Happy 2014

Happy 2014

One morning in October
It was the morning after the night Melanie did a stage it concert
at my time 3 AM
I didn’t get back to sleep but
went to chant for world peace and my goals in the SGI Cultural Centre
From 7 till 9
On my way home through the Vondelpark
I saw these sunrays

Into the New Year | written by Melanie Safka

Into the New Year

Peter and I were married on New Year’s Eve. We went to ‘Cousin Brucie’s’ New Year’s Eve party at his loft in New York City. Cousin Brucie announced it and everyone cheered and toasted. Now it is coming on to forty five years later, forty five years, a ripe old age in other times but I grew up in never never forever and ever land and I am still not comprehending with my whole self that Peter isn’t here to celebrate forty five years of marriage ~ Peter was there for a minute in ‘Melanie and the Record Man’ – now the void is seemingly getting bigger, cavernous and unfathomable, how are we expected to get up from this depth. I grasp at anything that looks like a lifeline, I don’t even know why, except I made a deal and I don’t like to go back on a promise ~ tonight I make a promise that I will sing forever ~ we’ll shine our little light … and nobody wants to go to bed. This year I want to sing “Make it work for me” to Aretha and “Extraordinary” to Nathalie Cole, those formula people need to get out of the arts and let artist go direct. Peter says I’m right. Here somewhere into the new year. So my dear ones, we go on, into the new year.

Love,

Melanie

via Melanie Safka – Journal.

Amerika – 2012

Het vliegtuig dat me naar Amerika brengt

De dag is 16 oktober 2012.
Met dit vliegtuig vertrek ik zo naar Amerika. H heeft me naar Schiphol gebracht. Ik wilde eerst gewoon met tram en trein maar AVK raadde me aan H te vragen en ik vind het erg fijn dat H het doen wil. Het is regenachtig in Nederland. We regenden nat toen we afscheid namen. Ik ben niet meer zenuwachtig. Vannacht telde ik nog de dagen dat ik weg zou zijn en vooral de dagen dat ik weer terug zou zijn maar nu ben ik er helemaal klaar voor om te gaan. Ik ben nog wel een beetje zenuwachtig hoe het me zal lukken als ik in Amerika ben maar S heeft alles duidelijk voor me opgeschreven. Als ik geland ben op John F Kennedy neem ik de Airtrain naar Jamaica, daar moet ik de A nemen en bij Hoyt Schemerhorn overstappen op de G. Die neem ik tot Churchstreet en dat is het eindpunt. Ik heb zelf op de kaart gekeken hoever het lopen is naar Ocean Parkway, een minuut of vijf.

De vlucht is goed, ik zit aan het raam naast een dikke vriendelijke man en een slanke huisvader. Twee Zweedse meisjes vroegen me te ruilen zodat zij naast elkaar konden zitten en ik in het midden maar ik heb resoluut nee gezegd. Ik wil aan het raam. Helaas is er weinig te zien. Het is bewolkt en waait. We moeten geregeld onze riemen om omdat we in turbulentie zitten en het vliegtuig behoorlijk schudt. Ik word bijna misselijk.

Iedereen heeft aan de stoel voor ons bevestigd een klein schermpje waar je films op kunt zien. Ik kijk twee films: ‘Alleen maar nette mensen’ die net een paar dagen daarvoor in premiere is gegaan en waar ik absoluut heen wilde als ik terug was maar dat hoeft nu niet meer. Grappige film. Hierna kijk ik naar The untouchable’ geloof ik, een Franse film over een invalide man en de zwarte man die voor hem werkt en hem overal heen rijdt, een feel good movie waar ik veel over gehoord heb. Hierna lees ik wat. Het vliegtuig maakt veel lawaai, het lukt me niet te luisteren naar mijn Ipod waar ik boeken heb gedownload.

Ik moet een formulier invullen voor de douane. Ik ben niet op een boerderij geweest en neem geen etenswaren mee. Ik maak me een beetje zorgen over de gedroogde moerbeibessen die ik bij me heb. Mag ik die nu wel of niet meenemen naar de States? Uiteindelijk spoel ik ze door het toilet als ik een stempel van de immigratie heb. Voor ik door de douane ga. Ik wil niet het risico lopen dat een hond mijn moerbeibessen ruikt en ik het land niet in mag.

