A ‘Landslide’ of appreciation

Stevie Nicks performs in concert with Fleetwood Mac in Newark NJ, 4/24/13. (Brian Killian / Getty Images)

Stevie Nicks thanks New York Magazine’s Jada Yuan.

When New York magazine reporter Jada Yuan went to see Stevie Nicks at Jones Beach last weekend, she got more than a concert T-shirt. During the show, Ms. Nicks dedicated “Landslide” to the journalist, who had recentlywritten a profile of the singer.

“I would like to dedicate this song to a girl, a lady. Her name is Jada and she wrote the most beautiful article about me,” the Fleetwood Mac singer said.

“She got something that nobody that has ever written about me before has ever gotten,” continued Ms. Nicks. “And I just wanted to tell her how much I appreciate that.”

“I’ll never, ever forget it. Her name is Jada, and I want to thank her so much.”

Ms. Yuan, who was in the audience, was stunned. “I cried through the whole song and don’t even remember at least the next five,” Ms. Yuan told OTR.

Weeping, even without having Ms. Nicks dedicate the song to you, is apparently a common reaction to “Landslide.”

In the profile, which ran in the June 17 issue of New York, Ms. Yuan wrote of the song: “Chances are, you or someone next to you was weeping during ‘Landslide,’ with that chorus you might casually dismiss as cliché until you find yourself singing it in unison with 15,000 fans: ‘Time makes you bolder / Children get older / I’m getting older, too.’”

Ms. Yuan spent about four months working on the 5,823-word feature and saw multiple concerts. Most profile writers say that after spending so long with a subject—during both the interview and the writing process—the illusion of familiarity often fades once the piece is published.

“Anyone who writes profiles knows you end up spending a lot more time with the subject than they do with you,” Ms. Yuan said. “For them, it’s an hour or two out of their lives, but you spend days or weeks with this person rattling around in your head, and you can get pretty invested and then never hear from them again.

“It’s rare to get any feedback, let alone that they thought you got it right. So to hear it from Stevie Nicks, who’s such a beautiful writer herself, was a really special honor.”

Ms. Yuan, who was at the concert with a friend, went backstage afterward and got to follow up in person with the singer.

While the mandate of a magazine profile isn’t to please the subject, Ms. Yuan’s article wasn’t a puff piece by any means—it tackled Ms. Nicks’ battles with drugs, her weight and relationships.

The singer’s honesty about her struggles is one reason she has so many fans. Her gracious reponse to the article, said Ms. Yuan, “says a lot more about Stevie than it does about me.”

Video below (be prepared to have the song stuck in your head for at least 24 hours):

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12Iono8mbjg]

Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke / The New York Observer / Tuesday, June 25, 2013

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