Melanie Charles has been a favourite of mine since the release of her independently-released project The Girl with the Green Shoes. There was something truly hypnotic about her vocal tone and her ability to paint picturesque soundscapes with her voice and surrounding instrumentation. Since the release of that project she has worked with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, SZA, Mach-Hommy, Gorillaz and The Roots and has grown into one of the most exciting vocalists in the world at the moment.
Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women is an exciting new project, one which sees her reimagine classics from the Verve Records catalogue. It is a rich body of work that combines modern jazz compositions, with groovy beats and beautiful arrangements, combined with Melanie Charles’ powerful voice. It is a truly collaborative project, and one which celebrates the power of community, and of course the power and soul of Black women. A large part of the album was recorded in 2020, a year defined by the pandemic and racial injustices. Breonna Taylor’s death in particular had a major impact on Melanie Charles’ creative process. As she says, Black women have been undervalued, uncared for, unprotected and neglected, therefore she chose songs from Black Women that have paid the way for her artistry over the years. From the reimagining of the soulful and incredibly powerful Billie Holiday original “God Bless The Child” to the bass and beat-heavy reinterpretation of the Marlena Shaw original “Woman Of The Ghetto”, the compositions are truly breathtaking. Heavy drumming, angelic vocals and groovy basslines are are all features throughout this incredible album, but it’s Melanie Charles’ angelic, effortless and absolutely stunning voice throughout that makes this such a beautiful and emotive listening experience.
Melanie Charles, with the help of her band including Dezron Douglas on bass, Tony Garnier on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums and Rogerst Charles on saxophones and flute, has been able to craft a memorable auditory experience. It’s a smooth and soulful listen, but with a heavy, heartfelt energy brought by thumping drums and incredible basslines throughout. Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women is a truly hypnotic and mesmeric body of work that captures the allure of Melanie Charles’ artistry in the most potent and beautiful way imaginable.