Melanie Safka Schekeryk
You're busy, so we'll boil it down to one word:
Let's amplify on that: Melanie, one of the great spirits of music, whose writing has been favorably compared to the songs of Dylan and Leonard Cohen, whose performance during one rainy night at Woodstock '69 inspired the first-ever display of uplifted lighters, and whose concerts trigger standing ovations everywhere from Nashville's intimate Bluebird Café to the General Assembly Hall in the United Nations and on to festivals and arenas filled with thousands of fans who see Melanie as a harbinger of music yet to come.
Melanie is here. She is that rarest of headliners -- someone who has made history and yet is fully contemporary. Her new album, Paled By Dimmer Light, reveals her in as a mistress of honest, humorous, insightful poetry in songs you'll always remember, delivered with a voice you'll never forget.
Backed by her son, the gifted young guitarist/engineer/vocalist Beau Jarred Schekeryk, Melanie speaks to those who first met her in the era she helped to define through songs like "Brand New Key", "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)", "Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma", "Peace Will Come", "Beautiful People", "Ruby Tuesday" and many more," who have, like her, struggled and laughed and live still to this day -- but she speaks to their children too, who hear in her the charisma, passion, and toughness that inspired their favorite performers.
Melanie is unique. Her appeal, like her music, suffers no limits. Just listen and you'll know: She is yesterday and today all at once -- and tomorrow she can be yours to present as well.
For information on pricing, scheduling, and all other details on booking Melanie for your venue, email Peter Schekeryk.
Clear your mind. Take a breath.....
Get ready to meet the most exciting new artist you've heard in more than a few years...
Oh, one more thing. Forget that you've already met her. Maybe yesterday, maybe a lifetime ago. That doesn't matter.
What matters is that you've never heard Melanie - really heard her - until now.
On Paled By Dimmer Light an extraordinary singer, whose voice has inspired imitation and whose work virtually defined the idea of singer/songwriter, introduces herself, as if for the first time.
In fact, Melanie's performance is so immediate, her songs so tied to our times, that we're not even going to touch on all that she's done throughout her remarkable career. (Actually, we will; that'll come a little way down.)
Instead, allow us to introduce a great new performer. Like you, she has a history. And like so few of the singers breaking in nowadays, Melanie has a future. Her story is just beginning. .
The ocean hisses, a block away. Sunlight pours through the room, dancing across hand-painted cabinets and walls -- all Melanie's handiwork. We're in Florida, but it feels like the Southwest, ancient and modern and open as a broken heart.
"That's just distraction," she says, with a self-deprecating laugh. "I make stuff with no plan -- cutting pieces of paper or something."
But over the past year or so, while decorating an old cabinet, or framing a piece of driftwood with an uncanny resemblance to a Golden Retriever (dog worshippers, line up outside, to the left), or taking a walk on the beach, Melanie has often found herself humming a new melody, or rolling a few words over in her head that seemed to come out of nowhere.
With that, she'd grab a pad and pencil, or maybe a guitar. If he's around, she'd round up her son Beau Jarred, a prodigiously gifted self-taught guitarist and recording engineer at twenty-two, and work with him to turn these fragments into songs. Rushing into his room, they'd lay down tracks; Beau filled out the framework of her music with blazing acoustic fills or meticulous counter-melodies, and coaxed shades of further meaning from her words through just the right sample or texture.
Things sped up. The songs came faster, day and night. There were songs about street people, songs about smiling in the midst of tragedy and getting older and being so tied into the crazy ecstasy of life that there's nothing left to say but "oh, doo-dah day." There were songs about love too -- poetic, sure, but also more direct than anything Melanie has ever written.
And, of course, she sang, in a voice whose passion and power and depth have stunned just about everyone within earshot. Nobody -- not even Melanie herself -- had ever heard anything quite like it.
Trying to keep up with this rush of music and lyric and surprises, Melanie thought about re-releasing her most recent album, Crazy Love, expanded with some of this material and retitled Crazy Love Too. But she and her husband/manager Peter Schekeryk soon realized that something bigger was happening than just a few bonus tracks. Crazy Love had, in fact, been their first step on an unexpected journey -- a boat dipped in the water that had moved quickly to the mouth of a wild and uncharted river.
So they started anew. With two tracks updated from Crazy Love and the rest drawn from this new torrent, they put together Paled By Dimmer Light -- not just the greatest album in a great career, but the debut of a singer, fully alive and contemporary, as was this same singer the first time she changed the world .
She was a New York kid, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts, who sang in Village coffeehouses and found herself one night onstage in front of half a million people at Woodstock, singing her song "Beautiful People" into the first panorama of candles and cigarette lighters ever raised in appreciation at a concert event. That inspired "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)," Melanie's massive 1970 hit, which sold more than one million copies, prompted Billboard, Cashbox, Melody Maker, Record World, and Bravo to anoint her as female vocalist of the year, and is described at Allmusic.com as "impossible not to love." Her single "Brand New Key," an infectious romp about independence and roller skates, topped the charts in 1971.
With that, the first part of her story began. With guitar in hand and a style that combined amazing vocal equipment, disarming humor, and an insightful engagement with life, she was booked as the first solo pop/rock artist ever to appear at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera House, the Sydney Opera House, and in the General Assembly of the United Nations, where delegates greeted her performances with standing ovations. The top television shows of the time -- Ed Sullivan, The Tonight Show -- battled to book her. (In the wake of her stunning performance on his show, Sullivan goggled that he had not seen such a "dedicated and responsive audience . since Elvis Presley.") Accolades rolled in, from critics ("Melanie's cult has long been famous, but it's a cult that's responding to something genuine and powerful -- which is maybe another way of saying that this writer counts himself as part of the cult too," wrote John Rockwell in The New York Times) as well as peers ("Melanie,"
insisted jazz piano virtuoso Roger Kellaway, "is extraordinary to the point that she could be sitting in front of us in this room and sing something like 'Momma Momma' right to us, and it would just go right through your entire being."
In the years that followed Melanie continued to record, continued to tour. UNICEF made her its spokesperson; Jimi Hendrix's father introduced her to the multitude assembled for the twentieth anniversary of Woodstock. Her records have continued to sell -- more than eighty million to date. She's had her songs covered by singers as diverse as Cher, Dolly Parton, and Macy Gray. She's raised a family, won an Emmy, opened a restaurant, written a musical about Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. .
She has, in short, lived a rare life. But as we said way back on page one, all this is a prelude to what's coming.
"Paled by Dimmer Light is my Lord of the Rings," Melanie insists. "It just feels perfect. Every song fulfilled itself -- every one. A thread ties them all together, and I've never had that before. I feel like a person who's never been heard. Maybe people think that they've heard me, but they never really have. I'm a new artist. I'm having so much fun with my voice -- a person shouldn't be allowed to have so much fun. I'm the woman I wanted to be when I was sixteen and going for Edith Piaf. I'm a pagan goddess" -- and here, again, she laughs, with joy, maybe a little embarrassment, but also something dead serious as she adds .
Meet Melanie again -- for the very first time.