Celebrates unhappy birthday
By RICKI FULMAN
Folk singer Melanie will celebrate her 26th birthday February 3 by giving a concert at Carnegie Hall.
"It's because I'm always so depressed on my birthday," she explained the other day in her new Central Park South apartment that resembles a posh cave with orange curved walls, organic furniture and thick orange carpeting.
"I stopped having happy birthdays when I was 8. I figured by singing this year, I'd be less miserable. However, now that I've survived the trauma of turning 25, I like my age, and am even enjoying slowly withering," she said smiling.
The February 3d concert and one a day earlier, kick off the singer's U.S. tour.
Sinking deep into an arrangement of three cushions she remarked: "I've neglected this country really."
She's been busy touring Europe, hitting 10 countries in two months. As official spokeswoman for UNICEF, she raised nearly $335,000 for the organization through her concerts.
"It was a far more hectic schedule—a concert a day— than I would arrange on my own. Maybe I'm lazy, but I work better and feel better working at a slower pace. So, although I loved doing it now I'm going to give concerts at a pace that's better for me, and donate proceeds to UNICEF from time to time."
Melanie found she prefers singing to English-speaking audiences because otherwise the subtleties of her lyrics are lost. "Some of those foreign audiences really over-reacted, and I knew they had to be thinking about something other than what I was singing," she explained.
She liked Yugoslavia best for its beautiful scenery and warm people, and Copenhagen least "I had the same reaction that I get in L.A.," she explained. "The Danish are like their porcelain and pewter— almost antiseptic. But then I've never liked Danish modern.
"And you might know, they requested 'Brand New Key' the most."
Melanie, who writes the music and lyrics for 90% of her songs, talked about how her themes are changing.
"Looking back over the last 10 years, I find that like many writers, I am in a lull now. There's been a levelling off of energy somehow.
"I used to address myself to thousands of people, getting together, and all holding hands —like crowds at Woodstock or something. Now my work is getting more personal, addressed to one person, in terms of I miss you because you're far away." Tragedies are often her inspiration, although she admitted: "I sometimes wonder myself where the next idea will come from."
Born in Astoria, she now lives in southern New Jersey, as well as Manhattan, with her husband, Peter Schekeryk, who is also her manager. They have six cats, three dogs and a goat.
Although she loves tending her animals, making pottery and cooking, music still comes first. "Writing makes me feel clean," she stressed, "as if I'm airing out my feelings. I don't feel good when I don't write. Although I never cared about being famous, or expected such a thing to even happen, it's kind of groovy to hear yourself on a car radio."