Alles wijst zich van zelf. Ik neem de Airtrain, een vriendelijke man wijst me naar de skyline van Manhatten en een niet onvriendelijke zwarte dame die voor de subway werkt, helpt  me geld op mijn metrokaart te zetten als ik op het verbindende station kom, ik neem de metro – het wordt steeds voller en duurt allemaal erg lang maar na een uur of zo kom ik aan op Hoyt Schemerhorn, ik stap over en neem de F of de G, dat weet ik niet meer, stap uit bij Church street, neem de lift naar boven en sta in het volle zonlicht. Brooklyn.

Met aan elke hand een koffer loop ik de straat die ik zag op Google Maps in en kom op Ocean Parkway. S is gelukkig thuis, dat had ze me al verzekerd, ik neem de lift naar de zesde verdieping. Als S de deur open doet, ontmoet ik een klein zwart wit katje met een plastic ring om haar nek, Jopie. Ook ontmoet ik de grote zus van Sterretje, de schuwe Nellie.

Ik neem S mee uit eten, we gaan naar een Mexicaan, we lopen door Brooklyn en ze laat me de mooiste plekken zien uit haar buurt.

’s Avonds is het laatste debat tussen Romney en Obama, Romney heeft een zoete zalvende stem. Hij herhaalt zichzelf de hele tijd, valt Obama steeds aan maar zegt niets dat hout bijt. – of hoe zeg je dat –

Mijn tijd 5 uur, maar 23u in mijn nieuwe tijd val ik in bed, Jopie en Nellie liggen bij me.

Brand New Key’ singer’s improbable journey to Rochester

Melanie and Peter shwoing the golden record of Brand New Key

Melanie and Peter with the gold record of ‘Brand New Key’ – photo made by Maddy Miller

‘Brand New Key’ singer’s improbable journey to Rochester

Peter and Melanie Schekeryk. Melanie is holding the Gold Record for ‘Brand New Key.’ / Photos Courtesy copyright Maddy Miller, maddymiller

Written by
Jeff Spevak
Staff writer

The clerk at the Best Buy phone counter is helping out a 68-year-old man who, incomprehensibly in the 21st century, in November 2010, is asking the clerk if he’s ever heard of Melanie. The pop singer.

Then the older man leans on the counter and tells the clerk he’s not feeling well. The kid gets him a glass of water. It was Melanie who started the idea of people holding up lighters at concerts, the old guy is saying as he drinks the water, trying to compose himself. When she played Woodstock, in 1969. Of course now, in the 21st century, people hold up their cellphones at shows …

Then he slumps over, store employees ease him to the floor and call 911. He’s had a heart attack before. A year ago to that very day, in fact, during a plane flight from Germany. But Peter Schekeryk won’t survive this one at the Best Buy in Framingham, Mass. He’s apparently still trying to explain the lighters when he utters his last words. “It was Melanie. …”

Not far away, a 63-year-old woman is sitting on a decorative haystack outside of the Whole Foods supermarket with her overloaded shopping cart, waiting for her husband to pick her up. He has been gone a long time. She calls his cellphone, but gets his voicemail. She’s annoyed, and also concerned. A police car pulls up and a cop gets out. “Are you Melanie Schekeryk?” he asks.

This is how pop stars who have sold more than 25 million albums get the news that their spouse of 45 years has died. The same as you or I.

That scene could have been the end of the story for Melanie. That much seems obvious, her eyes reddening and a catch in her voice betraying the heavy emotions she still carries when she talks about Schekeryk. However, the opposite has happened. It is the beginning of the story. Her husband’s death is the opening scene of the autobiographical musical Melanie and the Record Man. And his death has allowed the story to continue, in an improbable way.

