I first discovered this woman when she played an intimate concert in our town’s small theatre back in 2009. When she hit the stage in her stilettos, fedora, corset, dark glasses, and walking stick… oh my, my. I’ve never seen such an icon of femininity. She was by far the sexiest, most confident, most elegant woman I’d seen in my lifetime. Her mode of moving immediately slowed time to a near crawl, and I could feel her energy seep out and roll in waves off the front of the stage to where this quiet, closeted, little Lady Grey sat with her mouth hanging open.
Melody Gardot greeted us in hushed tones, breathy, ethereal, and altogether far too French for me to comprehend. At the time, I didn’t realize I was encountering a woman who understood and lived my love of all things French, from Edith Piaf to the dark streets of Montmartre in the evening.
When she opened her mouth to sing those first life-changing notes, I felt like my soul rose up out of my chest to ride them through the air. She lift her brandy snifter off the piano, took a sip, and started in again. I had no idea then that she had overcome anything. Hell, she was who I aspired to be in that moment… larger than life, magnetic, and magical.
Who could ever have imagined that just a few years prior she had been unable to speak, sing, or walk… let alone stride onto that stage and steal my heart?
But that is exactly what happened. In 2003, she had been hit by a car while riding her bicycle in Philadelphia.She suffered incredible injuries to her spine and head, resulting in a stay at the hospital of over a year. While there, an insightful doctor suggested (thank GOODNESS), that music often was used to reprogram and grow neural pathways. She began writing her music from her bed, while once again learning to brush her teeth, overcome pain, and cope with the overwhelming loss of both her short and long term memory.
Take a moment and watch these videos of her. There is no trace of an injury, no hint of handicap. She is not only a beautiful woman who has overcome so very much, but she is one of my favorite musicians. Her music is her own – copying no one. She has created it from the very depths of her soul, and I believe it will speak to you. Each of the videos I have posted here are completely different. She reinvents herself and reaches and pushes for something new every time she creates. Her new album came out this week, and I hope I’ve already made you a fan.
This song has special meaning to me for a number of reasons, but when I saw this man dance it… well, watch for yourself. There aren’t any words to express the raw emotions that bubble up inside of me when I see him soar through space and time, smashing into his boundaries, spinning out of control, hitting the floor, frantically moving because he MUST.
Beauty will save the world, friends.