Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk (born February 3, 1947) is an American singer-songwriter. Known professionally as Melanie, she is best known for her hits “Brand New Key”, “Ruby Tuesday”, “What Have They Done to My Song, Ma”, and her song about performing at the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)”.
Melanie was born and raised in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, New York City. Her father, Fred, was of a Ukrainian ethnic background and her jazz singer mother, Polly, was of Italian heritage. Melanie made her first public singing appearance at age four on the radio show Live Like A Millionaire, performing the song “Gimme a Little Kiss”. She attended Red Bank High School in Red Bank, New Jersey, graduating in 1964.
In the 1960s, when she was starting out, Melanie performed at The Inkwell, a little coffee house in West End, New Jersey. After school, her parents insisted that she go to college, so she studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, where she began singing in the folk clubs of Greenwich Village and signed her first recording contract.