Q&A

Melanie Talks "Brand New Key," Starting Over, and McDonald's

Though best known for her folk-pop ditty "Brand New Key," (also known as "the roller skate song in Boogie Nights") Melanie Safka hasn't stopped making music over a four decade span. Her latest, Since You Never Heard of Me, is full of the wry, sturdy songs that have defined her oeuvre (when the bouncy, not-very-characteristic roller skate hit is removed from equation).

These days, Safka finds herself spending a lot of time in Arizona (she lives her "about as full time as a traveling musician lives anywhere full time"). Her husband and business partner, Peter Schekeryk passed away unexpectedly last year, and being here has given her a chance to be with her children and regroup. "Art and career don't always go together," she explains.

Her three children, Leilah, Jeordie and Beau-Jarred, have all collaborated with Safka -- most notably Jeordie and Beau-Jarred, who will join her for an intimate performance Tuesday, January 10, at The Rhythm Room.

I spoke with Safka about her novelty hit, her career, and "how big" lyrics can be.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.