Throwback Interview: Melanie Fiona

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As Posted On VIBE.com

In light of Melanie Fiona’s new video for ‘Cold Piece’ premiering today on Pepsi, VIBE sat down with the talented starlet to talk about the inspiration behind the new single, how she hooked up with Pepsi and what her plans are for a new album.

VIBE: Was “Cold Piece” inspired by a real-life cold-hearted fella?

Melanie: Well absolutely! Everything is inspired by cold-hearted guys! This particular song, it’s not really an official single, it’s just a song I did with the producer Alan English from the UK. We just caught a vibe and I had some things I needed to say. I definitely was reflecting on past relationships and what it was that I really wanted to say and get off my chest. I feel like ‘Cold Piece’ is the representation of loving and learning and being like “ok I get it, I can understand what happened and I can look back on it and I’m fine.” I loved it and really believed that people would love it. So I put it for free on my Soundcloud and on my website and people were loving it and that’s when I met with Pepsi and Complex. They were just like ‘yo we love the song, we love your vibe right now, what you’re doing, let’s do something cool’. That’s how the video came about, we didn’t even intend on doing a music video, but through brainstorming and loving the song that’s how it happened.

From the behind-the-scenes clip for the video, you take a more light-hearted approach with you and your friends hanging on the block and dishing out desserts. Where did the concept come from?

The concept came from my life really, just where I’m at. I reside over here right now in Brooklyn, I love New York, I love summer and I love that record. I wanted to do something that was fun. I think that people have seen videos of me where they’ve been very dramatic and emotional but also very real. That’s what I wanted, for people to still get the real me. It’s not this different version of Melanie Fiona; it’s just the 2013 version. It’s true to who I am, it’s true to what I’m living and listening to and loving and what my life looks like. Minus the ice cream truck, I don’t really own an ice cream truck, although I wish I did. It’s about having a good time with people and vibing and the music brings people together. They are my real friends in the video. Artists like Mateo and Ro James and Luke James. These are my people that I called on and I was like ‘hey can you come through’ and I wanted it to be authentic and to be real. That’s exactly what you see and I think that’s what people can feel. It was so much fun; it wasn’t like shooting a music video at all.

How did you partner with Pepsi?

Honestly it was at a party! I’ve done things with Pepsi prior; I did the Billboard Michael Jackson Tribute at Gotham Hall here in New York. As well just through different networks of relationships I have known a couple of people from Pepsi. Then of course Complex, doing interviews they were familiar with me. I was at a day party that was going on, I think Heineken was doing it. All the reps were there and we all saw each other again and they were like ‘we love what you’re doing’ and ‘let’s get on a call and have a meeting and talk about what we can do together.’ I think the beautiful thing about this song and this record is there’s no pressure. Everything happened so organically that that’s just what I want people to feel from it. I want people to just be like ‘what a cool thing to do’ and it’s not ‘oh my god it’s her big single and it’s her comeback!’ Let’s just make some cool art and collaborating with Pepsi and Complex is some of the coolest stuff you can do.

You worked with Drake. What are your thoughts on “Nothing Was The Same”?

I’m a bad Canadian I haven’t listened to it yet, but I did download it. I have to ease my way into new music because I get so engulfed in certain projects and I can’t move off of them. When everybody was on the Magna Carter, I was still on the J Cole and when everyone was on the J Cole, I was still on the Kendrick Lamar. I’m still behind a cycle. The only thing I love to listen to everyday is the Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience Volume 1.

Is a new album in the works? What can we expect and when?

Absolutely, I’m definitely working on album number three and it’s a blast to be able to do it. I’m going to definitely release that next year. I’m just getting myself together, this year I’ve just taken to be creative and to experiment and travel and be inspired. I feel like you need inspiration when you’re working on a new project. I’ve been doing placements and writing with other people. Solange and I did a song on her project ‘Lovers In The Parking Lot’. It’s fun to be able to be creative right now and prepare what I want to do for the next project. In the meantime ‘Cold Piece’ is out and I’m going to be putting out some more music for the fans in between. Then the album next year and I feel like it’s going to most definitely be my best work yet because I feel like I’m my best self now.

