Melanie Jean-Baptiste Charles is a Brooklyn-Born, Haitian-American musician, flutist, actress, and teacher with a creative fluidity spanning jazz, soul, experimental, and Haitian roots music. Charles grew up playing church music and trained as an opera singer through high school at the prestigious LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, during which she toured with the Smooth Groove Band as lead vocalist and flutist, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus as a soloist, and the City Wide Youth Opera, directed by Andres Andrade, as featured soloist. Charles ultimately decided to dedicate herself to jazz after coming to terms with the entrenched racism of the classical music world.
Charles is a Vocal Jazz Performance graduate of The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and has performed at renowned venues in New York, Italy (Blue Note, Milan), Japan, France (Duc de Lombards, Paris), Germany, Russia, England, and her beloved Haiti. While studying at The New School under the tutelage of jazz masters Reggie Workman, Bobby Sanabira, Junior Mance, Janet Lawson, Carla Cook, and Billy Harper, Charles toured Europe singing back-up for Atlantic recording artist Laura Izibor, and opening for John Legend, Maxwell, India Arie, Chrisette Michele, and Joe. She has featured on numerous albums alongside Gregory Porter, Jose James (under the direction of guitarist & producer Nicola Conte), Lakecia Benjamin, Jesse Fischer, Laura Izibor and many other soul, jazz and contemporary artists. Charles has performed on SNL with SZA, the Disney Channel, and Good Morning America. The multi-talented Charles has also starred as the lead in the web series 3L.
Charles has strong ties to her Haitian culture, and has been acknowledged by author Ralph Boncy and the Haitian Jazz Foundation as one of the most important women in Haitian music. Ever since performing at the Haitian Women in Jazz Festival alongside Emeline Michele and Pauline Jean, Charles has shared the bill with Mushy Widmaer, Bonga and The Vodou Drums of Haiti, Rigaud Simon, Mozayik, Bethova Oba, Jowee Omicil, Buyu Ambroise, and has performed for Haitian President Martelly and musician Wyclef Jean as part of the 2011 Donna Karan Urban Zen fundraiser.
In the fall of 2017, Charles released her solo, self-produced project, “The Girl with the Green Shoes,” a sonic collage fusing jazz, lo-if samples and soul elements, which was very well received, creating a buzz in the underground music scene