Powerhouse Australian jazz singer Renée Geyer dies, age 69, following health complications

Jan 18, 2023
Renée Geyer was known for her unapologetic personality and powerful, husky singing voice. Source: Getty

Australia’s queen of soul Renée Geyer has died on Tuesday, January 17, following complications from hip surgery, she was 69 years old.

The heartbreaking news was confirmed in a statement released by the singer’s record label, The Mushroom Group. According to the label, while Geyer was in hospital for hip surgery, doctors had also diagnosed her with inoperable lung cancer.

Geyer died peacefully and without pain surrounded by family and friends, her label said.

“Just last month, Renée sang to a full house and was looking forward to another busy year ahead doing what she loved most – performing for her loyal fans around the country,” the statement reads.

“Renée was irrepressible, cheeky and loyal and her musical legacy speaks for itself, with her performing and recording career spanning five decades.

“Renée lived her life as she performed – on her own terms and to the fullest. Beloved and respected, she was a force of nature and a national treasure, and her passing leaves a giant void in the Australian music industry.”

Since news of her passing broke, fellow musicians and fans of Geyer have flooded social media with tributes dedicated to the late singer.

Chief executive of The Mushroom Group, Matt Gudinski, has also released a statement on the impact Geyer had left on the Australian music industry, writing that “she was a trailblazer for women. She was fierce, independent, strong and passionate.”

“When my father [Michael] inducted Renee into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2005, he called her ‘the greatest female singer of my lifetime in Australia … yes, you’re a difficult woman, but you’re bloody fantastic’. Renee always did things her own way and we loved her for that.”

Geyer’s approach to doing things her own way, her uncompromising character, and tendency to speak her mind paved the way for many women entering the male-dominated music industry.

Geyer enjoyed considerable commercial success in Australia with hits such as  It’s a Man’s Man’s World, Heading in the Right Direction and Stares and Whispers in the 1970s and Say I Love You in the 1980s.

Geyer also received recognition across the globe, having performed alongside Sting, Joe Cocker and Toni Childs.

Her achievements in the music industry were recognised in 2005 when she was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, then in 2013, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Music Victoria Hall of Fame.

Years later, she was honoured with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Australian Women in Music Awards.

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