On your Instagram there are loads of pictures of you getting ready to work out. What is your work-out schedule like? Do you enjoy working out?

I do like being active, I’m not going to say that I’m a gym rat. I don’t live in the gym; I love to eat way too much to do all of that. I do believe in being fit and I do believe in being healthy. Most recently I’ve had a lot of stuff when it comes to fitness because I’m training for the Nike Women’s Marathon this Sunday. So I’m doing a half marathon in San Francisco and that’s another collaboration I did, with Nike, and they supported me and encouraged me to just run. I’m excited because it’s supportive of Cancer Research and women’s sports. I love it, generally I try to get weights in, I jump rope, I like to box. But most recently I’ve been running; that’s actually been the focus of my work-outs. The other day I ran eleven miles and it’s such an accomplishment for me because I never thought I could run eleven miles. I post it because I want people to see progress in myself and then obviously in themselves and encourage them that with time you can progress to get to your goals. I just like being active, riding my bike a lot, I love riding my bike. I’m scared and I’m looking forward to the marathon. I feel like once I get there the natural athlete in me, I used to play sports, I think she’ll just wake up and be like ‘ok there’s a race today let’s go’. It’s also the biggest physical stress I’ve ever put on my body. So I just hope that my body stays strong and I feel rested and good. But I feel like the energy of 30,000 women running for this amazing cause is just going to be enough to carry me through, there’s something really powerful about that. I’m really looking forward to it actually.

VIBE has an upcoming Race issue coming up. What was the first time you were aware of what racism was?

It’s hard to tell because when you’re a kid, kids tease each other when it comes to certain things and you don’t really know if that’s racism or racism in development. I think it’s something that we’ve always known is around you. You hear about it and you learn about it. I grew up in a really multicultural city in Toronto, that’s where I’m from. I never grew up with a mentality that I was different from anyone else. I’m just being honest. I didn’t grow up feeling like I had less of an advantage because of the color of my skin or more of an advantage. My parents come from the islands and they never brought that on me. My first instance of racism, I was in high school. I moved from the city into the suburbs starting high school. One of the girls that I had befriended when I first moved up into the suburbs, I thought she was cool, we were friends and she was white. When we got to high school she really flipped and she became someone else. She got in trouble for a lot of racial slurs and she called me names and this was somebody that I was friends with once upon a time. That’s when I really realised that there are people out there that really thrive on this being their identity. It’s a sad thing but I don’t give it any power, and I won’t tolerate it, I won’t tolerate it anywhere I am. So if I see it, if I hear it I pretty much try to be a voice like ‘hey that’s not ok’. I just hope we’re working towards a world that’s not that anymore, that everyone is just like one love. Bob Marley guys, let’s make it happen.

Being of mixed heritage, you are Guyanese and mixed with African, Indian and Portuguese. What are the weirdest misconceptions you’ve heard about your ethnicity?

My favorite is when I say I’m from Guyana and people think I’m saying Ghana and I’m like no not Ghana, Guyana, there is a country called Guyana I’m not making it up. That’s always really funny. It’s hard for people to grasp me being so mixed, especially here in America. I find that that’s something I’ve encountered where you come here and you fill out an application and you have to check a box of what you fit in. I never check one box; I check every box and the other box just to piss people off because I feel like it’s ridiculous when you have to start putting people in boxes based off their race. Misconceptions for me, I’ve got the ‘oh so you’re black with nice hair’ and I’m like ‘I don’t even know what that means and I don’t know if I should feel offended by this’. I just am what I am. When I try to explain to people my mom is this and my dad is this, Guyana is a multicultural land so I have different backgrounds, sometimes people don’t understand. So they think that I’m Spanish because I’m from South America or they just want me to be one thing, they don’t want me to be all the things that I actually am. That’s tough sometimes but you can’t blame people for their ignorance.

If, like Melanie, you are working towards a healthier lifestyle a balanced diet is the best place to start, for some tips on how to integrate clean eating into your busy schedule read below:

https://megansaad.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/the-balancing-act-that-is-your-diet/

Here’s some of my thoughts on racism in the media:

https://megansaad.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/throwback-feature-media-racism/

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