Improbable because it is a small community theater group in Rochester, people she had never had contact with before, who pulled Melanie from a sidetrack of pop history, created a play from her blogs and journals and ultimately convinced Melanie that she must be a part of it, tell the story herself, write new songs and sing many of the old songs.
The play begins its world-premiere run from Friday through Oct. 28 at Blackfriars Theatre.“It would be so much simpler if I were dead and they got some frumpy, gorgeous person to play me,” Melanie says, while sitting in the theater lobby on East Main St. “I have doubts and fears.”Inside the theater itself, a small crew is pulling together the doubts and fears, assembling Melanie’s story. Tall ladders reach into the ceiling lights. Curtains are draped across the red-fabric chairs of the 126-seat theater. The high whine of electric drills will soon give way to songs such as “Beautiful People” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain),” inspired by what Melanie saw as she played Woodstock in 1969. Four-hundred thousand people, many with flickering lighters and candles, just as Peter Schekeryk described to the cellphone clerk.Melanie’s biggest hit was “Brand New Key,” an air-light No. 1 record in 1971. It is what she is best known for. But she was not a one-hit wonder, releasing 35 albums, the latest in 2010.

Sure, she meditated with Indian yogis, but so did The Beatles. Melanie still has a little bit of mystic in her. Sometimes, she admits, she senses that Schekeryk is in the room with her, guiding her. She once wrote a song called “I Don’t Eat Animals.” The quintessential flower child, she was a reluctant celebrity, she says, who resented being cast as what she calls “a beautiful bliss ninny.”

And, Melanie now eats animals. Studies have shown, she says, you’ll live longer with a diet that includes meat and fish.“A pretty girl is a target,” she says. “You can’t be very smart and beautiful at the same time. Rolling Stone waged a war against me. They always put me on the same page as Bobby Sherman. I was on the Buddha Record label. That’s the same label that had The Archies. Leon Redbone and Captain Beefheart were on the label, too, but I guess that didn’t count.”It’s as though those old hits don’t belong to her anymore, because Melanie hasn’t seen any royalties on them in years. “I’m a very wealthy woman,” she says. “I just don’t receive the wealth that I generate.”Despite constant touring, her finances are no longer sound. “Peter made deals on a handshake,” she says, “and the handshakes fell through when he died.”
For years, John Haldoupis envisioned fashioning a story cycle from Melanie’s songs. He was a fan, he admits, and as a young man with artistic dreams, painted while listening to her music. Now, as a middle-aged artistic director at Blackfriars, he tried contacting Melanie through her website in spring 2010, never hearing back.Then one day, he opened up the blog on her site and saw that Melanie had written that this would be her last entry for a while. He read about Schekeryk’s death, closed the computer and had himself a good cry.The play Haldoupis had in mind now had a focus: a love story. He renewed his efforts to contact Melanie, finally tracking down her oldest daughter, who agreed to approach her mother about the idea. After a few more months, Melanie called. The collaboration was under way.Schekeryk, an immigrant who fled the Soviet-dominated Ukraine as a child with his family, met Melanie in 1969. He became her producer, her manager and then her husband. She was his only client for the next 45 years. “His entire motivation,” Melanie says, “was to keep the creation going.”Just as he was doing when he was talking to that clerk at the phone counter.A young, slim, blonde woman walks by. She is Mandy Hassett, who will play the young Melanie. And also Melanie in her 60s, when the play circles back to the death of her husband. This was a conceptual staging issue that Haldoupis couldn’t solve until the solution came one night, almost as though had been whispered in his ear, and he awakened with the sudden thought that Melanie didn’t have to age at all. This was how Schekeryk always saw her, Haldoupis reasoned, and inserted a line in a play in which young Melanie is asked, “How is it you’re not getting any older?”“When Jack told me that idea,” Melanie says, “I said to him, ‘Well, that’s how Peter always saw me in his eyes.’ ”Melanie was at the first reading of the play. “Seeing someone who was going to play her husband speak the words, it was a really powerful evening for her,” Haldoupis says. “The actors who I brought in to read, they didn’t know the show was going to be such an emotional wallop. I think they thought they were just going to come in and sing some songs with Melanie. I think they thought the play itself was going to be a train wreck.”The day after Schekeryk’s death, the Best Buy salesman met with Melanie. They hugged. “We were sobbing,” she says. “He said, ‘He loved you so much, all he could talk about was you.’ ”

“Sometimes you don’t know there’s a story,” Melanie says, “until it has an end.”

