This is frustrating... I had just gotten 3-4 paragraphs into my response and accidentally hit some key I've yet to isolate as being 'the' one that makes everything just disappear
. So, starting over...
My mind has covered a lot of ground since reading these two threads regarding NEeMA... so, more or less, taking it from the top.
When someone first compared Anjani and NEeMA, I felt Avi's response to that posting made appropriate and relevant distinctions between them. Apples and oranges... pineapples and pomegranates.
With lightning's and her sister's wondering what ever happened with Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell, as the kind of women who accompanied or were influenced by Leonard in years gone by, please correct me if I'm wrong, but as I recall, they were the established artists and Leonard was the newcomer back then. Hence, their own levels of professional development were already quite well in place. During those years, folk songs and folk singing were also very much the norm, so there was much practice, much exposure, and much development of the style, whether singing, playing the guitar, or songwriting.
I'm not sure where or with whom the term "protege" surfaced, but that has never really been my understanding of the relationship between Leonard and Nadine. For me, that word suggests a far greater focus on and intention of development of another in one's own style or at least heavy influence.
My impression has been that Nadine, the person and woman, has had priorities quite apart from being a professional performer and has actively pursued those other sides of herself. She has had a longtime interest in writing, but not necessarily for the purpose of putting herself on the musical map. Her themes have seemed quite personal. Love has always been of great interest to me, as well... and it doesn't always have to have universal application to be enjoyable. I immensely admire Nadine for the other pursuits she has had in her life and what I perceive as her personal values. It could easily be that Leonard does as well. She has come to performing somewhat late in the arc of her life.
When I briefly met Nadine in Las Vegas, I was very positively impressed. I liked her a lot and instinctively wanted her to do well. It was just one of those human responses that we have when we meet someone we like. We want the best for them. We also want them to be able to be themselves. I have no reason to believe that Leonard wouldn't have felt the same way when he met her.
I'd like a show of hands on who wouldn't appreciate Leonard lending them a hand with their writing, poetry, songwriting, singing, musicianship, or simply being in life. Who wouldn't appreciate Leonard putting in print a good word about them and their endeavours. [Hmmm... not seeing many hands...
] With what I've read, though, it appears that Leonard focused on the importance of Nadine listening to her own heart and remaining herself, as he and the other gentleman offered their input and their growth-oriented suggestions and exercises.
It's a bitter pill to swallow that there will really, truly, only be one Leonard Cohen. It's not fair or realistic to expect that anyone is going to replicate him [male or female] or even come close. We didn't come this far for his beauty for all that he uniquely offers just to expect that someone else will 'be there' too, simply because he became a part of their life and their interests and offered what he could without just taking over.
One of the problems, though, is that once the asset of Leonard's involvement gets added into the mix, the 'liability of sorts' can emerge, as well, with the bar for excellence and Leonard-likeness getting raised a hundred floors... and unfair comments such as "one would expect more from a protege of Leonard's . . . " [re: Nadine] or "she's riding on his coattails... " [re: Anjani] being non-value added; when, in fact, each woman has simply been being herself... and the EXPECTATIONS have come from others not involved. Leonard's involvement in Nadine's musical pursuits aren't necessarily going to 'transform' her musical development and catapult her to stardom... and Leonard's involvement in Anjani's musical pursuits aren't going to divert all that her own experience, learning, and skills brought to that musical table. From what I've seen, Leonard has allowed each woman to be her own musical self. He acquiesced to the great ideas that Anjani had and encouraged her to take them further; and he has encouraged Nadine to develop in particular ways, yet has also reminded her to remain true to herself, as well. He hasn't tried to turn either of them into a 'mini-Leonard Cohen.' He's been their friend.
I LOVE Anjani's voice and presentation and am looking forward to her new album as I wholeheartedly believe that she will be surprizing many with her personal variations in singing. She may not always be so mellow, as we found her to be with Blue Alert... her distinctive mark on that album of which I will never tire. To me, she also has a genius for melodies and I hope she finds greater exposure with that particular ability.
I look forward to seeing Nadine perform one day and look forward to her own musical and writing development. She seems to have come a long way already. Her and Anjani's and Leonard's paths have been remarkably different from one another and, in that fact, they are distinct individuals... each with their own unique and highly admirable qualities. I like them all and I wish them all only the very best as they strive to be themselves.
No doubt, I'll remember all the other things I wanted to say here, but for now, this will do [I think
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde