LINA MORGANA -SUPER STAR BORN WHO LEFT THIS UNIVERSE TOO SOON By Sandra Castillo

January 11, 1989 – October 4, 2008

         

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  A SUPER STAR WAS BORN BUT LEFT THIS UNIVERSE WAY TOO SOON…THE SHORT SEASON AND TRAGIC DEATH OF LINA MORGANA

            By Sandra Castillo

The only thing more radiant than her looks was the angelic voice which transcended time and space. When she parted her lips to sing, the flash evolved into a kind of sacred dalliance with an unseen force and her burning ambitions which propelled her madly to succeed. It was as If the fiber of her very being had been specifically calibrated to become a superstar and nothing less. She was incredibly driven, with a laser-sharp focus, as she transformed herself into various characters for certain songs. Whether it was the fishnet-wearing, Club-kid wild child with the flaming, red tresses or the ethereal, platinum-haired siren adorned in all-white satin, the young woman, with the chameleon-like qualities, morphed into a singular vision of splendor and aural nirvana. For those who were fortunate enough to have witnessed the aspirations of the one who wore her prowess as accoutrement, it was the precise moment they heard her sing that the realization of the raven-haired angel, with the incredible gift, had something extraordinarily special in her possession. To be able to share her songs with the world was tantamount to the survival of her soul and who she was as a human being.

Ironically, as much as she embraced music and everything that it meant to her, it just wasn’t enough to save her from the cruel hand of fate on that autumn morning, nearly ten years ago. 

The haunting question remains to this day in 2018. Why would someone such as Lina Morgana, who was beautiful, beyond gifted and only three, short weeks shy from participating in the Miss New York beauty pageant, remotely entertain the thoughts of suicide? What was going through her troubled mind when she climbed the stairs to the rooftop of the Staten Island Holiday Inn on October 4, 2008, tossed all inhibitions to the wind and leap ten stories to her death? 

For those she had left behind, including family and thousands of fans around the world, the solace they continue to seek from their ongoing grief, a decade after Lina allegedly killed herself, is mainly assuaged by the creative output she managed to accomplish in the very short amount of time she lived on this earth. She was only 19-years-old when she took her last breath, the magnificent voice stilled forever. The daughter of a Russian mother who had emigrated to the United States at a very young age, Lina’s determination to fulfill the American Dream, as a singer, was the quintessence made of legends, fostered with the unwavering support of her mom, Yana Morgana, and so many others who recognized the musical gift breathing in her.

Lina’s foray into music and her relentless pursuit of it was commandeered as soon as she became totally self-aware of the need to express herself through song. She was first discovered by Rob Fusari, a music producer from New Jersey who had rightfully established himself in film and music. His penchant to recognize inherent talents in certain musical acts and their potential to procure a hit record had established him as one of the most successful people in the industry. His own stellar track record, as a Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter and entertainer, is more than evident of his capability to turn a song inside out and craft it into a Number One hit. Having worked with the likes of Adam Lambert, Whitney Houston, Destiny’s Child, Britney Spears and Will Smith, Fusari was empowered to take on creative risks, as a professional with an astute ear and eye, and work diligently to make it happen for his clients. His determination to launch the career of his newest protégé from Staten Island ensued, but he realized that he would need a little help in doing so. By securing the skills of another burgeoning talent, by way of Stefani Germanotta, another ambitious singer from New York City, who would eventually be introduced to the world as “Lady Gaga” once her album, The Fame, was released and catapulted her to stardom, Fusari forged ahead with his plans to incorporate their talents, as a viable, musical duo, in a recording session. Together, Lina and Stefani collaborated on a selection of compositions in the producer’s studio. By all accounts, it was a dream team in the making, as the two women proved to be a highly compatible pairing. What had made their destined connection so incredible, aside from their well-woven vocals, was the startling physical similarities between them. The uncanny facial likenesses of both women have been the hot topic of much discussion in various articles, online and in print, when talking about Lina and Lady Gaga as collaborators in the past. The singers labored tirelessly, with Fusari at the helm, which yielded in a dozen or so tracks. Although none of the finished recordings were ever released commercially, their collaboration on “Wunderland” (featuring back-up vocals by Stefani) eventually found its way onto Youtube- https://www.youtube.com/watch

Another individual who had worked closely with Lina is Fred Coscia, host of “Who Do You Like TV?” and drummer for “The Staten Island Comedy Show,” which has been airing on cable access channels in Staten Island and the greater metropolitan areas of New York for years. An accomplished musician, who has performed and toured with the likes of such Rock and Roll legends as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Coscia invited the singer on his program as a musical guest, where he also had the opportunity to interview her.

A few months before Lina had even stepped in front of the television cameras for “Who Do You Like TV?,” Coscia was jamming with Sister Venus, a high energy, Power-Pop/Rock band which mainly covered hit songs from the aughts. At the time, the group was actively searching for the “perfect voice” to fill the lead slot for the band. When Lina stopped by to audition for the position, where she successfully sang all the hard-to-reach notes in the songs’ set list, it was the unanimous decision made by all the members of Sister Venus that they had finally found the best singer for the job.

When asked if he knew, then, the woman with the powerful set of pipes had the chops to pull it off, Coscia did not hesitate to respond, ‘This girl had a great voice and did some amazing things…the way she moved and sang was so natural. From what I witnessed, Lina had developed her own style. She just wasn’t a huge star yet.’ 

The last time Lina had worked with Coscia, there were obvious, albeit tell-tale signs of trouble looming on the horizon. Even though he had not seen her in a while, he honestly felt she was exhibiting questionable behaviors, a certain despondency prevalent in her mannerisms, which indicated some type of turmoil was going on in her personal life. He assumed she may have been depressed over relationship issues with her then-boyfriend, but whatever Lina was going through at that moment, no one, including Coscia, ever expected what was about to happen, shortly after she and the band had wrapped up their latest gig. 

She hurled herself over the side of a hotel in Staten Island, New York.

There are those who loved Lina, including many of her survivors and the legions of fans, who will never, ever buy into the notion that the woman who had everything to live for committed suicide. Before she took the plunge that claimed her life, several witnesses, who happened to be in proximity of the Staten Island Holiday Inn on the day Lina had died, came forward and stated they saw a woman “dancing or exercising on the roof of the hotel” before falling. Other theories point to the idea that she may have been pushed off the rooftop, indicating that someone may have wanted her dead and then, caused her to fall to her death.

On the official website that commemorates the life and legacy of Lina Morgana, the late singer’s aunt, Tatyana, wrote:

“Two years ago, Lina was at the start of her career. She was full of plans for the future. She was three weeks away from participating in the Miss New York beauty pageant. Her CD of songs was ready to be released. Now, it is on hold. Lina’s mom, Yana, wants only one thing-for Lina’s songs to be released-for Lina’s voice to be spread, for her gift to be shared with the world. Isn’t it fair to ask for the girl’s dream to finally come true?” 

Only time will tell if Lina Morgana’s dream will finally come true for the one who possessed the voice of an angel and only desired to share it with the world… 

Tribute video & Fred Coscia interview

Unseen video footage of Lina Morgana will be posted as we approach ten years without Lina. We are sad but joyful we have her legacy and her Soul lives on.

~RGM

 

January 11, 1989 – October 4, 2008

 

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