Peter and Melanie Schekeryk. Melanie is holding the Gold Record for 'Brand New Key.'

Peter and Melanie Schekeryk. Melanie is holding the Gold Record for ‘Brand New Key.’ / Photos Courtesy copyright Maddy Miller, maddymille

Written by
Jeff Spevak
Staff writer
  • FILED UNDER

If you go

What:
Melanie and the Record Man.
When: 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Blackfriars Theatre, 795 E. Main St.
Tickets: $45 at the box office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, one hour before the performance or at blackfriars.org.
Call: (585) 454-1260 during box office hours.

A conversation with Melanie

Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)

Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mata Amritanandamayi

Mata Amritanandamayi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Mata Amritanandamayi.

English: Mata Amritanandamayi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Melanie Safka in Charlotte, North Car...

English: Melanie Safka in Charlotte, North Carolina in February 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Beau Jarred, Melanie Safka's son in C...

English: Beau Jarred, Melanie Safka’s son in Charlotte, North Carolina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Conversation with Melanie

Mike Ragogna: Who could this be? Why, it’s the very lovely, very iconic, Melanie.

Melanie: Hey!

MR: Hi Melanie, how are you?

M: I’m good.

MR: I have to get my clapping over with. Okay, there we go. Melanie, it’s a joy. Your latest album isEver Since You Never Heard Of Me. Traditionally, on all of your albums, we would see the credit “Produced and Arranged by Peter Shekeryk,” though this one was also produced and arranged by Beau Jarred Schekeryk, your son.

M: Yes. Beau did get to work with Peter, and he always says, “I’m so grateful, I got to work with dad on this album,” because Peter is strictly old-school and Beau is best of both worlds, new school and old school.

MR: Because you guys taught him well.

M: Well, Peter was all about the feel and capturing the feel. He would let the artist reign. That was his gift–to really let the artist come out with the album they wanted to come out with. Beau is much more in control of everything. In the technology realms, you sort of have to be in control of everything. But the magic part is making that appear as if it happened with the spontaneity and the magic of a live session.

MR: Let’s go into that. The marriage of traditional recording and modern technology really benefited you on this album. You even have a couple of spiritual songs such as “Motherhood Of Love.” I guess you’re a follower of Mata Amritanandamayi, right?

M: Amma. I’m not exactly a follower, but I’ve gotten an embrace from Amma, and it is an amazing, magical experience. It’s nothing that I could take with me for the rest of my life except in memory, but I think you have to do the hard work yourself, the meditations and the chanting. I think it’s not just the hug from Amma, although I’ll tell you it’s a nice way to jumpstart any kind of spiritual practice.

MR: Yeah, that’s what a lot of people who’ve gotten the hug have said.

M: They say that?

MR: Yeah, as far as getting a jumpstart in their spirituality.

M: Yeah, that’s exactly it. I’m always amazed when somebody thinks of something at the same time as I do.

MR: Oh, that wasn’t to downplay your experience.

M: No, I think it just occurred to me that that’s what that is. The other day, I just thought of something and I thought, “This is amazing! I have to put this out!” and there was another person who thought of this already and I thought, “How is that possible?”

MR: Well let’s talk about that for a funny moment here. What about those times, when you think you’ve had the most original idea for a song and you put it out and somebody else has the same idea on another record?

M: Yeah, that’s what happened with “Beautiful People.” I had a song that I had just written called “Beautiful People” and we produced it and Peter had it put out on Columbia records and Columbia had just released the Kenny O’Dell song “Beautiful People.” So they made me change the title of mine to “My Beautiful People,” which was not exactly what I had in mind, but they were Columbia records, so they won, but it was totally a different thing. His went like [sings] “You’ve got to be one of the most beautiful people in the whole wide world. It’s true, it’s true, it’s true! And I love you.”

