Saturday, June 06, 2009

Wildcard Weekend - Sultry Sounds

PHS Editor Donna Alward is back with a brand new artist whose sultry sounds are tempting indeed!

One of the cool things about doing this job is the neat people you meet. Michelle Styles' PHS post on Josh Groban caught the eye of someone at Universal, and since then I've had the opportunity to "meet" that person and discover some new voices I never would have heard.

One such voice is the sound of Melody Gardot. Melody's story is one of triumph and her biography really should be read and appreciated. Here's a Coles' Notes version, and you'll see what I mean:

The story of vocalist Melody Gardot is as remarkable as any who perseveres against abject adversity. Born in New Jersey in 1985, she took up piano and played as a youngster on the nightclub scene of Philadelphia, influenced by jazz, folk, rock and pop musics. At age 19 she was a fashion student at the Community College Of Philadelphia.

But, on a fateful day, while riding her bicycle, the driver of a Jeep made an illegal turn, hurdling into Gardot and leaving her in the street for dead. Hospitalized for months with multiple head injuries and pelvic fractures, her love for music was the best therapy she could receive. While in her hospital bed, she wrote and recorded songs that would become the EP "Some Lessons." Upon her eventual release from intensive care, Gardot found the strength and determination to further her career as an artist. Blessed with a beautiful voice and grand insight as a songwriter, her cognitive powers slowly but surely became pronounced, leading to the independent recording and release of her debut CD, "Worrisome Heart," which was reissued in 2007 by Verve records. Her music could be described as a cross between Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Eva Cassidy and Shania Twain, but goes deeper than mere pop convention. Gardot is hypersensitive to light and noise, thus she wears dark glasses, and uses a cane to walk. On stage she requires a special seating unit, and wears a Transcutaneous Electro-Nerve Stimulator, a TENS device, to assist in alleviating her neuralgic muscle pain. As amazing as her story is, what is more evident is that she posesses a blue style and persona that reflects not only her afflictions, but conversely the hope and joy of making personalized music that marks her as an individual and original. Though touring is difficult, she has been performing in major cities on the East Coast to support her recordings.

Talk about persistence. Dedication. Sheer courage.

Her song, Baby I'm a Fool, is sweet, sexy, retro and yet utterly new. When I first heard it, I instantly sent the link to PHS columnist Kate Hardy thinking it would be right up her alley (and it was). Have a look at the video.

Universal is holding a contest to see Melody at the internationally acclaimed Montreal Jazzfest this summer.

Donna's current release is HIRED: THE ITALIAN'S BRIDE - and she can imagine Baby I'm A Fool playing at the Fiori Cascade Panorama Room as Luca dances with Mariella...sigh....


  1. Oooo Donna, that was beautiful! I am adding Melody to my must by list.

  2. I bought it for myself - and also a copy for my favourite cousin. She loved it, too. Great choice, Donna :o)

  3. I caught an interview with her the other morning on breakfast TV. She sounded great.

  4. I love her 'Worrisome Heart' CD. It's fabulous. I'll be on the look out for this one.


  5. Linda- can you e-mail me at donna @ donnaalward dot com?