Brooklyn native and daughter of Hatian immigrants, Melanie Charles, releases her debut album, “Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women ”. The album is Charles’ homage to the Black women before her who served as “architects of jazz”. Charles joined the Brooklyn Youth Chorus as a teen and became an expert flutist. She originally aspired to be an opera singer but ultimately pursued jazz and attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.
“I grew up there in the hood, hearing gunshots at night, but my mom was a jazz lover and a lover of art and performance…Hearing salsa music at the grocery store or my grandma having prayer meetings in the house, then singing like old Haitian church songs – that being in my ear – or gospel and spirituals from church. I feel really blessed that right in my home, I was surrounded by so many different sounds and cultures and different generations of music,” Charles reflected.
Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women features covers including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Betty Carter, one of Charles’ biggest inspirations. “[Betty] created a whole lineage of study of jazz music. I think that her doing ‘Jazz Ain’t Nothin’ But Soul’ was important to add her perspective to the table. That very lyric is at the core of what I’m about – jazz is ‘taters and grits.’ Forget about respectability politics! Even though Betty is the highest evolution of jazz, she was still a full Black woman,” Charles said.