MR: [laughs] Thank you for that concert just then! Melanie, in the context of you putting out your own album and self-promoting it and touring for it, you’ve been indoctrinated into the new model for the music business. Those days of needing a major label to promote your record, market you and break you are kind of going away.

M: Oh, they’re gone! I mean…that’s if you’re interested in mainstream media. If you want to be a celebrity for the sake of being a celebrity, you know, being promoted and having your face everywhere, you need a major label. I’m just amazed. Half the people, I see their faces and I say, “They’re famous for being famous,” you know, that phenomenon that’s reared its head in the last ten years or so, people that are emerging. And you’re like, “What do they do? Do they sing? Do they act? Do they write?” The amazing thing is that you don’t need to have a major label, but what your competition is–and this is what I’ve been discovering–is this flood of mediocrity. Yes, we can get everything directly, but we have to weed through the guy who plays the broccoli and whatever it is. Somebody gets their name out as a YouTube artist and people get famous for being good at getting themselves out there. Quite frankly, most creative people are not the best at getting themselves out there, so again, the competition is the flood of mediocre or less than mediocre people. I just wish people who don’t do something would stop wanting to be famous. What is the deal? Why don’t they just do something useful? You can write songs or poetry as a hobby, you don’t have to take up people’s valuable time.

MR: Well, if they play the broccoli, I have to see that. Hey, Melanie, what about the fact that everybody can be a star for five seconds, because of machines like American IdolThe Voice, and all that?

M: Well, that’s degrading, especially American Idol. That’s demeaning, that’s degrading. It brings out the worst in us. I just hate that sort of degradation.

MR: Anyway, enough of they, them, let’s talk about you! I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to throw out some Melanie hits because, hey, they were hits.

M: That’s true! I did have to live that down, being a person who was called a “folk singer.” There was a whole group of folk people who just didn’t think I belonged because I had a hit record; that was called “selling out.” Unbeknownst to me, I sold out because I had a record that was being played on the radio, and that in itself was highly suspect.

MR: Yeah, you sold out because you merely contributed to the culture songs like “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain),” one of the great Woodstock-era anthems. How could you!

M: Well, you know what was really the most wonderful comment? Jerry Leiber was a good friend of Peter’s–Peter having been my husband and producer–and he had a phone call and told Peter something. Peter said, “You have to tell this to Melanie” and he put Jerry Leiber on the phone. I hated when he would just hand me a phone…

MR: …yeah, Peter did that to me and you a few times.

M: “Here, say hello to Mike!” “Hey Mike!” [laughs] So I was put on the phone and Jerry Leiber said, “You and The Beatles have had this knack for…” to paraphrase, to make commercial music blend with art. I think that was one of the most amazing compliments that anybody’s ever paid me. He always loved “Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma” and he was trying to convince me to do a version called “Look What They’ve Done To My World.”

MR: Okay, now let’s go back to “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).” As I’m nodding to your contribution to the culture, you’re also one of the heroes of Woodstock, and people know you from other hits like “Brand New Key,” “Nickel Song,” and your versions of “Ruby Tuesday,” “What Have They Done To My Song, Ma.” And there’s “Psychotherapy,” “Animal Crackers,” “The Good Book,”… You have quite a few classics. Looking at that body of work, what are your thoughts?

M: Well, it all just continued. I never stopped. When people say things like, “Melanie from the sixties,” it’s like, “Well, yeah, from the sixties, from the seventies, from the eighties, from the nineties to the new millennia, and into the beyond.” You want to know what my feeling is about that era, the sixties and seventies? As far as genre, they never knew what to do with me. Pop music was so forgiving at one point. They had The Edward Hawkins Singers with “Oh, Happy Day,” and then there’d be Connie Francis or something or Nancy Sinatra, you know what I mean? All kinds of music were coming together and the source of different genres were crossing over, so you’d hear on a pop radio station with all kinds of different influences. It was a near renaissance on Earth and people were investigating and pulling from different sources. Art was alive and music was alive, because of this interest from artists. Basically, people were doing things because they were interested. Now they’re doing things because they want to be interesting.

