Culturist: Melanie Fiona | Singer
Interview by Jae Ink
Photos by Ashley Sky Walker
Jae Ink: What’s your AMMO?
Melanie Fiona: My Ammo is honestly the fact that I really believe that I’m destined to change the world & that is a big responsibility. But, I feel like its my purpose so I feel that is the reason why I fight as hard as I do, why I work as hard as I do, why I laugh as hard as I do because I just feel like its infectious & I feel like what I’m here to do is something powerful. I feel like that’s my purpose, it’s to change the world.
JI: You have a new album coming titled ‘The MF Life’; in an interview you stated the album as being “stadium soul.” Explain what that means. What can fans expect from this album?
MF: I fell in love with the sound of my music being played in big arenas when I went on tour with Kanye West & Alicia Keys. I became addicted to that feeling, so I just wanted my music loud and I wanted these songs to be big & I wanted them to be full and feel like they could fill an arena. I’m a big fan of live instrumentation so it was pretty much taking it to another level off the first album and just making this album something big.
JI: Who are some of the collaborators on the new album?
MF: I haven’t finished what will be on the album yet, but I’ve been in the studio working with Andrew Martin, Los, Jerry Wonder, Salon Remy, Jack Flash, and Chuck Harmony. Its been really good I’ve been getting all my creative juices & getting all my ideas of what I want this album to be about. I’m trying new things & I’m also writing with John Legend.
JI: Your first single “Gone and Never Coming Back”, you sing about love lost in a relationship, did this song come from personal experience?
MF: Everything I write about, sing about or perform about is always about life. A lot of the things I go through its always what we all go through and I feel like “Gone and Never Coming Back” absolutely comes from personal experience. I’ve had to end chapters in my life, cut people out of my life, say goodbye to people I necessarily wasn’t ready to say goodbye to, had people say goodbye to me and I wasn’t ready to let it go. I feel that is just the real concept of lost & what it means. So I just wanted to put that into a song and make it very emotional something that people can relate to and help them get through whatever it is their going through.
JI: How was it working with director Collin Tilley on the “Gone and Never Coming back Video? (The video is very artistic & has great visuals).
MF: Collin Tilley is a beast he’s amazing. I love working with people who are young he’s 22 or 23 I think. I love working with people who are around my age who I can vibe with & he’s super creative and his energy is right, he’s a cancer like I am (laughs). Collin is brilliant, his taste is classic yet fresh, new & current at the same time. I would love to do quite a few videos with him actually. I’m use to doing narrative videos but I wanted to do something that was a little bit more artistic and just show people a little bit more in-depth which is what I’m coming with on this new album.
JI: The Canadian explosion is among us and there seems to be a lot of great talent. Is there any difference in music influence and style when compared to the US?
MF: I think as a Canadian & just knowing fellow Canadian artists we just have a different perspective on the world, on the world as a whole. Canada I feel like it’s so multi-cultural and I feel like it draws from a lot of different influences. So I feel like absolutely that is reflected in my music. I think Canadian artist just have a very diverse sound and I think that’s just how we view things, we never want to be pigeon holed into one thing. Canada is just a very broad place with a collection of many different influences.
JI: You’ve worked with some pretty big names in music, is there anyone you would love to work with that you haven’t yet?
MF: I want to work with Stevie Wonder absolutely most definitely. I’ve met him and he actually wants to work with me, which is really cool, and I’m dying to work with him. So I have to make that a priority on my to do list, just get in the studio I don’t even care if the song never comes out (laughs). I just want to be in the studio with Stevie Wonder.
JI: Mixtapes are the new albums; do you think it’s a great pre-album promotion tool or a musician’s downfall? Do you have any plans for a mixtape release?
MF: I think mixtapes are a great thing. Its tough because people have to remember that everything you put out is a reflection of you and sometimes the things we artist do on mixtapes we can’t do on our album for whatever reason for radio play, for commercial appeal whatever it is, but I think mixtapes are great. I did a mixtape on my last album and I’m going to do another one for this new album before it comes out.
JI: Do you have a reggae/dancehall-influenced alter ego? Would you ever come out with a full reggae album/mixtape?
MF: Yes, I do have a bit of dancehall/ Hip-Hop/ reggae artist alter-ego, because I am West Indian, I am Caribbean so it’s a part of who I am it’s a huge part of my life and upbringing. I definitely have that personality on stage; wherever in my album, stage show, mixtape you’re always going to hear some sort of reggae influence because that’s natural to me. I’ve done that type of music before my first album came out, before I had music on the radio I use to do music independently for the clubs and it definitely had a reggae dancehall vibe.
JI: How was it working with Jay-Z and the Rocawear campaign “What’s Next”?
MF: It was very cool. It’s crazy because I just left Times Square (NYC) and I saw my Billboard & I said WHOA. I forgot I had a Billboard in freaking Times Square its crazy. It’s honestly an amazing feeling when you have the eye, the attention and support of Jay-Z who’s been so successful and who is just dope at what he does & just made himself into one of the biggest artist in the world. It’s really cool to have been chosen for that campaign that is called “What’s Next” and to be labeled what’s next is really cool.
JI: You were on the road this summer promoting your new single & album, what shoe or shoes must be in your luggage that you cannot live without on the road?
MF: The wedge heels definitely, but my stage shoes are bad girl shoes. I always have to have a killer pair of shoes on-stage that’s just my thing; I don’t care what I’m wearing in-between but my shoes, the shoe game I stick to my shoe game. I’ll spend some money on some shoes. I love shoes; my favorite pair of shoes I own are probably my cranberry red Christian Louboutins they have about nine straps on them & their super high. I toured with Kanye West in those shoes, so no matter how old I get I will never get rid of those shoes their kind of like the golden slippers that have been around the world.
JI: Besides music, do you have plans to venture out into other projects like film, television, etc?
MF: I definitely do. I take the entertainment arts so seriously and I definitely think that if I do venture out in film, television or acting I want to be able to devote time & really study and really prepare myself because it’s an art. I wouldn’t want anybody who has dedicated his or her whole life to acting to feel disrespected by the fact that I just get a good opportunity and I’m like “Hey this is a joke”. I think if I actually do get into film & television, I would study it and treat it as I do my music.
JI: If you weren’t doing music, what other profession would you have taken on?
MF: If I wasn’t doing music I would probably be in some kind of social work. I wanted to do medical research but my grade school chemistry teacher told me “Your to dynamic to be sitting in a lab sorting shit all day”, that’s what he said verbatim & there went my dreams of medical research although I love science. I just feel like through my music I’m really able to express myself and to help other people express themselves its very therapeutic. So I would have been doing something in mentoring or social work, just because I feel like that’s just what I’m naturally put here to do.
JI: What’s next for Melanie Fiona?
MF: I have this new album, the new single its so early to tell but I’m just excited about the future just because the ideas I have creative wise. Just the launch of this new project the concept of “The MF Life” and what that is, it’s not just an album it’s an overall project, it’s a way of life, it’s a mentality & that’s really my focus and drive. Along with my charitable organizations, my creative online outlets and just getting out on the road and spreading my message touring and performing because that’s what I love & I feel like are my biggest strengths. Performing and sharing the music & these stories to people live is the best connection. So just getting out there finishing up this album, touring and living “The MF Life”.
For more info on Melanie Fiona go to, www.melaniefiona.com.