Melody Gardot

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Melody Gardot
Melody Gardot Berlin 2010.jpg
Gardot in Berlin, Germany, 2010
Background information
Birth nameMelody Joy Gardot
Born (1985-02-02) February 2, 1985 (age 33)
New Jersey, U.S.
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
  • Guitar
  • piano
Years active2004–present

Melody Gardot /ɡɑːrˈd/ (born February 2, 1985) is an American jazz singer who has been influenced by such blues and jazz artists as Judy Garland, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Stan Getz and George Gershwin as well as Latin music artists such as Caetano Veloso. She has been nominated for a Grammy Award.

Gardot was playing at piano bars in Philadelphia when she had a bicycle accident at the age of 18. Music played a critical role in her recovery from the head injury that resulted. She is an advocate of music therapy,[1] and has visited hospitals and universities to discuss its benefits. In 2012, it was reported that she had given her name to a music therapy program in New Jersey.[2] Gardot follows the teachings of Buddhism,[3][4] is a macrobiotic cook[5] and humanitarian.[6]. She speaks fluent French as well as her native English and considers herself a "citizen of the world".[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Gardot was born in New Jersey and was brought up by her grandparents. Her grandmother was a Polish immigrant. Her mother, a photographer, traveled often, so they had few possessions and lived out of suitcases.[8][9] Gardot studied fashion at the Community College of Philadelphia.[10]

Accident and therapy[edit]

While riding her bike in Philadelphia in November 2003[11][12] she was hit by an SUV that ran a red light. She suffered head and spinal injuries, and her pelvis was broken in two places. She was confined to a hospital bed for a year and had to remain lying on her back. She had to re-learn simple tasks, such as brushing her teeth and walking. She was left oversensitive to light and sound, requiring her to wear sunglasses most of the time.[8] Gardot suffered short-term and long-term memory loss and had difficulty with her sense of time. She compared her recovery to "climbing Mount Everest every day" and often wakes with no memory of what she has to do that day.[3]

The accident damaged the neural pathways between the two cortices that control perception and higher mental function.[1] Encouraged by a physician who believed music would help heal her brain, Gardot began writing songs.[13] (According to a paper by Norman-Haignere, Kanwisher, and McDermott in the journal Neuron, listening to music and trying to hum or sing can help the brain form new pathways.[14][15]) Gardot learned to hum, then began to sing into a tape recorder, and was eventually able to write songs that referred to her rehabilitation. Gabrielle Giffords, also suffering from a traumatic brain injury, also benefitted greatly from music therapy.

Her doctor at the University of Medicine of New Jersey, Richard Jermyn, DO, compared her condition to a computer. The computer was still intact and the memory was there, but she could not access it. "That's what a brain injury does. It takes your ability to access that away," Jermyn stated.[16]

For several years Gardot traveled with a physiotherapist and carried a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) strapped to her waist to reduce pain.[8] While onstage she said, "The first maybe half a dozen times experiencing this, that was the only 30 minutes in my life that I did not feel pain for that moment. And it was addictive." From her accident to her first performance, her music career was born. "It was a most unusual start, but when you come from a place where things are tough it makes it that much easier to appreciate the times when life is easy", she said.[16]

Given her oversensitivity to sound, she chose quieter music. On the treadmill she listened to bossa nova by Stan Getz. Unable to sit comfortably at the piano, she learned to play guitar on her back when she was in the hospital.[9] During her recovery, she wrote songs that became part of the EP Some Lessons: The Bedroom Sessions, which she produced.[17] Gardot was reluctant to record her songs at first, stating that they were too private for the public to hear, but she relented and her songs were played on a Philadelphia radio station.[9]

Gardot was introduced to macrobiotics by a friend. She began to cook and experiment with macrobiotics for several hours a day. She believes the new diet helped her mental ability to cope with pain, and that the routine of cooking helped her relax, avoid focusing on her physical discomfort, and sleep more easily.[18]

Music career[edit]

