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The Beautiful and Talented Melody Gardot

melodyparisIt’s not every day you come across a hauntingly beautiful voice that’s both engaging and utterly sublime. That’s why I’m rather upset it took me this long to find out about Melody Gardot. Melody is a 23 year old jazz singer whose debut album, Worrisome Heart, hit shelves in February of last year. The infectious album earned solid praise from those who heard it, but its success was relegated mainly to jazz circles (which now days seems like an uncrossable moat into mainstream pop and rock circles), and so even casual jazz fans such as myself let the album unassumingly slip under their radar. The moment I heard Melody’s sincere vocal over a beautifully paced piano jazz number though, I knew I had to find out more about this girl.

What I found out is that Melody Gardot has quite an interesting story. I’m actually expecting any day now for Melody to be featured on 60 Minutes and her fan base to triple over night. If there was ever an artist to come and take the torch from Norah Jones, whose immense popularity shows that there’s room for female jazz vocalists in the mainstream, it’s Ms. Gardot. If only her debut’s title track caught on with pop radio the way that Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” did, Gardot would surely bathe in the sunburn inducing lime light that I think she deserves to be in. And I’m not just saying this because of her heart warming story either.

As for her story, Meldoy began playing piano in bars in her hometown of Philadelphia at age 16. It wasn’t until she turned 19 though that she actually considered playing music as a career. The reason for changing her mind at that age started with an accident, quite a severe accident at that. While riding her bicycle, Melody was hit by a car and sustained multiple injuries, one of the more serious wounds being a head injury. According to Gardot, when she later began having trouble remembering things her doctor suggested writing and recording music to help her with her cognitive problems as “music has been known to help repair neuropathways in the brain after severe trauma.”

"I started recording the songs as a way to remember what I'd done,” Gardot stated in an interview “I had really bad short-term memory problems, at the end of the day I couldn't remember the beginning.”

Though still unable to even walk at the time, Melody started her songwriting career in her bed (the songs she wrote would later be released as an EP titled Some Lessons: The Bedroom Sessions). Sometime later Gardot was snatched up by famous jazz label Verve and released Worrisome Heart.

Now, nearly four year after the accident, Melody not only has a solid album under her belt but she’s also been touring in support of it despite her physical limitations. It’s rare that you’ll find Melody without her sunglasses on - to combat her extreme sensitivity to light or without her cane. She also often wears a TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) to help subdue intense muscle pain and she sports earplugs due to severe Hyperacusis/Tinnitus. And yet, despite all of this, she soldiers on.

The follow up to Worrisome Heart, My One and Only Thrill, hopes to capture the same magic that its predecessor carried and has a set release date of April 28th. With a voice like the one she’s been blessed with, I see no reason why it won’t.

Feb
12
2009
Tyler Barlass • Editor

Tyler is passionate about Music, Sports, Beer, Comic Books, Food, Cocktails and other seemingly unrelated things.

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