Hailing from Toronto, Melanie Fiona is a 28-year-old feisty, long-haired beauty who has turned her real-life experiences into relatable lyrics.
As her sophomore album, MF Life is set to drop next month, we caught up with Melanie to discuss embarrassing on stage moments, ranking herself amongst today’s R&B divas and what it’s like coming out of the same city as Drake.
Check out part two of our exclusive below!
You get a lot of attention for your music, but not for random gossip. How do you manage to keep your private life private?
It’s a decision, it’s a choice. I made the choice coming into the music industry that it was music before anything else. In doing that, you have to set the boundaries for yourself, or people will cross the line all the time. You set the boundary, you keep your personal life private and whenever people see me and interview me, it’s always about the music and that’s where I keep it. I maintain my control and I don’t lose my control of the situation because it is easy. Sadly, in my opinion, people are interested in 20 percent of the music, and 80 percent of everything else. That’s just not why I got into this. It’s always about the music.
Do you ever think about your competition, or is it just about making great music?
In this industry there is always a sense of competition because the industry will do that to you. The industry will put you up against people that you love and grew up admiring. That’s life and it’s going to happen. It’s just about being the best I can be. If I’m trying to out do someone else than that means I have to do something of what they do. That’s just not my focus. My focus is doing the best me so that nobody could compare it to anything else. I came, I did what I had to do and people respect me and like me for it.
How do you rank yourself among singers?
I don’t really think of myself like that. The one thing that I do know outside of everything else is that I believe I can sing and that my integrity is good. I feel like I would win that category as an artist. I like that category.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to you on stage?
I’m sure there are a few that I can’t place right now because I’ve blocked them from my mind. One of them was, I was performing in L.A. and I was performing so hard. I was moving around the stage while singing and my shoe flew off, hit the audience, and it almost took someone out! It was awful. It was very embarrassing! I laughed it off and took off the other shoe and did the rest of my set barefoot.
Did you get your shoe back at the end of it?
I did get my shoe back! I don’t even know how it happened. The audience gave it and I got my shoe back.
In your song “4 AM” you say, “dude is probably out with a dancer.” Would you see yourself ever going to an adult club with your man to have fun?
Personally, probably not. I’ve definitely been with my friends or whatever, but I personally don’t think that I would be there with my dude and watch another woman be all over him. I’m pretty traditional and old-fashioned about it. I’m also pretty territorial; so I’d rather be the dancer in his life as opposed to have to go somewhere to see that.
When you’re not working, or recording music, what do you do?
I do my best to take it easy. Generally, I’m always on the go. Sometimes I’ll have to be in a city where I don’t know anyone or some days I will have the day off where the highlight of my day is doing laundry as weird as that sounds. There’s something about cleaning and getting organized that I like. I love going out to have great meals. That is something that I love! I like being around people that I enjoy being around who have no relativity to work. We can just laugh, drink wine, and hang out. We can do normal things. Going to the movies is something I like to do.
Have you ever written something that was just so emotional you had to take a break? If so, what was it?
I did this one song with Chuck Harmony, who is a great producer. I wrote the song, which I don’t even really know the title yet, I haven’t decided. It’s either called “Gotta Be Me” or “I Don’t Wanna Be,” and it was probably the first record that I wrote after coming off the tour. I was in that whirlwind of a year and a half of being a new artist with all this promo, radio, and touring. I was finally out of the process of coming off of the road, I felt really stifled and really blocked. I felt like I had gone through a lot of things. I was feeling pretty insecure about my ability, truthfully. I couldn’t get into that groove again. Some people don’t understand it’s really a groove. It really takes a process of feeling in movement and energy to really get into that space to open back up.
I got in with Chuck Harmony, and we got the piano. I started singing, and I ended up writing this record that was very honest. I just wanted to be myself. I was very emotional recording it and writing it. I listened to it a lot, and played it in my house, and I would just break down crying because it felt like I had just released something so personal and so intimate and real. I was feeling vulnerable after hearing me sing how I was feeling. It was empowering. I felt like not only did I express myself but I made a pretty damn good song. I think that was the most emotional record and one of the most emotional experiences of this project for me.
What’s the best thing about being on Roc Nation?
The best thing is the fans! I get to be a part of a great brand, label, and empire with the head of the pyramid as one of the most genius men in the business and in this industry. I’m a part of a roster of artists that are new, fresh, and upcoming that are doing great things and are so talented. They’re all great at what they do. It’s the Roc!
What are some extreme things that guys have done to get your attention?
They don’t! The funniest thing is that a lot of people assume that guys are always trying to holler at me, but they are not! I think I’m a pretty nice person, but maybe I don’t come off that way. I don’t know if guys just feel like they can’t talk to me. On Twitter, they’ll say and do crazy things, but in person they tend to be a little more respectful, which is cool. Sometimes they’ll sing for me. It’s not really too crazy. Guys try to pull that, “I’m so overly cool, you should get to know me”, and I’m like “I’m good.” If you try to sell the fact that you’re overly cool, you’re definitely not very cool in my book.
Toronto seems to be taking over the music scene. They have a bunch of great artists coming out. Who are some of the artists from Toronto that you’re feeling?
I have a lot of musicians that I know in Toronto and they are good people as well as amazing artists. Of course you know Drake being one of them, who is a friend of mine as well as one of the dopest in the game right now. I’m just so proud of him. I think that what he’s done over a couple of years has definitely opened a gateway for people to pay attention to what’s going on in Toronto because there has been amazing artists there that have done it for years who are so talented. Another dope artist out of Toronto is Andreena Mill. She’s not only one of my good friends, but she is so amazing as a songwriter, musician, producer. She just put out a new mixtape, that I’m loving to listen to. There’s a theme of Toronto artists.
What’s a good reason people should buy The MF Life when it comes out?
I think a good reason is good music. That’s reason number one. I do pride myself in making good music regardless of categories people try to put things in. I just hope people feel encouraged to live their “MF” life everyday through this album and know that whatever they feel is never alone. Melanie Fiona will always support the movement and speak out on what’s actually happening to us.