Sound-Savvy Goes One-on-One with Melanie Fiona

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 2:48 PM

There's a new wave of artists on the way up, and Melanie Fiona is a name that you'll definitely want to know. Fresh off her stint as the opening act for Kanye West's European leg of the Glow In The Dark Tour, Melanie spoke one on one with Sound-Savvy about her performance experience, her upcoming debut album The Bridge, and she leaves a VERY SPECIAL message for you, the Sound-Savvy audience! Might I add, she's talented and beautiful, and VERY down to earth! Listen to the audio, or read the transcript and let us know what you think:

Sound-Savvy: So first up, Sound-Savvy wants to know what does Melanie Fiona’s life sound like? If you could choose a few songs from any artist in any genre what would your life sound like right now?
Melanie Fiona: Oh my gosh, good question. What a question! I can tell you what it sounds like sonically. It sounds like moving luggage, screeching train tracks and planes… lots of planes landing and taking off!

SS: Wow!
Melanie: Those are the sounds of Melanie Fiona’s life right now. I’m so all over the place but like out of my suitcase. So literally, that’s what it is!

SS: I can imagine because I’ve watched some of your YouTube videos and you are constantly on the go!
Melanie: On the go! Literally, okay here we go Papa Was a Rolling Stone, that’s me!

SS: I can dig that! So is singing something you’ve always wanted to do?
Melanie: Absolutely.

SS: Who were your inspirations?
Melanie: My mom and dad listened to a lot, and played a lot of great music in the house. My dad played guitar so live music was always there. My mom used to listen to a lot of Whitney Houston and Barbra Streisand. Growing up in Guyana where my family is from, they listened to a lot of old soul as well. That was what they were exposed to other than the traditional reggae, calypso, and socca. So growing up, I was exposed to a lot of Sam Cooke as well; Bob Marley, the Drifters, Patsy Kline, and just a lot of great old soul singers that I absolutely loved and still love today. Now, more recently, Lauryn Hill, India Arie, Amy Winehouse… those are some of my new favorites.

SS: I can see the influence in your music. When you listen to it, you can hear elements of the new and old together, and I think that’s what makes your music so great.
Melanie: Thank you!

SS: So you’re signed to Universal Motown and Motown is known for producing some of the biggest hit makers in history. Do you feel any pressure to live up to the previous standards set by Motown?
Melanie: It’s definitely a brand and it’s a label. Yeah, there’s definitely pressure! The other day when I was in LA, I met Berry Gordy over the weekend and he came up to me and he said “So, what does your project sound like?” I was like “Uhhhh…” I’m so afraid to say the word ‘soul’ to the man who created soul and Motown. So it was a little intimidating but I do feel like it’ll be good. I feel like what I’ve done pays an honorable homage to artists of the past – soul artists of the past.

SS: It’s funny that you say that because ‘soul’ is the first thing that comes to mind. I think you hit a lot of different genres but the key thing that ties it all together is your soul, in your voice and in everything.
Melanie: Thank you, that’s really what I tell people. When people ask me, “What can we expect on the album?” I’m like, I dabble between genres, but the one consistent thing I think in the music and the delivery of the songs is the soul.

SS: Yeah, definitely. So you were on the road with Kanye West, are you still on the road with him?
Melanie: No, that wonderful part of my life is over…

SS: Really, how was that?
Melanie: It was incredible. It was the best time of my life, I got to go overseas with him and it was amazing. It was such an honor to open for Kanye, I’m such a fan of his.

SS: That’s amazing. Are there any plans for you guys to record or work together?
Melanie: Ummm… I hope so! I hope so! Maybe not right now, but I hope so and I’m just gonna keep putting it out there til it happens.

SS: Cool, cool. You were opening for Kanye, and just from me being an avid concert-goer, I know a lot of opening acts perform to a track, but you’ve been performing with a 12-member band. How is that?
Melanie: (laughs) It’s so necessary!! When I went on tour, I only went with three pieces, when I went on tour with Kanye. More of the shows I’ve been doing in New York and LA, I’ve been using my full band with horns and everything, and I just feel like if it’s possible for me to put on the best show possible, then that’s what I’m gonna do. So if my whole band is there, that’s always what I’m gonna try to do. I love performing live, I think the music really comes to life on another level versus when you hear it on the album, and then when you see it performed live. So if it’s up to me, I would have an orchestra behind me every single time!

