It is something of a cliche that art is born of great tragedy. But not if you know singer-songwriter Cindy Bullens. She lost her 11-year-old daughter to cancer.
With her new CD Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth, she has channeled her grief into a collection of touching and uplifting songs dedicated to the memory of her daughter. CBS News This Morning reports.
After her daughter Jessie died of Hodgkin's disease in March 1996, Bullens didn't pick up the guitar for months. When she finally did, a song about Jessie came to her almost fully formed, followed by others over the next eight months, she says.
The result was a 10-song CD, Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth.
Bullens recorded it mostly in Nashville in 1997, with some backup vocals from her other daughter Reid, then 16, and friends including Bonnie Raitt, Bryan Adams, Beth Nielson Chapman and Lucinda Williams.
She had 1,000 copies made and sold them primarily through word of mouth and donated the proceeds to the Maine Children's Cancer Program.
In the beginning of September Artemis Records began distributing the CD after a friend of the company's president had heard her sing and passed on the word.
"Originally I didn't intend to make a record," Bullens says. "But I'm a songwriter, and I write songs to express my feelings."
Bullens also felt vulnerable making such private songs public, she says. "I wrote these songs for myself because I love my daughter and because I miss her," she notes.
"But the record has been good because it gives me a chance to go out and play the songs, and it gives me a purpose," she says.
Parents who have lost children have been writing to her after listening to the CD, she has said.
The CD seems to be reviving her recording career. The CD sold 1,225 copies in its first week, according to Artemis Records.
In 1979, Bullens was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the song "Survivor."
She also sang on the soundtrack for the movie Grease, and along with others was nominated for Album of the Year in 1978.
For more information, and to download her latest single, visit her Web site.
©1999 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved