‘She would’ve danced to it every day’: Westerly shooting victim’s daughter honors mom’s legacy through power of song

South County

WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Music speaks louder than words.

That’s why the daughter of a woman who was killed in a shooting at a Westerly housing complex last year chose to honor her mother’s memory through song.

Morgan Bettencourt, 21, posted the song, “Gypsy Soul,” to her Facebook page over the weekend with the message, “To my Mother: A song that will remind me, our family, and everyone you loved, that you are always with us.”

“My mom was an amazing singer,” Bettencourt told Eyewitness News. “I wrote about how she led the path that I’m running on, there’s a line, and I guess that was more of me saying, ‘You made me into the person that I am and I’m going to run with it from here on out.”

Listen: Gypsy Soul on Spotify »

Bettencourt said the main theme of her song is finding strength after loss, a feeling she knows all too well.

Her mother, Julie Lynn Cardinal, 46, was shot and killed last December inside the Babcock Village housing complex where she worked. Two other women were also shot and injured before the gunman, Joseph Giachello, turned the gun on himself.

Bettencourt said she and her cousin wrote and produced the song together. She said the song title came from her mother’s love of Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac.

“She would always call herself a gypsy soul, she would always say it, it would be the caption on all of her pictures,” she said. “She was so spiritual…she was always happy, always rock and rolling.”

The song, according to Bettencourt, is meant to be uplifting and empowering, just like her mother was.

“The song is written for my family, and for me to get through the grieving process,” she said. “I guess it’s a way to show everything is going to be OK, and know that she’s listening and she would have loved this song. She would’ve been dancing to it every day.”

Watch the lyric video to Bettencourt’s song, Gypsy Soul, below.

Can’t see the player? Click here »

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