SS: I hear that! I watched the clip of your showcase, and when you do interviews, you’re relaxed and calm, but when you hit the stage, you’re like a totally different person. You just command the whole room. Do you have any pre-stage rituals that you go through to prepare yourself for a show?
Melanie: Oh man, it’s gonna sound crazy but I just need to be relaxed, like literally I need to get ready, chill out backstage. I have to laugh; I don’t like to be rushed a lot. Like I don’t like the hustle and bustle so I just try to – ya know, with everything getting prepared for showtime, I just try to go into my own phase and really just remind myself of the show at hand and get ready to have a good time. And then once I hit the stage, it’s just kinda like… Oh AND I have to drink a Red Bull before I get onstage!

SS: Oh really? Okay I can get with that!
Melanie: Yeah… the Red Bull is so funny because it really just gets your adrenaline going and it really helps me relax and have fun onstage and let go of the nerves. When I get up there, there’s no time to be nervous anymore, to question “Are you ready?” or “Did you rehearse enough?” Just go up there and have a good time. And I love to get the feedback, and see the audience participate as well, that’s the best!

SS: Are there plans to continue the tour, are you touring in the states?
Melanie: Yeah, I’m actually waiting to. We’re gonna be doing some radio dates and some promotional tours coming up soon. I know they’re just getting the schedule for me. Hopefully I will be in a city near everyone very soon! I’m also trying to get on other tours as well – other artists’ tours.

SS: Cool, well hopefully we’ll see you around soon. Now let’s talk about your album. It’s called The Bridge, right?
Melanie: It is.

SS: And what’s the concept behind it?
Melanie: I wanted to make an album and music that was timeless and classic. The way I felt about the music is how I wanted people to feel about it. I didn’t want them to put it into a box and categorize it and label it as one thing. And I wanted it to be international and timeless. So bridges bridge the gap, they take you from one place to another. And that’s really how I wanted people to perceive the music. I wanted them to feel like there was no definition of what it was; it was just good music and it just made you feel a certain way. So The Bridge as in the album, bridges the gap between ethnicities, genres, genders, age groups. And I just think that there’s something on there for everybody.

SS: Now speaking of people feeling the music, your music touches people. You have a song called Sad Songs
Melanie: I do!

SS: …and it says sad songs are the best songs and I gotta say I totally agree with you on that! People don’t understand that, but it’s so true!
Melanie: They are!

SS: What are some of your favorite sad songs?
Melanie: Oh, my favorite sad songs! One is, So Sick by Ne-yo. And as sad as it is, but it’s beautiful, Ready For Love is one of my favorite sad songs.

SS: You know, I could tell. I saw that on Youtube, at a backyard…
Melanie: Yeah, that was back home in Toronto! A good friend of mine played the guitar.

SS: I watched that last night and you sounded amazing.
Melanie: Oh thank you!

SS: You were amazing on that song; maybe you’ll do a cover of it on the album, maybe?
Melanie: Maybe, I love India Arie and I felt like that song was so real with where she was coming from. It was an outcry for love. So yeah, definitely one of my favorites!

SS: I also liked Monday Morning. That was one of the songs I saw you perform during the showcase. What gave you the inspiration behind that?
Melanie: The reason I love Monday Morning so much is because it’s a real story about how I feel really. Being an artist and traveling, going from one city to the next, packing up from Toronto and leaving to go to the States, it’s a struggle and people think that it’s all good and all great all the time. You sacrifice a lot to do what you wanna do career-wise, I know I have. And it really takes the right kind of person to support you and be with you through all that. It’s kind of like the ultimatum – I have this dream and I’m leaving and I want you to come with me but I can’t stay if you won’t come. So it’s a real, very very real record to me. And that’s kinda what my whole situation is right now.

SS: Wow, that’s cool. Now I gotta say this, as a brother I was a little bit concerned about Somebody Come Get Me.
Melanie: Uh oh…

SS: (laughs)I’m just like… is that based on a true story? I was a little worried here…
Melanie: It’s always based on a true story! Everything I sing about, whether I’ve written it or somebody else has written it, it’s always based on a true story!

