Starview by: Duncan Star.

Well, I'm back. Back in the Ft, Myers groove and it's good to be home, But look what they've done to our town. Rock and Roll is here to stay, and I can dig it. J, Geils, Charlie Daniels, Molly Hatchet, and now MELANIE. Wait a minute. Melanie, Rock and Roll? That's right. The former Woodstock flower child, purveyor of peace and love is now the female rocker of the 80's.
Riding the crest of her new wave of popularity generated by an excellent come-back album entitled "Ballroom streets", Melanie brings her show home on Saturday evening, May 5. As many of you may already know, she has resided in Ft. Myers for the past year and a half and is excited about performing in front of her neighbors. In fact, she hopes that through her influence other artists and creative people of all types will be attracted to our shores. For the uninformed, Melanie (born Melanie Safka) has recorded 19 albums and has sold 22 million records! She is an accomplished writer as well as performer having penned such universally recognized hits like "Nickel Song", "Beautiful People", "Look What They've Done To My Song", "Brand New Key" and "Candles in The Rain". And she has been the only female singer in the last 20 years to have three singles in the Top 40 at the same time.
Her success followed immediately after her debut at what she calls the miracle of Woodstock." But that was then and this is now, Today Melanie looks back fondly but feels she is much freer now. " I was a victim of conditioning, I was forced to conform to a particular image because I'm a woman. Back then a woman strumming the guitar was automatically labelled a folk artist, I was a solo performer that had no control over my life. I finally decided to stop touring and do what I wanted to do."
What she wanted to do was have a family and relax a bit from the rigors of the road, The result was two beautiful girls (Leilah and Jeordie) and a home in Ft, Myers. She now spends much of her time finger painting with her daughters, collecting shells, net fishing and sunning herself on the Gulf. She and her husband/ producer Peter Schekeryk shun the Hollywood style limelight preferring romantic sunset dinners at the Gulfshore Inn.
Professionally Melanie has become freer also. Where she once accompanied herself alone on acoustic guitar, she now indulges in the power of a rock band, Her present band, SILK AND STEEL, is comprised of young veteran performers whose roots are imbedded in rock. Together, Melanie and the group portray a 1980's version of a band of "cosmic gypsies" that musically take you from the soulful to the sublime. And now she finally has on-stage people with which to share the exhilaration of the performance.
During the course of the interview I was repeatedly struck with Melanie's beauty, energy and "real people" quality. She has achieved tremendous success in a tough business yet seems unaffected by it. She is acquainted with other "stars" but does not feel compelled to hob-nob. She has the usual parental concerns such as the education of her children and appreciates the normal atmosphere that our town provides for raising happily adjusted kids.

She has always been involved with the care of the environment and has pledged 5O from every ticket sold for her local appearance to benefit the Nature Center here in Lee County, She is truly a consummate professional, dedicated parent, and concerned citizen. Also appearing on the "home- grown" bill will be the ever- popular FOXFIRE. The band that has long been known locally for its Southern boogie music will take to the Arena stage for the first time. "Fiddlin' Blll" Gouley and company have come a long way since the Top Rock Talent Search of '76 and have earned the respect of audiences from Ft. Myers to Ft, Lauderdale and down through the Keys. They pause from their present gig at the Landmark in Cape Coral to add a plus to this show.


Whether you like the old Melanie ("Lay Down, Candles In The Rain") or the new rocking version ("Running After Love" is currently her bot single) you will be treated to one of the finest artists of the decade. World United Productions in conjunction with Night Life News and 96 Super Q present "An Evening with Melanie", 8:00 p.m., May 5 at the Lee County Arena. Melanie is back and I, for one, am glad she's home.


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