PROJECT CONTAINS REIMAGINED WORKS BY BILLIE HOLIDAY, ELLA FITZGERALD, SARAH VAUGHAN AND MORE LEAD TRACK “WOMAN OF THE GHETTO”
DEBUTS TODAY WITH VIDEO SIGNS MAJOR LABEL DEAL WITH VERVE
“Melanie Charles takes us on a journey that embodies the soul of jazz: exploration.”
August 13, 2021—Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women, the new album from emerging artist Melanie Charles, is set for release on October 22 via Verve. The forthcoming release—Charles’ first major label release—is a love letter to the unheralded labor of Black women, containing reimagined works by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Abbey Lincoln, Dinah Washington and more. Fans can pre-order Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women:
In celebration of the forthcoming record, Charles is debuting her rendition of Marlena Shaw’s “Woman Of The Ghetto” alongside an accompanying music video directed by AnAk and starring her mother, Maryse Jean-Baptiste, and an intergenerational cast of dynamic Black women from her community. Listen to the track and watch the video.
“I chose ‘Woman Of The Ghetto’ because it’s lyrically relevant,” Charles notes. “And while we were in lockdown, a conversation that we were having was about how kids who were poor children who did not have access to computers or internet were struggling to sustain their education in the midst of lockdown. I also wanted to highlight how you can come from the ghetto or from the hood, but present more than just the stereotype of the ghetto. Marlena Shaw was such a classy, refined, educated, well-spoken Black woman, speaking about the hood. And I think when we discuss the hood it’s sort of like a caricature of us. But actually, we’re so dynamic—we’re multifaceted. Where we’re from doesn’t define how we move in the world.”
Charles originally began developing the project in 2019 when she was approached by Verve to create a remix album using their back catalog. Her initial approach was to find songs that spoke to her with the intention of breathing new energy into them. She was immediately drawn to the voices of Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn, enabling her to reminisce about the tunes and voices that made her fall in love with jazz. By the time she was ready to start recording, the pandemic hit and Americans were in the throes of a racial reckoning sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others. Taylor’s death, in particular, had an impact on Charles’ creative process. “I was rudely reminded that Black women are and always have been undervalued, uncared for, unprotected and neglected. It was at that point that I decided to focus on songs written and or sung by the Black women who paved the way for me,” recounts Charles. The resulting work comes together in Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women, featuring renditions of songs originally recorded by Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Abbey Lincoln, Dinah Washington and more.
“Melanie Charles is a true renaissance artist, who is equally talented as a producer, singer, engineer, composer and performer,” says Jamie Krents, EVP of Verve/Impulse!. We’re always looking for new ways to expose the Verve catalog to a wider audience with respect and integrity, and we felt completely confident giving Melanie unprecedented access to bring her unique artistry to the table to reimagine some of the jewels from our vault. She spent hours in our library, carefully choosing songs that resonated for her, and we’re thrilled with the result.”
On Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women, Charles leaves listeners with a powerful statement on what solidarity with Black women can look like. It includes not only care and attention to the everyday struggles that animate Black women’s lives, but also to the beauty and joy as well. At its core, the record is a call for a more intersectional vision of the world in which Black women can live more freely and express their full humanity.
In addition, Charles is slated to perform at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival on Saturday, August 14. To commemorate and acknowledge the immense impact COVID-19 has had on the jazz community, Charles will perform original material meant to honor her fellow musicians lost during the pandemic. Additional details on the performance can be found HERE.
Melanie Charles is a Brooklyn-born singer, songwriter, bandleader, producer, actress and flautist of Haitian descent, with a creative fluidity spanning jazz, soul, experimental and roots music. Charles was raised by a Haitian mother in Brooklyn where the sound waves in their home was filled with artists like Johnny Hodges, Frank Sinatra, Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, John Coltrane and Nat King Cole. As a teen, she attended the famed LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts where she studied flute and vocals. Eventually, she landed at the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School where she met artists like singer, songwriter and record producer Jesse Boykins III and alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin.
Charles’ genre-bending style has been embraced by a wide range of artists including Wynton Marsalis, SZA, Ari Lennox, Mach-Hommy, Gorillaz and The Roots. Throughout her career she has remained committed to making music that pushes listeners to consider new possibilities, both sonically and politically. “Make Jazz Trill Again,” a project that she launched in 2016, demonstrates her allegiance to everyday people, especially the youth and is focused on taking jazz from the museum to the streets. Earlier this year, Charles’ Tiny Desk (Home) Concert debuted on NPR Music, who proclaimed, “Melanie Charles takes us on a journey that embodies the soul of jazz: exploration.”
Y’ALL DON’T (REALLY) CARE
ABOUT BLACK WOMEN
1. God Bless The Child
2. Perdido (Reimagined)
3. Detour Ahead (Reimagined)
4. All Africa (The Beat)
5. The Music is the Magic
6. Pay Black Woman (Interlude)
7. Woman Of The Ghetto (Reimagined)
8. Jazz (Ain’t Nothing But Soul) [Reimagined]
9. Go Away Little Boy
10. What A Difference (Reimagined)
11. Beginning to See the Light (Reimagined)