Dame Shirley Bassey ‘couldn’t sing’ after daughter’s death
Dame Shirley Bassey "couldn’t sing" for six months after her daughter’s tragic death.
Samantha Novak was found face down in the River Avon in Bristol, England, in 1985 at the age of just 21, and her music legend mother has revealed she found the ordeal so "devastating" that she lost the ability to sing until vocal coach Helena Shenel re-trained her.
In an upcoming TV interview with David Walliams – which will air on Christmas Eve (12.24.16) to mark her 80th birthday on January 8 – the ‘Big Spender’ hitmaker said: "It was just devastating. I went home and after a week of being alone I woke up one day and said, ‘I have to go back on stage, this is killing me’. I don’t know what I would have done with myself.
"And then came the show, and I walked on the stage and I opened my mouth to sing ‘Goldfinger’ – nothing came out.
"What had happened was, instead of staying home and grieving and getting it out my system, that I was singing it (grief) through the songs and I probably wasn’t breathing in the right places and panicking.
"For six months I couldn’t sing at all. Then a vocal coach – Helena Shenel, who I thank so much – I just worked with Helena doing these vocal exercises strengthening my vocal cords, and after the year she said, ‘Do you know, I’ve discovered you’ve got another octave that you never use. I’ve never heard you sing that high!’
"And she did my spirit the world of good and my soul, and I went back on stage."
The death of Samantha – who was the second daughter born to Shirley and her then husband Sergio Novak, who also share children Sharon and Mark together – was ruled as a suicide by the coroner, saying she died from shock due to unexpected submersion into cold water, with no evidence of foul play.
However, the ‘Never Never Never’ singer has maintained the belief that her death was due to something more sinister.
In 2009, Shirley said: "I never believed that [it was suicide] … if she’d jumped off the bridge, all her bones would have been broken.
"But there was not a bone broken. She did not have a mark on her. She didn’t have any water in her lungs. If someone’s drowning, they gasp, don’t they?
"It’s bothered me all this time. Because if she didn’t have any bruises or broken bones, where did she fall? And if she didn’t fall from the bridge… My imagination goes wild."