Melody Gardot

Melody Gardot

American pop and jazz singer
Acclaimed vocalist, known for her dusky mix of jazz, Brazilian traditions, folk, and artful pop.
BornFebruary 2, 1985
HometownNew Jersey, United States


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Melody Gardot interview: 'God bless sexy women!'

  • “Having femininity, sensuality, that works for me right now,” says Melody Gardot. “Maybe because the world is so hard, I’ve tuned into this very simple kind of thing: I am a woman and I have a place, and it’s a moment to go back to that.” The American jazz singer-songwriter is on a Zoom call from a town close to Paris, France. She has an espresso coffee and a roll-up cigarette on the go, whilst ambulance sirens periodically flare up from a nearby hospital, lending the scene an air of drama that suits Gardot’s hyper energy. She talks very fast with a certain jazzy beatnik flair, putting on voices, bursting into snatches of song, cracking jokes, laughing infectiously. “I have goosebumps, all down my legs,” she says with a shiver, more than once, whilst evoking some musical memory. Although she was born in New Jersey, studied in Philadelphia, and has lived in New York and Los Angeles, the 35-year-old occasionally slips into perfectly accented French. “I don’t speak English with a lot of people right now, sorry,” she chuckles, when I point this out. She calls herself “a citizen of the world” and has been based in Europe for the past five years, living in Portugal (she speaks that language fluently too) before settling in France in 2017. “I didn’t like the hustle and bustle of some metropolitan areas in the US. I’m a slow mover and people would run me over on the street. I love café culture, art and intellect, the long hello and sweet goodbye. It’s a human connection. So I kind of traced those lines to find a place I felt at home.” Gardot had already begun the process of recording her fifth album, Sunset in Blue, when “everything came to a standstill” in March. “This was a strange record to make. Where we thought we were going in the beginning is not where we ended up.” Scheduled orchestral sessions had to be abandoned. She contemplated whether to release a stripped back album or wait until restrictions were lifted. “There was this deafening silence in the arts, museums closed, dance is over, there’s no galleries, no shows. Music is a fundamental part of our civilization, so when it goes to sub zero, we have two choices, right? We do nothing, cos we’re stuck on the idea that it needs to be the same way its always been. Or we let go of some of the idealism and say ‘let’s do what we can with what we have.’” In May, she released a gorgeous new song, From Paris With Love, recorded in social isolation with a virtual orchestra of unemployed musicians from around the world. “It’s very difficult to make the kind of music we do, fringing on classical and jazz, in a long-distance environment. But it was a way to pull everyone together.” Then in June, she oversaw the first post-lockdown session at Abbey Road studios, with 40 musicians from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Gardot joined on a screen from Paris, and producer Larry Klein beamed in from LA. In the meantime, she had taken the opportunity to rework some songs. “I took a hatchet and chopped things up and rewrote material. Things really shifted on the spot.”