A Taste of the Life and Music of Singer Melody Gardot– From Near Death to Stardom

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A Taste of the Life and Music of Singer Melody Gardot– From Near Death to Stardom

Playing piano in bars in Philadelphia since age 17, at 19 years old, the now famous singer Melody Gardot, was hit by a car while bike riding.  She was a “vegetable” by her own description, for over a year. By now most of you know the story of how the music itself worked therapeutically, brought back her brain functioning.  She explains the accident left her with disconnected neural pathways, unable to speak.  Her music reconnected the neural pathways to regain not only her speech, but to begin writing songs and learning to play guitar.

Her first recording “Some Lessons – The Bedroom Sessions” was done for her own therapeutic purposes. But when it begin circulating on line and a local radio DJ heard it, it got considerable air play.

Melody says the music business is not like the horror stories you hear, of drugs, all night parties and grueling schedules.  She had initially let her managers know that she could only do half the typical number of tour dates, in order to account for the ongoing physical limitations from her injuries.

She says the hardest part about touring is when she comes home and does everyday stuff ; She noticed as she did her laundry after touring, there she was washing dirty socks when a week ago she was playing the prestigious London Jazz Festival, recording at the iconic Abby Road with Jazz great Herbie Hancock.

Here’s a sample of the lyrics of singer Melody Garot. She writes most all the songs she records.

Sweet Memory
Talking bout a sweet memory
It goes round and round in my head
Pretty soon I`ll want the real thing instead
But for now I got this sweet memory
Sunny day Sunny day
Not a cloud crosses the sky
Not a tear comes to my eye
On this sunny day
Sweet Memory
Talking bout a sweet memory
It goes round and round in my head
Pretty soon I`ll want the real thing instead
But for now I got this sweet memory
Sweet Memory
Sweet Memory

Carefree, whimsical, romantic, unaffected, simple yet poignant.  Compared with Norah Jones for the languid, soft sound, almost ultra feminine and sweet but with a pinch of bluesy grit added. She sites one musical influence as Janis Joplin after all.

Her band mate describes Melody’s music not as blues or jazz, noting that without the bass and drums it would mostly resemble folk music, but with a bossa nova feel.

She’s been asked how she arrived at the unique style so far from what  20 something’s (she’s now 24) would have on their iPods.  She says there was no plan to create a distinct style.  It came naturally; she created the songs for therapy purposes.  They needed to be soft because the accident left her hypersensitive to percussive sounds.  And it needed to be slow because she was in “turtle” mode as far as her level of functioning, trying to regain normal thought processes after the brain injury.

Interesting how she first started playing piano in bars at age 17.  She was driving with a friend, ran out of gas and had no money.  She said “how can we get some cash for gas” so they just walked down the street and went in a bar, there was a piano and she asked if she could play it.  The owner said he just had the player quit on him a day ago, so sure.

After she played 45 minutes, he liked it and said he’d pay her 100.00 a night to play every Saturday for four hours, and if the people liked her she could play there continually.  She said ok, but what about the 45 minutes I just played?  So he gave her twenty bucks.

Now this lovely, and widely loved singer Melody Gardot has 2 acclaimed CDs out, Baby I’m A Fool and Worrisome Heart.  She enjoys looking at a map, thinking, “where in the world do I want to go next?” Then she includes those places in her touring schedule.  Wow, that’s the life!

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