Culture

Country singer Jessi Zazu Wariner dies of cancer at 28

Country singer Jessi Zazu Wariner dies of cancer at 28”

Fans and members of the music industry have been sharing tributes and feelings of grief following the news that Jessi Zazu, the 28-year-old frontwoman of Nashville indie rock band These Darlins', has died from cervical cancer. The band's final album Blur the Line was released in 2013, and it closes with "Ain't Afraid", which became Zazu's platform and slogan in her fight against cancer. Though she was the tiniest creature in her remarkable family of drawers, painters, players and all-around makers, Jessi knew she was destined to make a sound that was bigger than all of them. As a songwriter, she grew up in front of her loving audience's eyes: Her early Those Darlins songs are sass explosions pierced through with shards of insight, while later ones reveal a woman digging into herself, facing her own vulnerabilities aided by an increasingly sophisticated feminist consciousness.

Zazu is survived by two brothers, Emmett Wariner and Oakley Wariner, father David Wariner, and mother Kathy Wariner.

Zazu was a rock star in her hometown, but one completely free of attitude. But she also helped strangers. Since her diagnosis she continued to work on music with Those Darlins bandmate Linwood Regensburg and her publicist promises that details on when and how that music will be released is forthcoming. She lifted up her peers and always welcomed newcomers. "And shout-out to all of you who have supported her until the end". That's why she was so open about her experience with cervical cancer.

More remarkably, she never stopped creating. This past year she and the camp set up an "Ain't Afraid Scholarship". Our thoughts are with her loved ones during this very sad time.

Since then, Zazu remained an integral part of Nashville's music and arts communities, pursuing visual arts, remaining active with Murfreesboro's Southern Girls Rock Camp, and contributing time to activist organizations like Standing Up for Racial Justice Nashville. Fundamentally, she was a spark.

She started brachytherapy, but later discovered a lymph node in her neck. The fiery particle that was the gift she gave us will never burn out.



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