Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk (born 2-3-47 in Astoria, NY) is a singer-songwriter and is known simply as Melanie. She performed at Woodstock. The inspiration for “Lay Down” apparently arose from the Woodstock audience lighting candles during her set. A gospel-boosted genuine one-off that combined high drama with Melanie’s trademark hippy sincerity, the recording became a hit in both Europe and here in the spring and summer of 1970. The B-side of the 45 single featured Melanie’s spoken-word track “Candles in the Rain”. In 1970 Melanie was the only artist to brave the court injunction banning the Powder Ridge Rock Festival and played for the crowd on a homemade stage powered by Mr. Softie trucks. Her biggest US hit was the novelty-sounding 1972 number one, “Brand New Key”. She has been awarded three gold albums. Three of Melanie’s compositions were hits for The New Seekers: “Look What They’ve Done to My Song Ma”, “Beautiful People” and “The Nickel Song”.
Since 1969 Melanie has released almost one album a year. With one exception her albums have been produced by her husband,. Her three children – Leilah, Jeordie and Beau-Jarred – are also musicians. Beau-Jarred is a guitarist and accompanies his mother on tour.
In 1999, Meredith Brooks covered “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” with backing vocals by Queen Latifah. The 2003 hip-hop track “The Nosebleed Section” by The Hilltop Hoods sampled “People In The Front Row”. In 2004 Melanie released Paled by Dimmer Light, which is co-produced by Peter and Beau-Jarred Schekeryk, including “To be the one”, “Extraordinary”, “Make it work” and “I tried to die young”.
Although she is viewed by many as the definitive “flower child” she identifies herself politically as a Libertarian rather than a Liberal. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.