Gemma Leahy Waddell

Gemma Leahy Waddell


As you may know, only too recently I had to share the sad news of the serious illness of Gemma Leahy Waddell

I know you will be as saddened & shocked as I was to learn of her passing.

Gemma was a huge supporter of "Hot Music Live Presents" from facilitating tracks to suggestions & general advice. Without a doubt, the youngest artists on the albums would not have appeared without her input. Normally I'd assume that they would be too young & have necessary development ahead of them before they developed their own voices. However Gemma nurtured & encouraged young talent in such a way that, although one might expect them to go through phases of emulating their heroes, they wrote & sang from the heart at an early age. This is a rare gift (no doubt linked to her other passion, education) and she kept them safe from the sharks who often circle youngsters in the music business. For many years we shall be graced by the work of so many artists she mentored & I know somewhere she'll be hearing it & delighting in their work.

Over recent years, her selfless dedication to others (and posts are already proliferating online from those she helped) meant that her own considerable talents as a writer & performer definitely took second place to spending time helping other musicians.

Last time I saw her in person, I accompanied her on one of her long daily dog walks across Newbold Comyn to the White Bridge & we never stopped talking about her work with the artists she so enjoyed. I'll hold the memory of her enthusiasm & zest for life...

Typically of Gemma, despite her operation & diagnosis, she messaged me that we would have another such walk when she was fit again, but maybe settle for tea & cake in the meantime. Sadly this was not to be, but it shows how, even when things looked so dark, her instinct was optimistic & searching for ways to overcome challenges.

Whenever I phoned her to check some detail needed for a "Hot Music Live Presents" album, I always felt guilty interrupting her as I knew how full her life was. Nevertheless, every time I got through, even when it was obvious that I'd caught her at a bad time, you'd never get a brief exchange of information: she'd want to know how things were, share news from 14 Records etc & generally chat in a friendly & relaxed way. I only wish I had her patience....

The local music scene literally will not be the same again: she genuinely held a unique role within it & "Hot Music Live Presents" is lessened by her loss. Nevertheless, the greatest blow will be to Matthew Waddell and the rest of her large & talented family, who loomed even larger in her life than music, and I'm sure you all will join me in sending them our condolences & thoughts.....


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