Chris Cornell’s Daughter, Toni, Remembers Performing “Hallelujah”: I’m going to share a bit of the back story – 2022

Toni Cornell:

I know that I have posted this performance before, but it feels kind of surreal that it’s been 5 years since it happened. Almost as surreal as that day itself.

I was 12 years old, and I remember being so nervous. But I knew I had to do it, no matter what it took, I had to sing for my dad and Chester Bennington. And I’m so grateful to Ryan Tedder who asked me to join him and One Republic who really helped lift me up.

I’m going to share a bit of the back story. Losing my dad was the hardest thing in the world. It didn’t feel real or that it could possibly be happening. It felt like one of those bad dreams you just can’t wake up from.

During those few months, Chester asked me if I would sing with him and Linkin Park in London at the 02 arena. We were going to sing Sharp Edges. It was soon after Ariana Grande’s Manchester concert, where a bomb went off in the arena, and it just made me feel so scared to go and perform. Chester understood and he picked another city where I could perform with him. He believed in me; he had listened to my songs, and he wanted to push me to share with all of you a pain he knew too well. I was too afraid and too shy – but sharing is how we heal. Chester never made it to that next city….

I was crushed to lose yet another person who I loved. And I learned that tomorrow is never a guarantee, so when Ryan asked me to sing with him – in tribute to both Chester and my dad – I called my mom, who was in LA at Chester’s funeral, and I said, I’m doing this.

This song which Leonard Cohen wrote all those years ago holds so much meaning to me, for so many reasons. My personal connection to my dad. His own connection to the song, and through it to his friend Jeff Buckley. And most of all, Chester’s beautiful tribute when he sang it at my dad’s funeral service. Music connects us, touches and heals in ways we sometimes don’t even realize at first. A song can live with you and become part of your story forever.

Live every day to the fullest. No one knows what tomorrow brings.