Soulful songstress Melanie Fiona has a lot to be proud of. In the past two years, the Canadian singer not only released her debut album The Bridge under Universal Motown, but was also nominated for a Grammy for her single “It Kills Me”. Since then, she has toured with megastar Alicia Keys as the opening act on The Freedom Tour, performed the Canadian national anthem at the NBA 2011 All-Star game this past February, and most recently, joined the 2011 BET Music Matters Tour alongside Marsha Ambrosius.
Currently, Ms. Fiona has been also working on her sophomore attempt, The MF Life, and has been performing songs off of it on the BET Music Matters Tour. The lead single off the project is “Gone and Never Coming Back” and is currently available on iTunes. The album is said to be slated for a summer release, possibly July.
Singersroom: You’re on Singersroom’s newest campaign NextDiva, to be the next diva for this generation, following the likes of Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin.
Melanie: That’s awesome
Singersroom: So what is your example of a diva and how has the definition changed over time for you?
Melanie: Oh man. I always think “diva” has a negative connotation to it for some reason. I really just think a “diva” is a strong woman who is in her own thing, doing what she does better than anyone else can do it in what she does and just being herself. And I think if I’m classified as one, that’s pretty awesome because I think divas make legends. So hopefully I’m on the path to becoming a legend. That’d be awesome.
Singersroom: You definitely are on your way, especially after that performance
Melanie: Thank you!
Singersroom: As a performer, how are you able to reach the young ladies out there that can potentially become the future divas of tomorrow?
Melanie: Man. My motto is always just being true to yourself. I know there are a lot of pressures. Just being a girl comes with a lot. And my whole motto, my whole aim, is just always be that real “hey I’m your home girl”. Like I go through the same things you go through and it’s okay if you don’t feel pretty every day and you don’t have to objectify or sexualize yourself to be attractive to people. Confidence and intelligence, I think, goes a lot further. So that’s kinda always been who I am.
Singersroom: Also as a performer, what are some specific issues that young females face that you want to address out there?
Melanie: I think a lot of young girls have a false image of what is supposed to be “hot” in the media. And a lot of them are misled to believe that things appear to be real when they are not. [Laughs] And I feel like natural beauty is something that a lot of girls steer away from and trying to be concerned with makeup or plastic surgery now, or just changing clothes. I mean there’s nothing wrong with fashion, but you know, in being provocatively dressed and things like that. I just feel like there’s a big difference in being sexy and being about sex. And I want young girls to know that you don’t have to be about sex to command that type of attention. You know, confidence, I think, is the sexiest thing on a woman; and I think any man will tell you that. It doesn’t matter if you have a fake ass or fake breasts, because that’s not what it’s about. Because I have neither and I think I’m doing alright so far. [Laughs]
Singersroom: [Laughs] Well you are beautiful
Melanie: Thank you! Thank you!
Singersroom: When you look into the mirror, what do you see as compared to how others might see you as?
Melanie: I see the goofiest person you could ever know. Like I see the girl who doesn’t try to take anything too seriously. I see the girl who thinks she has fat cheeks, and I feel like one of my eyes is lazier than the other. And like geez, I wish my skin was better. When people see me, they’re like “you look so fresh all the time!” and I’m like “yeah but I feel like crap most of the time” because I’m tired, but that’s life. [Laughs] Everybody has those days. That’s just the way it is, and that’s okay. That’s really okay. I’m just fine with that. I’m human. If you take a picture of me with no makeup, guess what? I don’t sleep in makeup, I don’t wear makeup all the time; I’m a human at the end of the day.
Singersroom: Some people chase for fame and some people chase for power. What do you chase as for as a young black woman?
Melanie: Manâ¦ I chase for the cause. I chase for what it is, for the struggle, for that respect. You know what I mean? In my song “Ayo” I say it in the second verse, I don’t do this for the glory or for what people might say; I do this my own way, you know? It’s about respect. If I had 100 fans who just loved what I did and were dedicated to my entire career and I could live off of that, that would make me happier than having like a million fair-weather fans that don’t respect what I’m doing. And having the respect of the people I respect in the industry, that’s what’s most important to me. So yeah, it’s for the cause, for the respect. —— By: Interview By Connie Tang