New Musical Express (UK) 31st October 1970


Interview by PACE

A PRINCESS of peace, looking thru' the eyes al a child, is the minstrel-woman Melanie. Sitting friendly on black and red pillows in her dressing room, she smiles sweetly and looks over to the cherry juice, Swiss cheese, wheat germ and celery lying on the table -- offering whatever and all, Melanie: 23 years old, rosy cheeks, and button, nose, is in Nashville taping the "Johnny Cash Show."

Did she know her "Candles In Rain" album is in the Top Ten and "Ruby Tuesday" in the singles chart? "Really? Oh that's fantastic!" she exclaimed. "England was the hardest place to get known for me even though it was the first place I went when my first album came out two years ago. I didn't do too well to begin with," she said "I don't think they liked the way I was sold, ya know."

Now with two singes and two albums happening in the Stateside charts, her recent chart success in Great Britain, the Cash Show and US tour, with a visit to England after Christmas, Melanie is bubbling!

She also hopes her fruition will allow her to get outside of herself. "I was really living my whole life for myself all these years, trying to make it. I'd like to put myself aside for little bit now that things are going good."

"Ya know something?" she went on. "England was the one place where everything I did was criticised. When I went to the Isle of Wight, in a special festival souvenir, with biographies of performers, the last line about me said something about 'stop acting like a child and people will accept you better."

Not serious

It came up that a lot of people didn't take her seriously: "Yeah, I know. And I know why," Melanie replied after some reflection. "Because I'm not always coming over one way, ya know what 1 mean? There are happy times in everybody's life and there are sad times, and that's the way it should be.

I like to perform the way I like to write; not everything has to mean something deep. I think a lot of people think: 'Oh, she's the same person who wrote ~ Animal Crackers." (Melanie gives a sardonic lk). Ya know like: 'Where could she be at?' "

Where is Melanie at? Well, Melanie is a vegetarian and has been for three years because as she says in song: "1 don't eat animals {and animals don't eat me)."

To relax, she drinks hot water with orange juice and reads Meher Baba. To create something out of nothing, she hunts up old rags and ribbons and fixes them onto styrofoam so that it's transformed into a relic like you'd find in the attic dust.

And when she dreams, Melanie talks about dawn at the Isle of Wight . . . when the first rays of morning melt away the white moon and stars above..

Melanie's writing must flow out or it comes to nothing. "If I'm against something like chemicals, I can't just sit down and write about it" Melanie said "I have to wait until 1 feel it, until 1'm sort of guided by something. And I am guided by something she asserted, nodding her head.


Then she looked up and asked: "Why do people take me seriously?" wrinkling her brows as though she's very concerned.

"I imagine because your songs deal with emotions," I told her, "and some of us are afraid to reach out and touch like you do in your singing and lyrics."

"They said in England my biggest problem was that people don't believe I am what I am," said Melanie.

"Ya know, that's like being --- I can't get concerned with what my image is all about . . . and that's what they'd like me to do! I'm not consistent and that's what's wrong with the whole thing," she imparted.

"And that's what poor Janis did. I mean she was living her whole thing . . . but you become that way, you don't get born that way. And the more you think that's the thing people like about you, that's the thing you're gonna keep doing. You're not going to stop if you think that's the thing they like."

Melanie reached over and picked up her acoustic guitar and asked: "Ya wanna hear my new song?" And she just sang it out with all the feeling of a major concert gig, yet there were only three of us in the room.

But that's the good-feeling Melanie gives out: she smiles, speaks humbly and open-heartedly, as if to declare: "1 won't let them change the things that I love, the thing that I am. I want to be able to sit cross-legged on the floor and eat my cheese and rye bread and laugh out loud and play my guitar and sing out!"

I believed Melanie and told her so. And later on stage, when she sang her new single "Peace Will Come," I believe she meant it with all her heart.

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