MR: Wow, good point.

M: It’s such a different place to come from. “Ooh, I’m going to look like this, and I’m going to sound like this, and my voice is going to do things like this,” just doing things to get people to look at them. “Look at me, look at me!” It’s unpleasant. Back then it was, “Oh, listen to this, this classical thing with the strings…I would go to SIR, the studio instrument rental place in New York city and bump into Laura Nyro who was looking for some interesting percussion to use on her session and I was looking for different flute-y type instruments–maybe a didgeridoo, you know? But it was because it would express what I wanted to express, not because, “Ooh, everybody will see that I used that and I’ll be so interesting.” It’s totally different motivations. The reason why people say that there was a value in that era of music–is it just nostalgia or is there something else? And, of course, there is something else and it comes down to motivation and intention.

MR: There’s something I wanted to throw out at you. There are a lot of indie artists out there, and I would even include you and your son in this, as far as people who are interesting, indie acts, many of whom you can find on the internet if you search. Unfortunately, we don’t get to hear it all. A lot of music seems regional again, like it was in the fifties.

M: Yeah, that’s definitely possible. I mean, I don’t think that is such a terrible thing because then they’re backing it up with performances and people have a reality on what they actually do.

MR: Good point. Now, I wanted to talk about a few other things that you’ve worked on, for instance, your book Tales From the Roadburn Café.

M: I’ve been writing journal entries for some years, and I just put them out on my website and people have been reading them. I don’t read well on a screen. I like to have stuff on paper, I like to turn a page. I’m not a big Kindle person. I’ve tried, but you know, there’s something that’s missing without the ink. I like ink on paper and I like it with books. I decided I was going to collect some of the journal entries and put them out in a book called Tales From the Roadburn Café. We published it ourselves.

MR: I want to read what it says on the front cover. “Whimsical observations told with pathos by the iconic music festival queen with photographs by Beau Jarred Shcekeryk.”

M: Yeah.

MR: You have always been about “family,” it seems. Your husband produced your albums, your kids performed on them, and you’ve all been so supportive of each other. That’s a very hard thing to do when you’re in entertainment, isn’t it?

M: Yeah, it really is, make no mistake. And over the years, so many people were really, truly envious of it, and it’s bizarre because it’s such a hard life. Being in the entertainment business at all is a very hard life. I tried to talk my kids out of it. “Be a vet or something. Something where people aren’t going to attack you,” because you’re really a target! I love that they’re all artists. I didn’t necessarily want them to pursue that as a career, but they all did. My daughter Leilah is a writer in Nashville, and Jeordie sings out in Arizona all the time. She’s actually in Chicago singing right now, and writing. She has her own website and she’s very into social media. I’m just dabbling with Twittering and stuff like that. We’ve just been a gathering of artists, really.

MR: And this latest album, Ever Since You Never Heard of Me was, of course, a family project. But then again, the last few projects you’ve released have been about the family as well.

M: Well, I never think of it that way, but I guess you could see it that way.

MR: And when you read the credits, it’s pretty obvious, you know?

M: Yeah.

MR: You’ve got yet another project going right now, one in the theatrical field.

M: Yeah! Well, before Peter passed away, he gave me an empty journal. He said, “You have to write a book. Everybody wants to hear about what you have to say.” I said, “I can’t get the order right, and it just doesn’t fit me to do this. I think you have to be very old to write a book of memoirs and I’m not old enough.” I would just back off from it all the time, but on this last road trip, we were going on tour and be in Massachusetts and Colorado. We were going to do it by car the whole way, and we packed it up, and he gave me this leather bound journal and said, “I want you to start writing this book. Just write it, it doesn’t matter what the sequence is or the order. Just do it and we’ll worry about that later.” So I didn’t do anything. I didn’t write a thing. But a few nights after Peter passed away, I realized that the story–and it is a story…it’s some story–it was our story, because really and truly, I don’t think there would be a public Melanie if there weren’t a Peter Schekeryk. I was his only client and he was dedicated to spreading the word. In fact, his last words were, “It was Melanie,” because I found this out. He had gone to upgrade his phone at a Best Buy so I wasn’t with him, and I wanted to know how it went down. The guys from Best Buy came in and they were crying. They said he came in and he said, “Did you ever hear of “Melanie? No? Oh, you’ve got to check her website,” and he had them put the website on so they could see who I was and he said, “Melanie was the one who started the lighting of candles at concerts. People don’t know this, but look,” and he was showing them this stuff but then said, “I don’t feel so good.” He keeled over and his last words were, “It was Melanie.”

