A Short Convo With… Melanie Fiona

Music

By: John Kennedy / October 28, 2009

Mel F. talks heartbreak, longevity and the difference between male and female fans   

Everyone I’ve spoken to either loves you or has never heard of you. Why do you think your songs haven’t been hits on the radio?
The type of music that I do is not formatted for one particular kind of person or genre of music. Maybe that’s where the disconnect comes from. It’s a different route that I’ve taken because I didn’t want to be put inside of a box. Generally, the hits that you hear on the radio today are from already well-established artists or artists making disposable music. What I do is definitely not disposable–it’s something that in 10 years, people will still love. I think [for me] it’s going to be like the Jill Scott story. Nobody knew who she was, but by the end, she sold 3 million, everybody loved her and she was winning Grammys.
People think that because you’re signed to Roc Nation, you hear from Jay-Z everyday. Who gives you the most guidance at Roc Nation?
Jay Brown and Ty Tyf. They’re on the left and right of Jay-Z, anyway. I’ve kicked it with [Jay-Z] on a number of occasions, but I’ve known Jay Brown for years. I worked with him writing for Rihanna in the past. After he left Def Jam and became a part of Roc Nation, he’d seen how hard I worked and said, “I’m really loving what you’re doing.” He’s been great with giving me opportunities like doing a tour with Kanye. It’s nice to be with somebody who’s seen you grow.
What or who inspired your latest single, “It Kills Me?”melanie fiona.jpg
A relationship gone wrong. At the time of recording, I was in a devastating relationship. I officially got my heart broken, smashed and trampled on, picked up, put together and smashed again.
How long did your relationship last?
I started young. By the time it was served and done, it was like five years, on-and-off.  The first two were bliss. I’m a relationship person. When it’s right, you don’t have to try. That’s why I don’t go on random dates with people and invest time and energy into just anybody. I don’t have time for games. You’re either going to give it to me right or not at all. I’m not into the whole, “Why didn’t you call?” Or “Should I call?” I’m like, “If you’re feeling me and I’m feeling you, let’s kick it.”
Where’s that guy now?
He’s long gone. It’s a wrap for him. It officially ended last year.
So he was obviously in the wrong?
Isn’t “he” always? [Laughs] Come on. But even from a man’s perspective, conceptually things come from a woman’s [point of view], but you can flip it. Even with “Give It to Me Right,” woman took it as an anthem and men took it like, “Oh, man. Stop.” But if a man told me, “You better give it to me right or I’m out of here,” I’d be like, “Oh, okay. You know what you want.” It’s not about the sexuality of being a man or a woman. It’s about knowing what you want and not accepting anything less. “It Kills Me” is one of those records that guys get into a lot, too, because it has that hard soul that they can relate to. That makes me feel good when I can make music for dudes. When dudes like your music it’s cool, but winning chicks over is the task.
Why is that?
Women don’t embrace each other as much as men [do]. We get competitive. But that’s where I’m at. I’m not going to be the kind of artist that’s going to be like, “I can take your man.” I don’t like girls like that. I’m like, “I would never leave my man in a room with you. I don’t trust you as far as I can throw you.” I just like real people who go through real things. -Brad Wete

Just because her debut album, The Bridge, has seen months of delays, don’t think Melanie Fiona is a studio slouch. The Toronto songbird completed the project a year ago, but hurdles on the business end slowed the soul-drenched LP’s release. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” she explains. She’s off and running now, as The Bridge is available for download on iTunes and hits stores November 10.

Photo Credit: Getty Images