I’ve found myself listening to this album quite a bit recently. The production is flawless. Then again alongside one of the best falsettos I’ve ever heard, this album was co-produced by none other than Stevie Wonder whose imprint can be heard throughout. Songs like “Take a Little Trip” and its ascending guitar chords, the title song’s timelessness, and the high note that everyone tries and fails to hit in “Loving You” are incredible, yet bittersweet reminders of someone who was taken way too soon.
Minnie Ripperton died in 1979 at thirty-one years old from breast cancer; leaving behind her husband, Richard Rudolph, and two children Maya and Marc. Any time I listen to Minnie Ripperton I think about this. I relate to her husband: the music producer who lost his wife young and had to raise two children who are reminders of that special person. However, he seemed to have done a great job. Marc is an music engineer and Maya went on to be fairly successful as an actress and comedienne.
Marc and Maya were young when Minnie Ripperton passed, but they were old enough that they do have some childhood memories of them and their mother. I’m sure their father kept her memories alive through her music, videos in the archives, and stories of their time together as a unit.
While it is a sad story, I like to listen to this album in particular because when I am struggling it reminds me of two things: when the stars align and you’ve created something excellent, and that there is hope. I think about my time with Timile, and raising Cydney. Our “Ladybug Lullaby” reminds me a lot of “Loving You” because the latter started off as a melody that Minnie sang to her daughter to put her to sleep. If you listen to the end of the song, she sings “Maya” repeatedly as the melody. As much of a musician as I claim that I am, I just don’t have that gene that creates lullabies for children. Maybe outside of Brahm’s Lullaby, it may be a mom thing. There is one video of Timile singing her song to Cydney that I do not have access to, Cydney requests it every night. Of course she will know that the song is one her mother made up and one day will sing it to her children telling them that the song was their grandmother’s.
This sums it up perfectly:
Cydney is something special, and so was her mother. I think one of the most important things I can do is keep her alive in our daughter. Minnie Ripperton’s music is a reminder to me that like Maya and Marc Rudolph, Cydney too has a “Perfect Angel” watching over her.
I’ve seen Maya Rudolph on Saturday Night Live and in plenty of movies. Every time I see her I think “That’s Minnie Ripperton’s daughter” because she looks like her. However, she hasn’t really done anything saying that she was which I think is cool because its a personal thing and it really makes her a star in her own light. However, last winter after she left Saturday Night Live and she came back to host the show. During one of the transitions between the show and commercials she paid a brief homage to her mother.