Hit Parader - US - April 1971







The door quietly opens and a young long hired girl enters with a couple of short steps, pauses and looks about her.

The level of conversation suddenly drops leaving a boisterous gentleman poised in mid sentence. He stops abruptly and almost apologetically swallows his drink. All eyes are now focused on the slightly nervous yet welcome intruder. She looks tired as she hesitates, quickly scans the anonymous faces before smiling at one she recognizes—as if she were a self conscious teenager debuting herself at her first grown-up party.

Someone says, "Hello. How are you?"

The young girl, Melanie, replies in the affirmative. She accepts the seat offered her, relaxes, smiles again but this time with an air of confidence. Interrupted conversations begin again.

Melanie is giving little indication that only 30 minutes previously she had left 3000 devotees on their feet pleading for more of her own particular magic. It's backstage and the hour is late and not at all conducive to converse or elaborate at any length. It's been a long day for Melanie. People interrupt our conversation, flashbulbs explode, tape machines whir .....

"I'm not so wide-eyed"

Aside from her artistry, Melanie's aura of childlike naiveté is responsible for the show of solidarity that has accompanied her success. To her admirers, Melanie is child . . . sister. . . unattainable lover. All are qualities of which enigmatic stars are born. But Melanie says: "Believe me ... I'm not so wide eyed. I've experienced things. I thought I was getting away from my subconscious child-like image. Personally I think that all performers have to approach their art with an innocence, as though it were for the very first time." On the explicit autobiographical content of her writings, she felt: "I know quite well that all my songs have been written by others time and time again in different contexts. But you hove to have this innocence otherwise you wouldn't be able to do them." As our conversation seemed to be pivoting around her songwriting, it was only natural that we should discuss her latest album, "Gather Me." I said I felt that her songs didn't need the orchestral trappings supplied by Roger Kelloway. Melanie's defence was straight to the point: "I think `Gather Me' is my best album ever. It's exactly what I'm doing at the moment and I must admit that I enjoy just about everything about it."

"Roger Kelloway and I got on so well together and everything just fell together so naturally."
I conceded that as far as a working relationship was concerned this might be so but on stage she didn't need supporting musicians to enhance her performance.
Said Melanie: "Why I don't do it on stage is because I feel the audience are the musicians. On record you've only got sound and nothing else. You don't have a living sound but a recorded sound, and, as you know, there's quite a difference. "Funnily enough if I record in front of an audience I don't feel like I've made a record because I don't do anything different— I just sing and play my songs."
As an afterthought she laughed and said: "Anyway I like working with session musicians."

Melanie has just formed her own label, Neighborhood Records, with husband Peter Schekeryk. She stated: "It's going to be better this way. By having our own label we won't be pushed into releasing albums. We will be able to work on the concept, decide on the covers and packaging without being hassled. But I'm not in a hurry to put out a new album. I like `Gather Me' and that's it. For now."

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