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“Bluesy” and “Jazzy,” Melody Gardot; Another Fabulous Find.

April 2, 2008

There are many young musicians/stars who, by the age of 23, have already made a name for themselves: violinists Joshua Bell and Midori, singers Josh Grobin, Madeleine Peyroux and Norah Jones. To name just a few. And Mozart.

I first heard 23 year old Melody Gardot a few weeks ago on NPR’s Saturday Weekend Edition with Scott Simon. She’s an amazing young singer who turned to music after a terrible accident damaged her spine. When she was 19 she was hit by an car while riding her bicycle; her injuries were serious and left her unable to sit for more than 10 minutes. She suffered short-term memory loss and acute sensitivity to light and sound. But this dreadful experience “pushed” her into a direction she might never have taken had the accident not happened.

Although she’d played the piano before being injured she was much more interested in the visual arts than music, but at the suggestion of her doctor began to use music as therapy and “Worrisome Heart,” (her full-length debut album), is the result of this change in focus. She’s a singer/songwriter extraordinaire, for her incredible music and her remarkable courage despite the pain and difficulties she still endures.

Worrisome Heart is filled with sultry, jazz-inflected ballads. Though she lacked training in jazz, Gardot says she picked up the idiom intuitively. She credits her backing musicians for buoying her along the way.

Since the accident a few years ago, Gardot still struggles with short-term memory loss, which forces her to write and record compositions before she forgets them. She has to wear sunglasses because of that heightened sensitivity to light and carries a cane, which puts a bit of a damper on her performing; but she’s undaunted and still finds it enjoyable.

“To be honest with you, being on stage and performing is the 30, 40, 50 minutes of the most pleasurable experience that I have,” Gardot says. “Because it’s during that time that I don’t really feel any pain. I think it’s transcendental, and I also think it’s kind of like when you have a headache, and someone punches you in the stomach, you forget all about your head.”

Copyright © 2008

One Comment leave one →
  1. lyn permalink
    April 4, 2008 5:19 am

    That’s a great post. Did you know that memory loss can be treated. http://www.photographic-memory.org has plenty of methods and techniques that you can use to improve your memory condition. You might want to give it a shot.

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