Scottish Daily Mail October 6, 1999

Focus on a folk heroine

What became of the Sixties folk diva Melanie?


SINGER-SONGWRITER Melanie Safka was born in New York on February 3, 1948, the daughter of a Ukrainian father and an Italian mother who bad been a professional jazz singer.
She spent her teen years in New York, listening to Edith Piaf records and training as an actress, but was impressed by the folk music scene and began playing in Greenwich cafes and clubs.
She attracted the attention of producer Peter Schekeryk and signed her first record deal in 1967 for Columbia Records, being touted as 'the new Bob Dylan'. But her debut album, Beautiful People, was a commercial flop.
She married Schekeryk in 1968 but was one of the earliest performers to be known only by her first name. She said: 'For some unknown reason, when my first album came out, it carried only my first name and that's the way it has been ever since.'
Her career took off in 1969, when Beautiful People struck a chord with the hippies at the Woodstock festival, and Melanie became the quintessential flower child.. Her greatest successes were Lay Down (Candles In The Rain) which was No.6 in the US, In 1971 and Brand New Key, a US. No.1 the same year.
She has fallen into relative obscurity but has more than 30 albums to her name and tours a lot. She says: 'People want to talk only about the good old days. There's this horrible implication that you're nothing now. But I know I'm better than I used to be.'
She won an EMMY in 1980 for writing a song for the TV show Beauty And The Beast and was one of the few Woodstock performers at the 25th anniversary concert.
Melanie has two daughters and a son, and lives in Clearwater, Florida.

Brian McCabe, Glasgow.

Hippy chic: Singer-songwriter Melanie was a star after Woodstock

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