Melanie Fiona

posted March 05, 2009 12:00:00 AM CST | 12 comments

In an era where anybody can warble into a proprietary audio processor and proclaim themselves as a singer, Melanie Fiona is the antithesis to all things Auto Tune. Whereas most artists defer to the house Roger Troutman and Peter Frampton built, the sultry Guyanese (with a splash of Indian and Portuguese) songstress would much rather rely on her finely tuned chops instead of the so-called miracles of science.

Raised in Toronto, Fiona is the product of a diverse range of style, both musical and cultural. That influence is shown in her music, as she effortlessly glides across the waters of traditional R&B, Pop, Soul and even 1960s-style Rock. It’s no wonder that she has the co-signatures of luminaries like ?uestlove and Jay-Z, and a SRC/Universal deal to boot. DXnext introduces you to Melanie Fiona.

Influences:
Thanks in part to her West Indian roots, Melanie was around some of the finest world music has to offer. “I grew up influenced by a lot of Reggae, Soca, Pop, Hip Hop, R&B, what my parents would listen to,” she says. “I listened to a lot of old soul, artists like Sam Cooke and Patsy Cline. As I grew up, I loved artists like Sade, Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill and India.Arie. I’m just inspired by real vocalists that have real lyrical content that touch you and make you feel good.

It Runs In The Family: Melanie isn’t the only musically inclined member of her family. “My dad played music in a Reggae-Soca-Soul band, recreationally growing up,” she explains, “and my mom used to listen a lot of big-voiced vocalists around the house. So I just grew up listening to music, from the time I was born to now. It’s always just been a really big part of my life.”

Down Bottom: Although she planted her seeds in the T-Dot, Melanie had cross the line to make her mark. “When I wanted to become an artist, I got the opportunity to go south of the border and go on the stateside of things,” she says. “I met my executive producer, and I started working producers to develop a sound and establish myself. It wasn’t easy; I had to go through a lot of different producers in a few years to really find the team of people that really help me create the album that I wanted to create. In 2007 I met [SRC Records founder] Steve Rifkind [click to read] while I was shopping my album, and he was just absolutely on board from the jump.

Worldwide Underground:
Not content with simply having a run-of-the-mill album, Melanie perfected her product overseas. “I recorded the album throughout the world because I really wanted to make an album that was international and classic,” she says, citing London, Jamaica, Canada and the U.S as the homes of many studio sessions.

“The Roc Boys In The Building Tonight:” Not only does Melanie have a co-sign from the same person that introduced dead prez [click to read], Wu-Tang Clan, Big Punisher and Akon [click to read] to the masses, she also has the blessings from perhaps the biggest artist of all time. “Just recently I’ve signed with Roc Nation as my management team,” she proudly exclaims. “They’re well-known, well-tested and well-proven time and time again.  It’s an honor to be signed and managed by such a successful brand and label. I’m such a fan of Jay-Z [click to read], and that label is so well connected within the industry. I just can’t wait for the opportunities that will be presented for me with having such a strong force and strong team behind me.

Illadelph halflife: Melanie also had the opportunity to work with the one and only ?uestlove [click to read] from the legendary Roots Crew. “I’m such a fan of Hip Hop, and not many people know that I absolutely love live Hip Hop. I’m a big fan of The Roots and have been a big fan of ?uest. It was crazy because I always wanted to meet and work with them, and I actually had the opportunity to open for them at one of their concerts where we met. I went back to Philly and started working with them. ?uestlove is amazing. He’s so talented, and we’ve done some great stuff together as well.

Glowing In The Dark: Melanie
was invited to take part in the overseas version of Kanye West’s Glow In The Dark Tour, where she actually opened for the multi-platinum superstar. “It was an incredible experience,” she describes. “When I found out that I got the opportunity to go on tour with him, I found out he liked my music. For that I am forever grateful. The experience was amazing. I just feel like being able to open for him said so much for me. Being in Europe, I love the fact that now my music I make is international and it’s for the world, not just for one country or place.

Diff’rent Strokes: Lifting the familiar bass line of The Zombies’ “Time Of The Season” for her own debut single, “Give It To Me Right” [click to listen] the cut doesn’t fit the mold of the average first single. “In the light of trying to make an album that marries old soul and pop music, we came up with ‘Give It To Me Right.’ The song was written and produced by Andrea Martin, and the song came from a candid, personal conversation we were having about relationships. I just loved what it was saying, and it was so empowering as a woman. It’s flirtatious, it’s fun, it’s sexy and I felt that it was a classic.

Bridging The Gap: With her upcoming release, The Bridge, Melanie will present an eclectic mix of sounds. “The album is a reflection of who I am and what influences me musically as well as personally. I wanted to make something that was as diverse as the music I listened growing up. I feel that the album is something for everybody. Whether lyrically or musically, somebody will be able to find something that they appreciate on there. It has a really good feel about it.

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