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Meet: the incredible Melody Gardot

Meet: the incredible Melody Gardot

Posted on 29. Aug, 2009 by admin in MEET

When Anne-Marie first made me listen to Melody Gardot she whispered, “you’re in for a treat.” Within minutes, I knew that discovering this beautiful singer was more like a life gift. I am not a musical person and have no training to evaluate what is amazing or just average, but my reaction to the purity of Gardot’s voice nearly brought me to tears. I’ve been listening unceasingly to her album My One and Only Thrill for the past 3 weeks. Not surprisingly, I found out that this 24 year old crooner is an amazing woman and survivor.

Raised largely by her grandparents, Gardot moved around a lot, often living out of suitcases. While biking in 2003 she was hit by a car and suffered serious head and spinal injuries; her pelvis was shattered in two places. She was confined to a hospital bed, on her back, for a year and slowly had to re-learn simple tasks such as brushing her teeth and walking. Today, the most noticeable effect of the neural injuries is that she is hyper-sensitive to both light and sound, requiring her to wear sunglasses at all times to shield her eyes. The accident also resulted in both long and short term memory problems and difficulty with her sense of time. Gardot says this challenge is “like climbing Mount Everest every day,” as she often wakes with no memory of what she has to do that day. The accident damaged the neural pathways between her brain’s cortexes which control perception and higher mental function making Gardot (in her own words) “a bit of a vegetable,” and making it hard for her to speak or communicate properly or recall the words she needs to express her feelings.

During her time in hospital Gardot first learned to hum and was eventually able to sing into a tape recorder. She made good progress and was able to write original songs that sometimes referred to her rehabilitation. She also learned how to play the guitar. For several years after the accident Gardot traveled with a physiotherapist and carried a machine strapped to her waist which released pain reducing impulses.

Buddhism has been, according to Gardot, an important factor in her recovery and she talks openly about her Buddhist beliefs.  She has said “to be truly Buddhist is to let everything go, your memory, your expectations.” Her Buddhist philosophy extends to her lifestyle and she has sold her flat in Philadelphia and given away her furniture and cat. Her only possessions fit in two suitcases which she takes on concert tours. Her hit album, My One and Only Thrill, was released in April 2009.

2 Responses to “Meet: the incredible Melody Gardot”

  1. Foster

    29. May, 2011

    Hi Gilly, Melody has indeed a wonderful voice.

    I would like to highlight Hayley Dee Westenra, a New Zealand soprano, classical crossover artist, songwriter and UNICEF Ambassador. I heard she is not well-known in Belgium.
    Please see a couple of link below.

    With Andrea Bocelli:

    With Celtic Woman:

  2. Arieh

    15. Jan, 2010

    I also recently discovered Melody Gardot and have been listening to her non-stop. At around the same time, I also discovered Richard Hawley’s latest album “Truelove’s Gutter”. If Gardot nearly brought you to tears than Hawley’s melancholy ballads will also distill a poignant nostalgic mood with tears of joy. I created a playlist on my iPod with both of these crooners and I find they make a nice couple.

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