Melody Gardot: Perspective
AAJ: Why did you choose to cover "Over the rainbow"?
MG: It was an homage to my grandmother. She used to make me watch The Wizard of Oz (1939) all the time, and that was one of my favorite movies growing up, not by choice, but by circumstance [laughs]. It was one of her favorite movies, and got me interested in it. And then one day by accident I was writing and the song just came along, and I thought "well, I'll put it on there, under my grandmother."
AAJ: Do you think you are the same Melody you were a year ago?
MG: No, we all change all the time and I changed too. My faith changed, my ideas on music changed, my ideas on love changed. Everything changes. And I've seen so much in the last year; I couldn't help but change.
AAJ: Have your ideas on music changed?
MG: The way I hear music, what I can appreciate. I can appreciate different music now that I couldn't appreciate before, and I just see it with different eyes now.
AAJ: You always say that you are not a jazz vocalist. How would you define yourself, music wise?
MG: I am just a singer. Like a bird; we are all birds. Some of us are on bigger branches, some others live in different climates, but we are all birds. And some of us sing in the morning, and some in the afternoon. We are just songbirds. Some of us have really busy songs, and some have fickle songs. I'm just a bird, a singer, a songbird. I think that if someone were to call himself or herself something else it would just be foolish.
AAJ: What's music to you?
MG: Music is everything. It's the sound track to our destiny. It's why we remember people; it's why we forget them. It's why we fall in love, and why we fall out of love. It measures up on every level. We look to it, and those of us who forget it live life that is in a glitch. Because music is a portal, music is a transportation...a direct transportation to a place where we can exist in our world even more peacefully, more natural. Music is everywhere. Music is in the birds, music is in the scene, music is in the footsteps in the people walking in the mall; It's everywhere, it's everything!
AAJ: Do you think you are connected to jazz?
MG: Yeah, sure! Jazz comes from the blues, and the blues comes from a place of pain. And the blues came from the slaves, people in their homes that sang for the sake of their souls, not for anybody to listen to. They were not recorded. Music like that comes from that place and never goes anywhere. Even when you look at blues, blues moved slowly into jazz with artists like Louis Armstrong taking blues to a new stage. It all comes from blues. There is blues and jazz in my music.
AAJ: Scat for Melody Gardot.
MG: Scat is nonsense. Scat is just that silly thing that you do when you don't have the words to sing, and you scat. It's really not anything, it's just gibberish. If you wanna be a trumpet, you scat; You wanna be a clarinet? You start to scat. Kind of goofing off. It's fun goofing off, and we are happy that we can do it. It's like playing, when we get to do something silly.
AAJ: How would you describe your voice to somebody that has never heard you before?
MG: I sound like a trumpet. I think I sound like a horn [laughs].
AAJ: What did Worrisome heart mean to you?
MG: It was the album before this [new] one. I was proud because at the end of the day, when I listened back, I was happy with how it sounded, for my sake. It sounded as though I couldn't do anything else to it, it was done, it was complete, and that was important to me. It needed to feel finished, and it did.
AAJ: Larry Klein, your producer.
MG: We met by way of serendipity; he heard my music on the radio, and he liked it, and when I met him I liked him too, I thought he was very sweet, and we decided we wanted to work together. It was very simple; there is not a whole lot to tell, really. Just two people that happened to find out about each other within a few weeks of each other and decided to work together, in a serendipitous kind of way.
AAJ: What's the perfect song to sing?
MG: You're gonna laugh [laughs]. "He is a Tramp," from the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp (1955). I just love it.
AAJ: And the most difficult song for you to sing?
MG: "Some Lessons" from my first album and "My One and Only Thrill," from this new album. The more emotional the song is, the more difficult it is to perform.
Melody Gardot, My One and Only Thrill (Verve, 2009)
Melody Gardot, Worrisome Heart (Verve, 2008)
Top Photo: Janneke Michels
Bottom Photo: Georges Braunschweig