TOP 20: !earshot National Jazz Charts for the months of July & August 2018
TOP 10: #9 on the !earshot National Jazz Chart for the week ending July 17, 2018
NOMINEE: Kootenay Music Awards “Best Blues Song” & “Artist of The Year”, 2018
NOMINEE: National Jazz Awards “Female Vocalist of the Year”, 2009
WINNER: Western Canadian Music Awards’ "Outstanding Jazz Recording of The Year”, Altered Laws “Metaphora”, 2008
NOMINEE: JUNO “Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year,” Altered Laws “Metaphora”, 2008
RECIPIENT: RAWLCO 10K20 Project Recording Grant recipient, 2006
RECIPIENT: Canada Council for the Arts Short Term Grant, 1994
Melody Diachun is an ideal jazz singer for the 21st century. Her 2018 release Get Back to the Groove showcases her as a soulful, sassy, and playful artist who is at home in the jazz world as well as with blues and R&B. The JUNO-nominated singer’s brand of groove-jazz is both creative and accessible, appealing to a wide audience while being joyfully unpredictable. In 2009 Melody was nominated “Female Vocalist of the Year" at Canada’s National Jazz Awards. An increasingly significant singer with her own sound, style and approach to creating new music, Melody Diachun is just getting started.
JUNO nominee 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. The singer’s brand of groove-jazz is both creative and accessible, appealing to a wide audience while being joyfully unpredictable.
Melody’s new recording, the June 2018 release Get Back to the Groove, showcases her as a soulful, sassy, and playful artist who is at home in the jazz world as well as with blues and R&B. The production reflects Melody's love of funk and neo-soul while letting her warm, versatile, voice shine.
The Get Back to the Groove EP is Melody’s fourth recording as leader and third self-released album produced and mixed by guitarist-bassist, co-writer, and Melody’s husband, Doug Stephenson. The Get Back to the Groove Tour 2018simultaneously marks both the release of the new EP and the launch of their new label, Third Beach Records, named after the Vancouver spot where the two were married.
Melody and Doug are celebrating two decades of writing, recording, and performing music together, and over the last six years, they have developed a cohesive sound and camaraderie of a true band with the musicians heard on the EP: Clinton Swanson on saxes and flute, Mark Spielman on electric bass, and Tony Ferraro on drums. The recording is augmented by long-time collaborators Chris Andrewon keys and Chris Gestrin on Hammond B3, and by young Montreal singer Andrew Matthews on background vocals.
Melody’s debut album Lullaby Of The Leaves is an intimate trio set with the late pianist Bob Murphyand Doug Stephenson on acoustic bass. “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.” Lullaby Of The Leavesfinds 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 colourful and lively.
Melody’s third album, EQ on Cory Weeds ’Cellar Live label, 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. The critically acclaimed album features versatile and joyful singing, blazing solos, and fresh arrangements. EQ has more extensive solos and covers many moods. Melody's inviting and expressive voice is heard at its best on the diverse but consistently satisfying material.
Melody also had an important role on Truth be Toldby kris (a.k.a. Chris Andrew) and Altered Laws’ award-winning album, Metaphora.
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, the great Don Hahn, 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 as a French hornist 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 Vancouver, British Columbia. She has been an important part of the BC music scene ever since, both as a performer and an educator. A member of the music faculty at Nelson's Selkirk College since 2012, she is the advisor of the Contemporary Music & Technology Program and teaches ensembles, singing, and songwriting.
Melody Diachun was nominated for a JUNO and in 2009 for Canada’s National Jazz Awards as “Female Vocalist of the Year”. An increasingly significant jazz singer with her own sound, style and approach to creating new music, Melody Diachun is just getting started.
“[S]he is – and will always be – a force to reckon with in contemporary vocal music. On the sultry, bluesy music of Get Back to the Groove Miss Diachun lays out the case for her formidable and alluring talent in just five short songs.” – Raul da Gama, Toronto Music Report
“A jazz singer of the first order." – Joseph Blake, Times Colonist
"'Sensual' is the word! . . . Melody flows effortlessly between her own compositions and those of others." – Katie Malloch, former CBC host
“Original material that catches the ear . . . Diachun has a warm, accomplished voice which shows a formidable range.” – Marke Andrews, The Vancouver Sun
“Unembroidered, pitch-perfect voice.” – Malcolm Parry, Vancouver Sun
“She has perfect phrasing! It’s scary.” – Kenny Werner, jazz pianist & author
“Melody Diachun has a voice that might best be described as friendly, warm and inviting. . . . An emerging voice in Canadian jazz. . . . It's a voice easily capable of entrancing the listener. Not overpowering, it has that friendliness that makes listening a relaxing, joyous occasion.” – Calvin Daniels, Yorkton This Week
"A vocalist fast becoming one of the music's more daring chanteuses . . . this record simmers with emotion almost like a slow burn as the singer continues to showcase exquisite intonation, phrasing and sense of time. . . . Melody Diachun has negotiated her way through this record with soulful confidence and gives notice that her vocal prowess is on the rise and is easy to be mesmerized by." – Raul d’Gama Rose, All About Jazz
“Vancouver-based Melody Diachun is another fine singer-songwriter with a strong new disc. . . . An appealing mix of funked up jazz and folk . . . Diachun’s controlled, sometimes breathy, centered sound is a perfect foil for the interplay between the other musicians . . . and it all adds up to a tight, cohesive whole.” – Cathy Riches, WholeNote Magazine
"Melody Diachun teams up with a stellar lineup of fellow Vancouverites . . . playing a repertoire of smart, original songs and clever jazz renditions of modern pop songs. . . . Retro-recorded direct to two-inch tape, the studio sound is warm and funky. Diachun's nuanced readings ride the band's hip, updated fusion, and her understated approach and subtle phrasing mark her as a jazz singer of the first order." – Joseph Blake, Times Colonist
“Diachun has a warm and expressive voice, her long notes are wonderful and she is expert at placing notes.” – Scott Yannow, All Music Guide
“Diachun's penchant for selecting and writing adventurous tunes keeps it interesting. . . . All show remarkable vocal dexterity, with Diachun able to toy with the lyrics in a patient manner.” – George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly
"Vancouver vocalist Melody Diachun straddles pop and jazz forms on EQ, which showcases her songwriting skills on five of the 10 tracks. . . . Diachun’s clear–voiced delivery and adherence to straight melody lines are more Sarah McLachlan than Sarah Vaughan, with the jazz approach coming from her backing quartet . . . Diachun performs fine covers of Paul Simon’s Still Crazy, Joni Mitchell’s Free Man in Paris and Radiohead’s High and Dry, where she shows her considerable range." – Marke Andrews, Vancouver Sun