It's not hard to see why Melody Gardot's debut album Worrisome Heart (Verve) has already established her as one of music’s most exciting new discoveries. The 23-year-old chanteuse’s songs offer deeply compelling evocations of love, loss and heartache, while her voice offers a level of emotional authority and technical fluency that one would normally expect from a veteran performer. <br /><br />"I've always felt like an old soul," Gardot states. "I felt like I was 40 when I was eight." <br /><br />Gardot's prodigious talent and singular personal history are reflected in Worrisome Heart, which the artist co-produced with Grammy-winning producer Glenn Barratt. The album's memorable original compositions range from the title track's torch-song drama to the haunted yearning of "Love Me Like a River Does." Supported by sparse arrangements she draws upon elements of jazz, blues, folk and country, with expressive vocals that are both sensitive and seductive. <br /><br />"In my eyes, there's two kinds of music," says Gardot. "There's the kind that rushes out at you, and the kind that settles in and lets you come to it. I prefer the latter of the two. I like the idea of hearing music in the distance; you're drawn to it and you want to know what it is. To me, that's beautiful, that's the essence of listening to music: discovering it. exploring it and finding those little spaces. To have it thrown out at you almost cheapens it." <br /><br />Gardot's route has been an unconventional and often arduous one. Growing up in Philadelphia, she began taking music lessons at age nine, and was playing piano in local lounges by the time she was 16, although she didn't think of music as anything more than a hobby at the time. After being hit by a car and severely injured when she was 19, music became a key therapeutic element in her lengthy recovery process.