Melody Gardot

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Melody Gardot
Melody Gardot Berlin 2010.jpg
Gardot in Berlin, Germany, 2010
Background information
Born (1985-02-02) February 2, 1985 (age 32)
New Jersey, U.S.
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Genres
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments
  • Guitar
  • piano
Years active 2004–present
Labels
Website www.melodygardot.co.uk

Melody Gardot /ɡɑːrˈd/ (born February 2, 1985) is an American jazz singer whose career began after being injured in a bicycle accident. She 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 follows the teachings of Buddhism,[1][2] is a macrobiotic cook[3] and humanitarian.[4] music therapy. She has visited hospitals and universities to discuss how music therapy can help reconnect neural pathways in the brain, improve speech, and lift spirits. In 2012, it was reported that she had given her name to a music therapy program in New Jersey.[5] Gardot considers herself a "citizen of the world".[6]

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.[7][8] Gardot studied fashion at the Community College of Philadelphia.[9]

Accident and therapy[edit]

While riding her bike in Philadelphia in November 2003[10][11] 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.[7] 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.[1]

Encouraged by a physician who believed music would help heal her brain, she began writing music[12] and eventually became an advocate for music therapy. The accident damaged the neural pathways between the brain's two cortices that control perception and higher mental function.[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 and was eventually able to sing into a tape recorder. She made progress and was able to write songs that referred to her rehabilitation.[13]

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 she traveled with a physiotherapist and carried a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) strapped to her waist to reduce pain.[7] 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.[8] 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 radio station in Philadelphia.[8]

She was introduced to macrobiotics by a friend who lent her a book on its benefits. She began to experiment and cook for several hours a day. As well as reducing her pain levels, she believes that macrobiotics helped her mental ability to cope with pain, helping her relax as the routine of cooking helped take her mind off her physical condition and she also found that she was able to 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.[7] She released first album, Worrisome Heart (Verve, 2006), then My One and Only Thrill (Verve 2009), produced by Larry Klein.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales Certifications
US
[20]
AUS
[21]
FRA
[22]
GER
[23]
IRE
[23]
JPN
[24]
NLD
[25]
NOR
[23]
NZ
[26]
SWE
[27]
UK
[28]
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
US
Jazz

[20]
Some Lessons: The Bedroom Sessions
Live from SoHo
  • Released: March 24, 2009
  • Label: Verve
  • Formats: digital download
2
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

Singles[edit]

  • "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's Gonna Come" (2016)

Collaborations[edit]

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)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kerr, Alison (2009-06-13). "Interview". The Herald Magazine. pp. 14–17. 
  2. ^ Iley, Chrissy (2009-03-29). "Melody Gardot: Music is my love – men are just my lovers". Times online. iley. Retrieved 21 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Gardot, Melody. "10 Useful Steps for Getting Started with Macrobiotics - Melody Gardot". www.macrobiotics.co.uk. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  4. ^ Bonetti, Deborah (2015-05-12). "Melody Gardot – La politica del jazz". Style (Il Giornale). Italy. 
  5. ^ "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 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ a b c d Iley, Chrissie (2009-03-29). The Sunday Times Magazine. pp. 12–17. 
  8. ^ a b c "The Making of Melody". European Intelligence Wire. 20 September 2009. 
  9. ^ "Unchained Melody". Philadelphia City Paper. Archived from the original on 2009-08-17. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  10. ^ "Melody Gardot hits New York". July 2005. Archived from the original on 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  11. ^ "Melody Gardot's Road to Recovery". March 2008. 
  12. ^ Stephen Clark - Design. "melody gardot: melody cool". 
  13. ^ a b Zuel, Bernard (2 May 2009). "Melody Gardot should not be playing musice". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 9 August 2009. 
  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. PMID 26687225. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.11.035. 
  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". www.macrobiotics.co.uk. Retrieved 9 August 2009. 
  19. ^ "Melody Gardot". Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  20. ^ a b Michael G. Nastos. "Melody Gardot". AllMusic. 
  21. ^ Melody Gardot - australian-charts.com
  22. ^ Melody Gardot - lescharts.com (in French)
  23. ^ a b c "Melody Gardot". 
  24. ^ - http://www.oricon.co.jp (in Japanese)
  25. ^ Melody Gardot - http://dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch)
  26. ^ Melody Gardot - charts.org.nz
  27. ^ Melody Gardot - swedishcharts.com (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". www.aria.com.au. 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[permanent dead link] (in French)
  38. ^ "Melody Gardot Teams Up with Piaget". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  39. ^ Bonetti, Deborah (2015-05-12) "Melody Gardot - La politica del jazz". Style Magazine, Italy.

External links[edit]