A Jackie Special (UK) 17th August 1974
THE NEW LOVE IN MELANIE'S LIFE
YOU might expect music to be the most important thing in the life of a singer and songwriter like Melanie the lovely American lady who's had hits with songs like "Look What They've Done to My Song, Ma," "The Nickel Song," "Brand New Key" and "Will You Love Me Tomorrow. "
But in the last year, music has taken second place in Melanie's a life. And it's all because of a very special person -‑ her baby daughter, Leilah!
Melanie came to Britain for her summer holidays this year, accompanied by her husband Peter, and of course, Leilah. And while she was here, l had the chance to speak to her.
It was a lovely hot afternoon when we met, so we decided to go out and sit on the veranda. And, sitting in the sunshine with her hair blowing gently around her face, Melanie seemed positively to glow with happiness!
"Yes, I'm very, very happy," she agreed. "My baby has changed my life completely. I just can't be the same person as I was before Leilah's birth, because my baby is better than anything that ever happened to me before. "
As you perhaps know, Melanie eventually decided to call her daughter Leilah after the Eric Clapton song of the same name. But before she decided on that, she'd considered calling the baby Melanie (if she turned out to be a girt, of course!).
"I thought of calling her Melanie," she said. "In fact I had thought this would be my daughter's name ever since I was about eighteen, but when it came to the point, I just couldn't, I mean, if I hadn't become famous it would have been a good name, but l don't want my daughter to be seen by everyone as just the daughter of a singer.
'"I think Leilah is a beautiful name, and I've discovered it means the same as my name in Persian" she said. "Mine means, 'Darkness' and her name is 'Dark As The Night'. " wondered how having a baby had affected Melanie's songwriting.
"Well, before she was born, I didn't really think too much about it," she explained, "except for feeling that something beautiful was happening to me.
"But since her birth, a new magic has come to my songwriting! Maybe it's because I feel so good myself. 1 feel really healthy, and I'm eating like mad! I'll have to be careful not to put on too much weight! " And Melanie's pregnancy had its funny moments, too, as she explained.
"Not long before Leilah was born, I developed an amazing craving for lobsters!" she told me. "I'm still looking for a reason. We thought the lobster bit meant that she would turn out to be a Scorpio person! But she's not ‑ she's a Libran'. "
0F course, Melanie hasn't given up her career in music since she became a mother.
"1 couldn't give it up; " she said. .
"1 love performing, it's a very strong part of my life. And writing and composing songs is very important to me as well.
"I feel I have to be creating. I'm a real dreamer, and much as I love performing in concert, I also crave for moments when I can be alone. " Luckily though, she doesn't see herself having any problems keeping up a career and being a mother.
"Of Course, I have to travel about a lot, so I do have a nanny, but I'll never let Leilah become a baby who's delivered once a day to see her mother and then sent back to her nanny. " Melanie admits she sometimes does wonder what kind of world she is bringing her daughter up in, but at the moment, she's content with the joy being a mother has brought her. .
"Right now, this is a big happening," she said. I don't really know about tomorrow, but I suppose I aim to find Leilah same direction and of course, make her surroundings as pleasant as I can.
"It would be lovely if she grows up and loves music but then, of course, she may not. Have you heard of Personology? It's the study of faces.
"Going by that, it seems Leilah has musical ears, so I'm sure she will sing, and if it is for a living, then I don't mind. " Melanie says Leilah is coming up to a very interesting stage in her development now.
"She's just beginning to speak," she told me, smiling excitedly at the thought. "But I don't think she knows what she's saying and of course 1 don't. It makes me laugh to hear her!
"One day though, she'll say her first word and then of course comes walking. I can't wait for these moments! "
And in the meanwhile, Melanie is concentrating on enjoying her new role in life.
"It's just great being a mum," she told me. "I intend to have lots more children -‑ if I'd known how fantastic it was going to be, I would have started my family ages ago!"
I reckon Leilah's a very lucky little girl to have a mum like Melanie, don't you?
Evening News (UK) - 18th June 1974
Baby Leilah Schekeryk is joining the jet set early. Though only nine months old, she flew into Heathrow from New York today with her mother, Melanie, the American rock singer. Melanie is here for a Theatre Royal, Drury Lane concert on Sunday. It is her first concert for two years - and all tickets were sold in two days. Her hit records included "What Have They Done To My Song, Ma?"
The Sun (UK) - 18th
That's my baby:
MELANIE, the American folk
singer, arrived in London
yesterday-with her eight-month old
daughter, Leilah, for company.
It was the first trip abroad for
Leilah, who was named
after a song written by guitarist
Melanie, who is married to a
record producer, said: "It was my
favourite song when 1 was
She burst on the British pop
scene three years ago with the
song Brand New Key.
But it is two years since Melanie
has been in this country. She is
here for a concert in London on
Saturday-and it's a sell-out.
PICTURE BY DAVID GERRARD