In our search for individuals to admire and inspire us, to be our champion, we often overlook the obvious–the one that’s most difficult to recognize – the champion that resides inside us.
Melody Bien Aime’s music is a testament to her painful, but hopeful journey to embrace her inner champion.
Through haunting rhythms and searing lyrics, Melody goes where few of us are brave enough to venture. She delves deftly into a life infused with potentially debilitating struggles with mental illness, obesity, heartbreak, racism, and attempted suicide.
Her language is raw, unflinching, evocative, never self-pitying. Her songs are anthems of triumphs over demons, whether they attack from within our bodies, or from outside.
Melody Bien Aime was born in May of 1997 in Princeton, NJ to Mireille Grangenois, a media executive and Michael Cottman, a journalist and author. When her parents separated, Melody and her mother moved to Columbia, MD where she was raised from early childhood.
Though extremely verbal with very high IQ, Melody struggled to keep up in school, a development that made her the object of ridicule by her classmates. A diagnosis when she was eight solved the mystery for her mother, stepfather and for her. She was dyslexic.
Melody was saved by her transfer to a private elementary school, and later a high school, both specializing in teaching kids with learning differences. She thrived. Melody excelled in poetry, photography, drama, history and student governance. She also played on and was co-captain of the girls’ basketball team.
Coming to grips with her dyslexia was not the end of Melody’s challenges. Her grandfather’s death on her 19th birthday ushered in a summer of erratic and risky behaviors that led to a crash at the start of her sophomore year at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Melody was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder with psychotic features. The prescription medications to smooth out the manic highs and depressive low caused her weight to balloon, putting on more than 100 pounds in three months. That in turn created a host of physical health issues. In the years since the initial diagnosis, Melody has been hospitalized twice more.
The most recent episode propelled her search to reclaim her life and creative gifts. Powered by faith, family, friends, therapy, poetry, photography, and a sparkling collaboration with artist, Simmone Jones, Melody has emerged as a powerful black woman whose strong voice not only speaks for women – and men – of her generation, but for all who have been set back, and are now prevailing.