Melody Diachun
Melody Diachun is an ideal jazz singer for the 21st century. She has a very appealing and friendly voice, a subtle but exciting improvising style, and is open to the influences of current pop and r&b music. She interprets every song in her own individual fashion. The JUNO-nominated singer’s brand of groove-jazz is both creative and accessible, appealing to a wide audience while being joyfully unpredictable.

Melody’s most recent CD, EQ, features her performing both new material and superior pop songs by Paul Simon, Radiohead, Joni Mitchell and D’Angelo with a freewheeling jazz quartet comprised of Cory Weeds on soprano, electric pianist Tilden Webb, drummer Dan Gaucher and bassist-guitarist Doug Stephenson (Melody’s husband). The versatile and joyful singing, blazing solos, and fresh arrangements make EQ her finest recording to date.

Born in Montreal and raised in Nova Scotia, Melody Diachun remembers her introduction to music. “My father played piano and sang. I performed with him when I was really young, singing at my first concert when I was seven. I was lucky in that my godfather was a recording engineer for A&M Records. He sent us copies of many recordings, everything from the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra and Chick Corea to Karen Carpenter. I got to hear a pretty eclectic variety of music and I did not separate genres; it all interested me and still does.” Melody had piano lessons, sang with older performers in a variety show when she was 15, and played bass in her high school jazz band. “I was always very attracted to the harmonies, chord changes and extensions of jazz.”

At McGill University in Montreal, she started out in the classical department since the school did not have a vocal jazz program. Melody had the opportunity to sing with the school’s jazz combos where she enjoyed being treated as a fellow instrumentalist, eventually becoming the first vocalist admitted to McGill University’s Jazz Performance program. After graduating, she was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to study privately with the great Sheila Jordan in New York City. Living in Brooklyn, she gained important experience, performing at many jam sessions and in clubs. After moving back to Montreal, Melody worked for three years in Banff, Alberta, singing seven nights a week, learning a countless number of songs.

In 2000, Melody moved to British Columbia where she has been an important part of the scene ever since, both as a performer and an educator. A member of the faculty at Selkirk College, she is the coordinator of the music program and teaches ensembles, singing and songwriting.

Melody Diachun has recorded three CDs as a leader so far. “Lullaby Of The Leaves was made right after 9/11. I wanted the music to be quiet and soothing which is what the world needed at the time.” An intimate trio set with the late pianist Bob Murphy and bassist Doug Stephenson, Lullaby Of The Leaves finds Melody sounding warm, quietly swinging and often sensual on seven standards and four memorable originals. 2006’s Dreams & Places finds her opening up her music to the influences of pop and r&b, while leaving space for concise improvisations. The music ranges from “Lazy Afternoon” to pop covers and originals, all given treatments that are colorful and lively. Melody’s most recent recording, EQ, has more extensive solos and covers many moods. Her inviting and expressive voice is heard at its best on the diverse but consistently satisfying material. She also had an important role on Altered Laws’ CD Metaphora.

Melody Diachun was nominated for a JUNO and in 2009 for Canada’s National Jazz Awards as “Female Vocalist of the Year.” She is currently recording her newest album, set for release in early 2018. “It will be a groove-based contemporary jazz album that is funky, rhythmic and fun. As much as I love standards from the 1930s and ‘40s, when I sing a song that I’ve written, it seems more honest because it reflects my thoughts. It is always my goal to contribute to the tradition by writing originals that sound like they could have been standards.”

An increasingly significant jazz singer with her own sound, style and approach to creating new music, Melody Diachun is just getting started.

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