Documentary Songmaker

Melanie Hammet offers a biography at least as eclectic and entertaining as the music she creates. From working on a shrimp boat in the Gulf to sharing the stage with Indigo Girls, from providing grief counseling support for schools, teachers, and youth to leading the city government in Pine Lake, GA, Hammet’s rich personal history imbues her music with depth and variety,  from subject matter to genre.

Hammet's newest work, "Stop.Watch.," is a seven-song narrative that journeys though the immensity of time, both geological and illogical;  the  dimensions of loss, the pragmatism of hope, and the psychic highwire act of remaining on solid ground.

With more than a dozen recordings to her credit, Hammet’s songwriting often takes on difficult subjects. Melanie’s partnership with Georgia Innocence Project resulted in the collaboration with Clarence Harrison and songwriting partner Ben Holst. Clarence's wrongful conviction, 18-year imprisonment, and 2004 exoneration by Georgia Innocence Project serves as the blueprint for the music and performance "Life 20|20." Hammet served as executive producer for LIFE SENTENCE, which created unique outreach, resources, grant awards, and dollar donations for Georgia Innocence Project. The song"(DNA) Do Not Assume" was selected as a musical theme for the Robert Redford-produced 2014 CNN series "Death Row Stories."

       

       

(Photo by Roger Easley)

A deeper look into the Hammet documentary catalog includes her popular single, "Little Pink Gun," which takes a darkly amusing and sideways jab at gun control, based on the true story of an alarming Christmas present (“yeah, Haley’s got a little pink gun / she’s got her brother Bubba on the run”).

 In 2009 Melanie Hammet was chosen as an artist resident in Seaside,  Florida where she wrote the music for "Edifice Complex (and other urban plans)." Inspired by her years in elected office, the songs reflect both her concern and knowledge about land use issues and her talent as an artist, with music as musically rich as it is vested in the tradition of songs about land, home, and place. Performing the songs from “Edifice Complex,” Hammet has traveled across the U.S. and shared the urban design stage with luminaries such as Liz Plater-Zyberk, Dhiru Thadani, and Robert Davis.

Melanie Hammet has also composed more than twenty-five scores for theatre, including "Coming Of Age," a collaboration with author Ann Goethe, which was published and distributed worldwide, and "Livin' In The Garden," a collaboration with designer and playwright Marjorie Kellogg and Tony-winning director Kenny Leon, commissioned and premiered at The Alliance Theatre.

As a solo performer she has shared the musical stage over the years with many Georgia artists, from Indigo Girls to Shawn Mullins to Kristian Bush of Sugarland. She has co-produced recordings with Ben Holst (Southern Tracks Studio), Rob Gal (Snack n Shack Studio), and DeDe Vogt (Sound and Fury Studio), who received a gold record for her work on Indigo Girls first release.

Melanie's years as elected official in her home city of Pine Lake Georgia created many opportunities for artistic growth and civic leadership, and was elected Mayor in 2016. Hammet was the 2011 president of the Dekalb Municipal Association, a 9-city collective of Dekalb’s cities (Pine Lake being the smallest). Melanie also worked for three years with a team of residents to revamp local zoning to ensure greater protection the natural and built environment of the city. Hammet also served as Pine Lake’s liaison for the federally-funded reconstruction of the city-center lake, creating a blog and a series of interactive signage in the city's urban wetlands.

In April of 2015 Melanie received a national Presidential Volunteer Service Award from Points Of Light for her work on LIFE SENTENCE. Much gratitude to everyone who has worked on this project with her: Ben Holst, Aimee Maxwell, Patricia Henritze, Melanie Tumlin, Melissa Arends, Sarita Alami, Gayanne Geurin, and Julie Skrzypek!