Our foreign neighbor Canada is known for producing unforgettable musical talent like R&B singer/songwriter/actress Deborah Cox, who swore to us that she “tried that love thing for the last time,” and Canadian-American R&B chanteuse Tamia, who forever put a move on our hearts by lending us her sweet voice for life’s many milestones and lessons, whether it’s jumping the broom or belting out the true meaning of unconditional sisterhood. Now, seemingly quiet Canada has brought forth another music sensation, Guyanese bred, Canadian raised recording artist Melanie Fiona, whom BET has already referred to as an icon. The name may be new to you, but her music, which cannot be categorized or boxed into any one genre, you’ve likely heard. She’s been making her way around the globe touring with Kanye West, and showing up on OPP (other people’s projects), and then there’s Melanie’s new debut album The Bridge -a collection of work that takes you on a complex journey of love through the generations and across continents.
The Bridge is Over
Pushed back for about a year, we finally get to know Melanie on a much more intimate level. Ushering us straight inside her heart to the very core of her soul is exactly what she wants, but she also has a strong desire to reach beyond the confines of any genre to touch all lovers of good music. “The Bridge is very soul driven and jazz rich, and although it’s soulful music, it mixes with different genres whether rock, hip hop, R&B, reggae, or pop. I wanted to break the mold of what music is supposed to be, and limiting where it can reach and whom it can affect. I want people to feel connected to me” This hybrid body of work is laced with some cool Caribbean notes that will have you thinking back on when you were introduced for the first time to legends like Bob Marley, Frankie Avalon, and Sam Cooke to name a few. “My dad played guitar, and my mother listened to a lot of soul music while I was growing up, and this album is very much me paying homage to a lot of the soul singers that I love.”
Between the music notes you’ll also find that the sultry 25 year-old knows what she wants and doesn’t mind expressing just that-and very clearly. With lyrics like “I don’t want it all the time/But when I get it/ I better be satisfied/So give it to me right/Or don’t give it to me at all” in the song “Give It To Me Right.” As with many current revolutions, be they hair or sexual, a comfort with oneself is a common theme that shows up throughout the album.
“I want people to feel connected to me”
One thing she wants her female fans to take from this album is a belief that she, like any other female, goes through “it” when it comes to love and relationships. You’ll find she takes you through dangerous love, shaky love, blinding love, and mile-high love that leaves her literally without words like in the chorus of the song “It Kills Me:” “And it kills me to know how much I really love you/So much I wanna ooh hoo ohh to you hoo hoo.” She doesn’t forget her male fans either, hoping that this album is something that men can listen to with their girlfriends, talk about, and feel good about. But she does want the fellas to take note of the importance of a man’s vigilance toward his woman. “I’m very much an advocate for women, but I get dudes too. I grew up around a lot of guys, and I have an older brother, so I understand the flip side, but guys, pay attention. We’re really going through it as women, pay attention to the songs on the album, listen when your girlfriend says these things because we mean it. We’re not just talking crazy. These are real feelings that we have,” says Melanie.
It’s Water Under the Bridge
Finding out how important “bridging the gap” between generations is while addressing the themes of love through her experiences, made me wonder how she feels about the music that has been getting a lot of air time. Music that seems to be void of a mission other than being a hit single. Fearless when it comes to the purpose of her music, Melanie knows what she’s up against in this industry, and understands what she’s competing with. ” I think there’s a lot of disposable music out there. It’s a numbers game out here with the radio stations, and it’s not about the music anymore. This music that people are feeling today, they will not be listening to ten years from now. It’s a sign of the times, I guess. Artists come out thinking if I have a hit record, then I’m good. For those of us trying to have careers, it’s really insulting. The music business has changed a lot, and it a different battle for me. It’s tough, but I’m up for it because I really believe in what I created for this album. I feel like because the music is as strong as it is, it will survive whatever is going on. This music is classic and timeless; it has no expiration date.”
“The music is classic and timeless; it has no expiration date.”
Making certain that she’s well stocked on lip gloss, lip gloss, and more lip gloss, this singer/songwriter who penned the song “Dem Haters” for Rihanna on her album A Girl Like Me, is gearing up for a tour with crooner Raphael Saadiq. The humble singer doesn’t mind living out of a suitcase either, because she lives for the stage. “I love what I do, but I really love the stage. I feel like I become someone else, and bringing my music to life is what’s important to me.” While Ryan Leslie, Musiq Soulchild, Lauryn Hill, Sam Cooke, and Bob Marley are in heavy rotation on her play list, we Clutchettes hope Melanie knows that by her music mission alone-so non-commercial and very personal, already makes her a history maker. And, this makes her just as iconic as the legends she so loves before her.