SS: So somebody had to come get you?
Melanie: We’ve all been there at a time or another where you felt so frustrated that you were like “Man I could kill this person!” Ya know? Not to say that there’s any promotion of any sort of domestic violence or violence on each other, but it’s really just that feeling of the insanity that you go through when you get to love somebody so much that you feel like you could do the craziest things based off of love and hurt feelings. So uh, yeah definitely a true story! Definitely a true story, but no, I have never stabbed or cut anybody!

SS: Oh I don’t think you did. You sound too sweet to have done something like that.
Melanie: Awww well ya know. We’ve always got our… *laughs* I’m sure some of my ex-boyfriends would beg to differ. They’re probably like “She’s crazy!” *laughs*

SS: Hahaha… Now I know this is probably an unfair question but out of all the songs on the album, is there any particular one that’s your favorite or any one that means more to you than the others?
Melanie: Ahhh man, that is a tough question. I love all the songs on the album. I have a record on the album called Ay Yo and that record is very very special to me because when I wrote it, I wrote it from a very genuine place of how I was feeling at the time. And I wrote it for the people. I wrote it for the people that would be listening to the music because it’s easy to write about love and relationships some times and I just feel like I wanted to make an anthem that when I performed it, I would see people with their hands up, singing that song with me. And I just think it has a really positive message about overcoming difficulties and obstacles in your life and it’s really helped me so I hope it really helps the people that listen to it as well

SS: Yeah, well that’s great! I just want to let you know that a lot of people are anticipating your album. I’ve heard some tracks and I’m a fan already…
Melanie: Oh, thank you!

SS: Congratulations to you and Sound-Savvy definitely wishes you the best. I posted your song, Give It to Me Right - its s the first single, right?
Melanie: Yes, first single. It went to radio officially two days ago but it’s been getting a lot of early play and it’s on iTunes!! People go out and buy it on iTunes! Spend your 99 cents on GOOD MUSIC! I PROMISE you won’t be disappointed.

SS: Right! Now Give It To Me Right is one of those kinda strong tracks. Would you say there’s a lot of empowering themes on your album?
Melanie: Absolutely! I’ve heard people say certain things like it’s a real emotional rollercoaster, the album when you listen to it. But at the end of it you feel fantastic even though you’ve gone through all these emotions of love, and heartache and loss and happiness and sadness. You just feel good at the end of listening to it all. So Give It To Me Right, I’m so proud that it’s my first single, because I think that from a woman’s perspective, it’s very empowering. It’s kinda got that no-nonsense mentality that I think that if more people had, we’d be better off. You just know what you want and you’re not gonna settle for anything else.

SS: Cool, so is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans out there or to the Sound-Savvy audience?
Melanie: The Sound-Savvy audience, you guys are amazing! Thank you so much for following everything I’ve been doing thus far and showing me support in music. I really appreciate it and I really do this not just because this is what I wanna do, but I do it for you guys, so I really hope you get that and you enjoy it. I’d love to hear what you think! Please find me on any avenue you’re on, Myspace: Melanie Fiona; Youtube: Melanie Fiona TV; Facebook, Twitter, and of course on my website, please check it for updates for where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing in the future. And I’d love to hear from all of you.

SS: Now you’re on Twitter, do you Twit a lot?
Melanie: You know what? I am on Twitter, and I was on it for a while and I didn’t quite understand how it works, so now I’ m going Twitter crazy because I realize I can send text messages from my phone, and it updates! So I’m trying my best to be a better Twitter bug these days! So hopefully, you’ll just get random things from me like “Melanie is making fried eggs and ham!” People like that stuff apparently so I’ll do my best to keep you guys posted on what I’m doing in my down time. (Add Melanie on Twitter at

SS: Cool, cool. Well on behalf of the Sound-Savvy audience, I wanna thank you once again to speak to us today. We’re definitely looking forward to your album, The Bridge due out in April, right?
Melanie: May 2009.

SS: We’ll be checking for it, thank you once again. Best of luck to you on your tour, with the album and we look forward to speaking to you again soon.
Melanie: Thank you so much Mack, it was great talking to you too!

2 comments and counting...

  1. Tish Said,

    Love this song, she is beautiful. She got it down packed for now. 2 thumbs and a toe lol

    Posted on March 17, 2009 at 11:40 PM

  2. Great interview, Mack! Melanie is the truth! I can't wait for her album!

    Posted on March 21, 2009 at 10:29 PM


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