figure in history when the world is still making films and shows about them. Such is the case with another one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Aretha Franklin. Again, how much someone like Aretha Franklin means to some people can’t be measured. When you’re one of the first to break through social barriers and fight off prejudices that often leads to forming deep unbreakable connections with the people listening to what you have to say and enjoying your art.

There are so many more examples of greatness living on forever in every field of art or sport. Diego Maradona is another great example. One of the greatest footballers of all time, his legacy will forever live on even though he’s gone. At times it does feel like some people are not appreciated enough while they’re still here. You often can read the responses when an artist dies and it’s like the rise in popularity every time after death. It’s probably best we acknowledge the greatness of those still living, like Sir Elton John or Julie Andrews.


Whatever the case may be, living on through work and artistry for many is considered a privilege. It’s not a mark in history that most people get to leave. Yet, those who do are usually worth remembering and celebrating because even though they are not living today our connection to them is very much alive.


Illustration: delcarmat/shutterstock


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