MR: Oh, my God.

M: When they told me this, I had to write it, and I started the book with, “Sometimes you don’t know it’s a story until it has an end.”

MR: I’m sorry you had to go through that.

M: So this is going to be a musical. I call it a musical mystery comedy of errors.

MR: Let’s take a look at that for a second. I love the fact that you’re doing this, and with a beautiful dedication to Peter as well. I have to tell you, how I came into Melanie was of course through the singles, but I also came into your music through a magnificent album. I know everyone says Photograph is your best, but I came in through Madrugada, which I feel was an album of emotions that had music to it.

M: Yeah, thank you. That’s absolutely a great way to say it.

MR: Right from the beginning to the end, it was just one of those magic records. Also, with Peter, I had spoken to him over the years, getting a call from him like every six months, his trying to work something for you. I was never in the right place until I was at BMG, since they owned your old Buddha Records masters. But my point is that, yeah, it was always about trying to get something going for Melanie.

M: Right, exactly. He was on everybody’s time zone. He would get up at four and be talking to England. He was a one-man Melanie campaign.

MR: And those orchestral arrangements that he came up with were magnificent, I really think so.

M: Oh yeah, and some of the things that he had to do to get those strings. He was a producer for CBS when I met him, and he actually lied to CBS and told them it was a session for a group he was producing called The Marshmallows, a psychedelic group, and it was me, but I had no idea what he was up to. I had a full-out orchestra with a string arranger and the New York session strings and I did it live. It was “Beautiful People.” That’s going to be in the musical. It’s called Melanie and the Record Man and it’s going to be at the Blackfriar Theatre in October in Rochester, New York. So if you’re in and about, or not, if you want to just come in and see this…

MR: …and if people did want to get tickets, I imagine there’s a website?

M: Yeah, it’s Blackfriar’s Theatre in Rochester, New York.

MR: All right. Melanie, what advice do you have for new artists?

M: Wow. God. I would just say examine what your motives are and be careful what you wish for. People ask me this a lot. Listen…listen to things that move you and then if you have something to add to that, great. If not, maybe you want to be an archaeologist or something. Not everybody has to be a famous person. But okay, if you’re beyond that and this is what you’re going to do and no matter what this is what you have to do, if you’re driven and you know what you’ve got to do, then just follow that.

MR: Beautiful. Now, you’re going to be touring, ain’t ya?

M: Yeah. Go to my website and we will put the dates up. I’m going to be at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on November 9th, and I’m going to be at the New Hope winery in Pennsylvania on the 23rd and there’s talk about a European tour and about dates in Florida and Texas, but nothing is absolutely solid yet.

MR: And don’t forget about that Fairfield, Iowa, date!

M: I know! When am I coming to Fairfield?

MR: We’ve got to figure this out.

M: I’ve never performed in Iowa.

MR: Iowa wants its fair share of Melanie, too, you know. Hey, let’s close with a thought or two on a special song from Ever Since You Never Heard of Me, “I Tried To Die Young.”

M: I think there was this “Never trust anyone over thirty” sort of thing, there was this thought that nobody cool ever gets old. We all leave before we get ugly. Of course it doesn’t happen.

MR: Too late for me!

MS: The good die young, so here we are.

MR: [laughs] Any other words of wisdom?

M: Oh, gosh. Nothing’s coming out. I’ll Twitter it.

MR: [laughs] You got it. Thank you very much, Melanie. I really do appreciate your time. It’s been beautiful. You truly are beautiful people.

M: Thank you.

Transcribed by Galen Hawthorne

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ragogna/conversations-with-melani_b_1908414.html