This is one sultry singer, Melody Gardot of Paris France, originally from Philadelphia. She was in some bands and did a bit of club singing as a teen, but was not serious about a music career — that is until her accident. At age 19 while riding her bicycle, she was hit by a car.
It was serious, touch and go, for a while she could not even speak. The doctors tried physical therapy, drugs, all to no avail, until music therapy sounded the right chord with melody and her brain began to come alive again. The music helped her brain to form new neural pathways, enabling her powers of reasoning to realign.
She recorded her first songs lying on her back because of the pain in her leg and throughout her body preventing her from standing.
She started writing her own songs; as she describes them, they are not just jazz, they are what she feels – some blues, soul, jazz, folk. She seems not to want to be categorized. If you watch her videos on the Verve artists’ website that becomes obvious. She is definitely not trying to fit into a commercial niche, reflected in one comments on her site: “She is not a packaged Barbie doll like…”– take you pick, there are lots of Barbie-ish singers.
She was on David Letterman twice in 2009, receiving a warm response from the audience, Dave, and the band. “Wow”, said Dave “Melody Gardot”, and if you’ve watched David Letterman much, you can tell when he just goes through the motions and when he is truly impressed by a musical guest.
Melody Gardot is an inspiration to those of us who aspire to express our beliefs, feelings and thoughts through music, to do it regardless of set backs, and to do it in our own way. She says people who do things their own way inspire her, be it someone who chooses to be homeless or someone who overcomes financial adversity or any other hard knocks. As she puts it, she is a highly educated woman, graduated from “the school of hard knocks”. She describes when she was hit by the jeep, that she didn’t know what was happening, she heard weird sounds and thought “who is that?” then suddenly realized it was her, screaming.
On a January 2010 interview on the US television show Sunday Morning, Melody explained she is in continual pain because of injuries sustained in that accident, but when she’s on stage, she’s happy — the pain goes unnoticed. Music can do that… heal the sick, bring the almost-dead back to life. The first few times after the accident, discovering it was a pain reliever to perform her music, she was hooked. Now she tours full time all over the world.
Ms. Gardot walks with a cane at age 25, has to wear dark glasses because lights hurt her eyes, and cannot take loud noises very well. When asked how she works in close proximity to speakers projecting high decibel sound, she indicates it’s hard but it is just what she loves to do. That combined with the intense lighting as she sings onstage almost every night of her new life, as a double platinum selling singer in France, and rising quickly in the US.
The exposure of her music came about though her posting her songs on My Space. From that beginning, “word got around”. That was in 2006. Now it is 2010, 4 years later, and she is an international sensation.