Home » Jazz Musicians » Melanie Charles

Melanie Charles

Melanie Charles is a Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter, actress, and flutist of Haitian descent with creative fluidity spanning jazz, soul, experimental, and Haitian roots music. Charles grew up singing in church, trained as an opera singer, and attended the prestigious LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts as a flute major. She is a 2010 Vocal Jazz Performance graduate of The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and has trained under the tutelage of jazz masters Reggie Workman, Bobby Sanabria, Junior Mance, Janet Lawson, Carla Cook, and Billy Harper.

Charles has performed at world renowned venues, both as a leader and a sideman, in New York (Jazz at Lincoln Center; Blue Note; Smalls; Nublu), Italy (Blue Note, Milan), Japan (Billboard Live), France (Duc de Lombards, Paris), England (Ronnie Scott’s), Poland (12on14; Harris Piano Jazz Bar), Germany, and Russia. She has worked with artists such as Laura Izibor (Atlantic Records), Nicola Conte (with Jose James and Gregory Porter), underground hip-hop legend Jean Grae, SZA, and Jussie Smollet of Fox’s EMPIRE, with appearances on Good Morning America and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In April 2017, Charles collaborated with the Gorillaz on their latest album, "Humanz.”

Charles has strong ties to her Haitian culture, and has been acknowledged by author Ralph Boncy and the Haitian Jazz Foundation as one of the most important women in Haitian music. Ever since performing at the Haitian Women in Jazz Festival alongside Emeline Michele and Pauline Jean, Charles has shared the bill with Mushy Widmaer, Bonga and The Vodou Drums of Haiti, Rigaud Simon, Mozayik, Bethova Oba, Jowee Omicil, Buyu Ambroise, and has performed for Haitian President Martelly and musician Wyclef Jean as part of the 2011 Donna Karan Urban Zen fundraiser.

In 2015, Charles partnered with guitarist Jordan Peters (Lauryn Hill) to form Rat Habitat, together releasing a strong collaborative EP, ‘Guns That Shoot Bubbles.’ 2017 marked the birth of D’Flower, Charles’ alter ego, making space for her to explore more experimental sounds, creating an identity of her own. D’Flower’s self-produced mixtape, ‘The Girl with the Green Shoes,’ can be found here.

The Village Voice has described Charles’ myriad talents as “Collaging her musical DNA into jazz-studded multi-instrumentalism and dipping a toe into the experimental [...] There’s an uncanny cohesion to Charles’ music, her wandering threads braided into something strong as rope.”


Album Review

Mark de Clive-Lowe, Melanie Charles, Shigeto: Hotel San Claudio

Read "Hotel San Claudio" reviewed by Chris May

Lovers of Pharoah Sanders' fundamentally acoustic spiritual-jazz may experience something of a road-to-Damascus moment listening to Hotel San Claudio: the realisation that high-tech, digital-era excursions can, in the right hands, bring more than just novelty to the music. Almost half of Hotel San Claudio--a collaboration between keyboardist Mark de Clive-Lowe, vocalist and flautist Melanie Charles and drummer Shigeto--is an explicit tribute to Sanders, with two complementary but singular versions of his “The Creator Has A Master Plan" ...

Album Review

Melanie Charles: Y'all Don't (Really) Care About Black Women

Read "Y'all Don't (Really) Care About Black Women" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Questo primo album della cantante Melanie Charles per l'etichetta Verve apre alla cantante di Brooklyn un pubblico più ampio della nicchia dove ha operato finora: quell'universo dove s'incontrano nu—jazz, neo—soul, spiritual jazz e sperimentazioni elettroniche con campionamenti e remixaggi. Attiva da un decennio in quest'area la Charles non è solo una splendida vocalist ma una talentuosa strumentista (flauto, tastiere), arrangiatrice e songwriter. Quest'album è un appassionante tributo alle donne afroamericane attraverso nuove interpretazioni di classici legati a ...

Radio & Podcasts

Melanie Charles, Leo Sidran, Irène Schweizer, Ofentse Moses Sebula & Other New Releases

Read "Melanie Charles, Leo Sidran, Irène Schweizer, Ofentse Moses Sebula & Other New Releases" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

Leo Sidran and Kat Edmonson's latest single introduce the Art of Conversation in jazz. Irène Schweizer & Hamid Drake, and Javier Santiago & Melanie Charles continue it as a dialogue; Keith Brown and Garage a Trois as a trialougue; Dina Ramirez, Roberto Negro, Erik Fratzke as a quadralogue; Jacques Schwarz-Bart, Makram Aboul Hosn, Ofentse Moses Sebula and Little Rosies Kindergarten as a much larger exchange. But, in all cases, it's the result of deep listening and openness that gives rise ...

Read more articles

Performance / Tour

Introducing Melanie Charles and The Journey at Nublu (NYC) on April 23rd

Introducing Melanie Charles and The Journey at Nublu (NYC) on April 23rd

Source: Fiona Bloom

With a tone reminiscent of Sarah Vaughan, melodic lines inspired by John Coltrane and Miles Davis coupled with soulful yet funky vibes, Melanie Charles is the quintessence of soulful Jazz. Along with her band, The Journey, she transports her listeners back in time to the Harlem jazz clubs of the twenties while at simultaneously breathing a fresh new life into the popular neo-soul sounds of today. In order to truly understand her music you have to hear it for yourself. ...



Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.