First Entertainment and singer/songwriter Rebekah Del Rio have a special bond, and it isn’t just because we were both born in 1967.
It is a story that is both moving and inspirational, but before we get ahead of ourselves, a little background is important. If Rebekah’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you saw her incredibly moving performance in David Lynch’s film, “Mulholland Drive.” Playing herself, she sang her signature ballad, “Llorando,” a centerpiece of the film and a turn the New York Times called, “ … Utterly enthralling.” Or perhaps you’ve seen Rebekah live in one of her many performances at clubs and cabarets around the country. Her music has captivated a legion of fans, including some of music’s biggest stars. When Sting and Trudie Styler put together the 12th Annual Rainforest Foundation Benefit Concert, they invited Rebekah to perform, joining him and the likes of Sir Elton John, James Taylor, Ravi Shankar and many others. The result was pure magic.
“There I was,” Rebekah remembers, “standing alone on stage at Carnegie Hall. It was a packed house, completely sold-out, and I knew that some of the biggest names in the industry were watching. It was the moment I had waited for my whole life. And for a moment, before I began, I thought of my father, who has passed away. I thought, I’m doing this for you, Dad, to make you proud. To show you I can accomplish this.” And then Rebekah began. Her emotional, a cappella performance of “Llorando,” the beauty of which was fully realized by the renowned acoustics of the room, brought tears to the eyes of many, and when she finished, the audience gave her a spontaneous standing ovation. “Next to the birth of my son, it was the most incredible moment of my life.”
In one of life’s odd, unpredictable turn of events, one might say Rebekah’s current success came by accident. By the time Rebekah was in her early 20s she had landed in Nashville, signed to Giant Records by the musical legend, Irving Azoff. But two weeks before leaving on a national radio tour, she suffered a horrific automobile crash and ended up hospitalized and in physical therapy for 11-months. By the time she was ready, Giant Records had changed management, bought out Rebekah’s contract and set her free to pursue other opportunities. “I was devastated by the accident,” Rebekah says with a disarming cheer in her voice, “losing my record deal was a nightmare. But as it turns out, my agent at CAA introduced me to David Lynch, and because I was a free agent I was able to be in David’s marvelous film, which put me on the map. What seemed like a terrible tragedy turned out to be a blessing for my career, and that’s how life is. A mysterious, ongoing duality.”
Which leads us to one of Rebekah’s current projects, a new album called, “Love Hurts, Love Heals.” Rebekah describes it as, “revolving around the idea that where there is light there is darkness, where there is good there is evil. It’s that way with everything. Every molecule has a positive and a negative, and it’s this complex counterpoint of life that is the core of the album.”
Now, back to the beginning of this story. We mentioned earlier that Rebekah has a special relationship with First Entertainment. Though she has been a member for seven years, the connection became infinitely stronger some three years ago when her son Phillip was diagnosed with a serious form of cancer. Now 22, he was then given 6-months to live. But Rebekah tells us with pride, “Phillip is a fighter. He’s the strongest person I’ve ever known, and his positive outlook and determination have been one of the greatest lessons of my life. He is my teacher.” And First Entertainment? “They have been absolutely incredible,” Rebekah says. “A godsend, really. I created a fund for Phillip and they went to amazing lengths to help me open an account just for him and accept donations. They’ve helped me with loans, with emotional support. I don’t even think of First Entertainment as a credit union– I think of them as family. They’ve been incredibly kind and helpful. I was getting taken advantage of by my bank and I went to the credit union and said, is there any way I can get a better deal with you guys? And they said, ‘Sure no problem.’ Boom. They had everything done in a week. It was amazing.”
Rebekah pauses for a moment, and when she resumes talking you can hear her voice well with emotion. “When you’re in the kind of situation I was in, that kind of support means the world. It’s something I’ll be grateful for for the rest of my life.”
To learn more about Phillip’s story and alternative healing methods from around the world, visit www.thephillipdemarscancerfund.com