Gardot in concert, Portugal, 2012

Gardot started music lessons at the age of nine and began playing piano in Philadelphia bars at the age of sixteen on Fridays and Saturdays for four hours a night. She insisted on playing only music she liked, such as The Mamas & the Papas, Duke Ellington, and Radiohead.[19]

During her time in the hospital she learned how to play the guitar and began writing songs, which were made available as downloads on iTunes and released on Some Lessons: The Bedroom Sessions in 2005. She began to play these songs at venues in Philadelphia and was noticed by employees of the radio station WXPN, operated by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, which helped to start the career of Norah Jones. She was encouraged to send a demo tape to the radio station, and the tape found its way to the Universal Music Group.[8] She released first album, Worrisome Heart (Verve, 2006), then My One and Only Thrill (Verve 2009), produced by Larry Klein.



Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales Certifications
Worrisome Heart 80 93 8 44 86 31 25 172
My One and Only Thrill
  • Released: April 28, 2009
  • Label: Verve, ORG
  • Formats: CD, vinyl, digital download
42 23 4 4 34 27 20 2 11 1 12
The Absence
  • Released: May 28, 2012
  • Label: Verve
  • Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital download
33 43 3 9 22 22 16 1 38 3 18
Currency of Man
  • Released: June 2, 2015
  • Label: Verve
  • Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital download
124 80 5 11 29 59 12 14 20 31
"—" denotes a title that did not chart.

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions

Some Lessons: The Bedroom Sessions
  • Released: May 3, 2005
  • Label: Independent
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Live from SoHo
  • Released: March 24, 2009
  • Label: Verve
  • Formats: digital download
Bye Bye Blackbird EP
  • Released: 2010
  • Label: Verve
  • Formats: CD
A Night with Melody EP
  • Released: April 6, 2011
  • Label: Universal Music Group
  • Formats: CD
"—" denotes a title that did not chart


  • "Worrisome Heart" (2008)
  • "Goodnite" (2008)
  • "Quiet Fire" (2008)
  • "Who Will Comfort Me" (2009)
  • "Baby I'm a Fool" (2009)
  • "If the Stars Were Mine" (2009)
  • "Your Heart Is as Black as Night" (2011)
  • "Mira" (2012)
  • "Amalia" (2012)
  • "La vie en rose" (2012)[38]
  • "Same to You" (2015)
  • "Preacherman" (2015)[39]
  • "It Gonna Come" (2016)


Gardot appears on the following songs, on vocals and occasionally piano or guitar, by other artists:

  • Beaucoup Blue – "Bluer Than a Midnight Sky" on Free to Fall
  • Till Brönner – "High Night (Alta Noite)" on RIO (2008)
  • Charlie Haden Quartet West – "If I'm Lucky" on Sophisticated Ladies (EmArcy, 2010)
  • Seth Kallen & The Reaction – "My Sweet Darling" on Exhibit A
  • Phil Roy – "A Meditation on War and the Fight for Love" on The Great Longing
  • Eddy Mitchell – "Derrière l'arc-en-ciel / Over the Rainbow" on Grand ecran
  • Juliette Gréco – "Sous les ponts de Paris (Under the Bridges of Paris)" on Ça se traverse et c'est beau (Feb. 2012)
  • Jesse Harris – "Tant pis" on Sub Rosa (July 2012)
  • Baptiste Trotignon – "Mon fantôme" on Song Song Song (Sept. 2012)
  • Lizanne Knott – "There Are Angels" on Marionette (Sept. 2012, UK release)
  • Federico Aubele - "Somewhere Else" on 5 (Fall 2013)
  • Pierre Aderne - "Limoeiro" and "Melodia e Letra" on Caboclo (2014/2015)
  • Vinicius Cantuária - "Insensatez" on Vinicius canta Antonio Carlos Jobim (2015)
  • "He's a tramp" and "The Bare Necessities" on Jazz loves Disney (2016)
  • "C'est trop tard" on Elles & Barbara (2017)
  • "The King of 52nd Street" on The Passion Of Charlie Parker (2017)


