Who would have known?
A decade and a year ago, around the same time (jingle bells y’all!), the extraordinarily talented screen slayer and serial bra-dropper Kate Winslet released an utterly devastatingly gorgeous song – her first official single – titled ‘What If‘.
The world, of course, as we knew it, was never the same again.
Wait. Err, what? You haven’t heard the song?
You. haven’t. heard. the. song.
WELL SHAME ON YOU.
By 1997, even the neighborhood stray knew who Kate Winslet was. Hearts were relentlessly broken, unmentionable thoughts were conjured inside the most senile of brains, when Kate Winslet decided that being fully clothed was TOTALLY not her scene, and that she needed to be captured on paper wearing this, wearing only this – The Heart Of The Ocean – a necklace with a blue diamond the size of Australia.
In case you weren’t aware ( you had to be born on Pluto for that), the iconic scene belonged to this film released in 1997, about a really really big ship that sorta sank while Winslet was, yeah you guessed it, busy taking off her bra. Oh and the ship hit an iceberg as well I believe. My opinion is the ship sank because of the weight of the diamond alone, being dangled all over the ship while the protagonists relentlessly copulated, but we’ll concentrate on that theory later.
You saw it. Your ma, grandma, great grand-aunt and her pet cat Tabitha saw it. Thrice at least. Who can forget the now-iconic scene where Mizz Winslet was being captured by a pre-pubescent Leonardo DiCaprio on paper while she salaciously lay wearing a necklace and nothing else?
You mean to tell me you haven’t had your own ‘I’m the king of the world‘ moments in front of the mirror?
Fast forward to 2001. While she was not too busy taking off every piece of clothing on her objectively flaw-free body on-screen, seducing the entire cosmos, and winning those awards, you know, Oscars or whatever – Miss Winslet was secretly brushing up her equally flawless vocals, gearing up for the release of her very first single.
Fun fact : Long before she bagged the Academy Award for The Reader in 2008, did y’all know that Kate Winslet was already a Grammy winner? Even before the release of her first official single?
Winslet won the Grammy for the Best Spoken Word Album For Children in the year 2000, a year before the release of ‘What If‘. Your faves could never.
‘What If‘, Kate Winslet’s début (and only) single, was the lead single from the soundtrack of the animated British film ‘Christmas Carol : The Movie‘ based on the classic novel by Charles Dickens. The Steve Mac (Boyzone) produced single was a poignant ballad that required practiced pipes to carry it through – and Winslet, in spite of being a newbie, totally killed it.
With her gorgeous voice hitting approximately zero wrong notes, Winslet started out lush over the starting strains of the song, and then went on to soar on the robust chorus with a palpable vulnerability juxtaposed with a fierce conviction as she lamented with a mix of regret and nostalgia –
‘What if I had never let you go
Would you be the man I used to know
If I’d stayed
If you’d tried
If we could only turn back time
But I guess we’ll never know’
Mariah Carey couldn’t. Whitney Houston couldn’t. Forget Madonna.
Kate’s voice brought forth the sorrow and the pain of the song – no one, honestly, could have done it quite so magically. By the end of the song, as she quivers ever so subtly over the ending strains ‘..will never know‘, THAT very moment conjures up memories of every heartbreak I’ve ever gone through. Major chills.
And of course, the song flew up the charts in most parts of the world. Peaking at # 3 in European Singles Chart, # 6 in the UK, # 1 in Ireland, Austria and Belgium – the song was quite a sizable hit. America, as usual, never really cared much about the song.
The best thing about the song being a hit? Winslet donated all the proceeds from the song to the National Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Children – reason enough to fall in love with the irresponsibly insanely amazing woman all over again.
Even after a decade, I still bump this song on a regular basis. And the goosebumps I got the first time I heard the song? Yeah, still happens.
The fact that Winslet released just one single, and nothing more beyond that, remains one of the biggest losses of the music biz. Actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow are making it big in the music scene, thanks to Glee and movies like Country Strong, and Kate would have effectively slayed!
What if Kate Winslet had released an entire album? What if she collaborated with Missy Elliott or Danja? OMG WHAT IF SHE RELEASED A COUNTRY DUET WITH CARRIE UNDERWOOD?
I guess..we’ll never know.