Westchester Weekend, Friday, February 20, 1976


. . . out of retirement

Melanie resuming career; 'retired' to have children


Wistful singer-songwriter Melanie has always drawn her material from her life It would be appropriate if her next record is titled "Melanie is Back to Stay."

For the past three years the 29-year-old singer with the distinctive, fragile voice has been in semi-retirement. She is now making a major effort to return to performing and, as part of that effort, she will appear at the Westchester Premier Theater in Tarrytown on Saturday for one performance only.

In a telephone interview from her office in Los Angeles, Melanie said she is anxious to renew her career.

"For the past couple of years" explained the dark-haired singer, "I've been having babies. That took a lot of my energy and I didn't have much time for work. Now I'm at the point where I m ready to tour and record again. '

ALTHOUGH she still wants to devote time to raising her daughters, 3-year-old Leilah and 9-month-old Jeordie, Melanie said she also feels a need to express herself through song again.

"I've been writing a lot," she said in a voice that sounded quite a bit lower than the one that sold three million copies for "Brand New Key ' in 1970. "When I write, I like to perform my newest songs."

When she first started performing, in the late 1960's, Melanie became known for her emotional songs. "Melanie Sings Her Life" became a catch phrase.

Melanie herself agrees that she has always sung her life, but she is quick to point out that her new material is different from the songs she used to perform.

"I USED TO write totally from raw feeling," she said. " Now I involve more intellect, my writing is more mature. Rather than just asking questions, my songs now have a bit more of an answer to them."

Melanie, who was born Melanie Safka in Astoria, Queens has been writing songs about her own life since she was 13. Her mother, a former jazz singer, was Melanie's first musical influence.

"I started writing my own little songs as a child," recalled Melanie, "mostly imitations of what I'd hear my mother singing around the house. At 13 I began to write about things I found in myself."

WH1LE still in high school, Melanie performed in Greenwich Village coffee houses and after graduation, while making the rounds with her material she was picked up by Buddah records.

Melanie, who has been on the West Coast checking into the possibility of making a new album, said she Is looking forward to performing again in the New York area. "Although I've never performed in Westchester, I've done more concerts in the New York area than any place else. New York is my home."

Because she hasn't done many concerts lately (her last one was a few months ago) Melanie said she is a little nervous about performing on Saturday. "I feel like I'm starting all over again. People ask me, where have you been? "

SO AUDIENCES will know that Melanie is back, she plans to perform in Philadelphia, Australia and New Zealand after the Westchester concert. She will appear with a newv group of musicians, a bass player and a guitar player, who she feels will complement her more mature sound. "But we won't play only the new songs," she said quickly. "We plan to play a mixture of the old and the new."

With conviction in her voice she said, "I definitely hope to continue working."

Melanie concert at the Premier Theater is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 and $7 and are available at the box office. The theater is located on White Plains Road (Rte. 1I9) in Tarrytown.

SHERYL NEARMAN is a Lifestyles staff writer for The Reporter Dispatch, White Plains.

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