  1. ^ a b Zuel, Bernard (2 May 2009). "Melody Gardot should not be playing music". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  2. ^ "Unchained Melody". Telegraph Magazine. London. 5 May 2012. When she was 19 a road accident nearly ended Melody Gardot's life – and started her acclaimed singing career. Eight years on, she still can't escape the pain but it hasn't stopped her traveling the world to record her third album
  3. ^ a b Kerr, Alison (2009-06-13). "Interview". The Herald Magazine. pp. 14–17.
  4. ^ Iley, Chrissy (2009-03-29). "Melody Gardot: Music is my love – men are just my lovers". Times online. iley. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
  5. ^ Gardot, Melody. "10 Useful Steps for Getting Started with Macrobiotics - Melody Gardot". Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  6. ^ Bonetti, Deborah (2015-05-12). "Melody Gardot – La politica del jazz". Style (Il Giornale). Italy.
  7. ^ Henn, Jennifer L. (1 June 2010). "Globetrotting Melody Gardot makes Westhampton Beach a stop for a performance on June 6". 27east. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d Iley, Chrissie (2009-03-29). The Sunday Times Magazine. pp. 12–17.
  9. ^ a b c "The Making of Melody". European Intelligence Wire. 20 September 2009.
  10. ^ "Unchained Melody". Philadelphia City Paper. Archived from the original on 2009-08-17. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  11. ^ "Melody Gardot hits New York". July 2005. Archived from the original on 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  12. ^ "Melody Gardot's Road to Recovery". March 2008.
  13. ^ Stephen Clark - Design. "melody gardot: melody cool".
  14. ^ Norman-Haignere, S; Kanwisher, NG; McDermott, JH (16 Dec 2015). "Distinct Cortical Pathways for Music and Speech Revealed by Hypothesis-Free Voxel Decomposition". Neuron. 88: 1281–96. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.11.035. PMID 26687225.
  15. ^ Angier, Natalie (8 February 2016). "New Ways Into the Brain's 'Music Room'". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  16. ^ a b "How Melody Gardot Found Her Voice". CBS News. 14 June 2010.
  17. ^ Holden, Stephen (15 October 2009). "From Death's Door to Earning the Keys to the World". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  18. ^ "What People Say About Macrobiotics: Questions and Answers with Melody Gardot". Archived from the original on 19 March 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  19. ^ "Melody Gardot". Archived from the original on 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  20. ^ a b Michael G. Nastos. "Melody Gardot". AllMusic.
  21. ^ Melody Gardot -
  22. ^ Melody Gardot - (in French)
  23. ^ a b c "Melody Gardot".
  24. ^ - (in Japanese)
  25. ^ Melody Gardot - (in Dutch)
  26. ^ Melody Gardot -
  27. ^ Melody Gardot - (in Swedish)
  28. ^ "Chart Log UK".
  29. ^ a b c d Aymeric Pichvin (April 3, 2010). "Waiting for Gardot". Billboard.
  30. ^ "Bundesverband Musikindustrie: Gold-/Platin-Datenbank".
  31. ^ "Album Credits". Retrieved 2016-01-14.
  32. ^ French album certifications – Melody Gardot – My One and Only Thrill Archived 2011-07-10 at the Wayback Machine. (in French)
  33. ^ Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Melody Gardot; 'My One and Only Thrill') (in German)
  34. ^ Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 2010 Archived 2012-01-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  35. ^ − Certifified awards Archived 2016-09-17 at the Wayback Machine. Search for Melody Gardot by artist
  36. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on May 15, 2015.
  37. ^ French album certifications – Melody Gardot – The Absence (in French)
  38. ^ "Melody Gardot Teams Up with Piaget". Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  39. ^ Bonetti, Deborah (2015-05-12) "Melody Gardot - La politica del jazz". Style Magazine, Italy.

External links[edit]