Melanie Fiona’s songs so often speak of heartache and longing. She’s got that kind of voice — emotive, deep, intensely soulful.
I so clearly remember the first time I saw her sing, in the subway series she did to promote The Bridge.
How amazing was THAT? I love Melanie’s voice, and I love that her musical influences come from her upbringing. Canadian, Caribbean, fierce, feminine, Melanie sings her truth and the world has clearly been sitting up and listening. Melanie Fiona just won Grammy Awards for best traditional R&B performance and best R&B song, for the incredible, lush duet she did with Cee-Lo — Fool For You.
Melanie Fiona’s first album, The Bridge, was a tour de force introduction to her talent. The breakout hit, It Kills Me, was my favorite.
And please listen to the acoustic live version, in case you doubted her vocal talent.
There’s a majesty and grandeur to It Kills Me that reminds me of Dusty Springfield — one of the best to ever do it. I got to share that with Melanie Fiona when I interviewed her, before The MF Life dropped. I’ve been sitting on this one for a minute, bellas! Our interview was lengthy and fun and we talked about all KINDS of stuff, from her favorite places to eat in Toronto, to our mutual Caribbean musical influences, to her favorite makeup and skincare products, to her new, cleverly titled album – The MF Life, which is available for sale right NOW, and in case you didn’t know, Melanie’s album is currently number one on the R&B/Hip Hop album charts!
In our interview I got to experience the regular side of Melanie — she was running around New York, running errands. Our interview was fun and informal and chatty — I really must offer apologies for the audio quality of this interview, I’m actively looking into upgrading my voice recorder situation! But I wanted to share as much of it as I could, so you can experience the Melanie Fiona I had the pleasure of chatting with. She’s so cool!
Melanie grew up listening to Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, The Mighty Sparrow, Bob Marley, and soul classics by the likes of Sam Cooke and Stevie Wonder. In part one of this interview, we discuss the islands and the influence she got from Caribbean culture. And my accent comes out to play for a little bit
One thing I respect about Melanie Fiona is that she’s true to herself. She knows what she looks like and what she wants to look like. She isn’t one for costumes and antics and crazy over the top getups. She loves classic beauty and tends to go for subtle, rather than over the top glamour.
She believes true beauty comes from within. I had to ask her about her philosophy towards beauty.
Afrobella: My blog is Afrobella. Its about hair, beauty and fashion. I’ve got to talk to you about beauty before we end the interview. What do you think makes a woman most beautiful?
MF: I think the thing that makes a woman most beautiful is confidence. You can get your hair done, you can get your makeup done, you can get the flyest set of clothes but in the end if you have no confidence, it doesn’t mean anything. In the end you have to have that confidence that comes from within, whether you’re in a tracksuit or Rhianna even. It’s the way that you carry yourself, and that’s what attracts people. I’m a big believe in energy, and I’m a big believer in the laws of attraction and what makes people notice you, and it all radiates from your core, your spirit. I’m learning about myself and that’s something I try to encourage my female audience to do as well. Find something that makes you feel great. That reminds you of whom you are. Same things come with people that you surround yourself with in your life. The people that are around you bring the best side out of you.
Afrobella: I think so. When you love yourself, the confidence just comes out of you, and it makes you appear more beautiful to other people.
MF: Strength and confidence are two types of things that will get you far. You know what it is! As a woman we always size up other women. We look at other women, either from the hater perspective or from the place of confidence and support. You know when you see it, you see the girl who looks like she’s lacking something or she’s doing something for attention and then you see the girl who is a beauty that has so much life out of her that is drawing you to her. I think that comes from confidence, which makes a woman more beautiful.
So what are Melanie Fiona’s must have beauty products? Listen to find out!
And in case you couldn’t understand everything, here’s what she said!
Afrobella: Now I want to ask about the more superficial items. What are your favorite products? I’ve been reading your MF life posts on your blog, and you post your nails, you post your looks. What are your must have beauty products you absolutely love.
MF: “For the past couple of years I’ve been using Clinique as my skin care regime. It’s great, their Face Cleanser, which is just for regular skin, but their Foaming Cleanser is the best. It’s a really great makeup remover. Their Clarifying Toner is the greatest thing ever created it’s so cleansing, and so good. Their lotion is great for whatever types of moisture you need. This new thing that I started using that I absolutely love is called Perricone MD that’s like a Vitamin D Serum. It’s like an oil, and you just use a little. I find that I use it at night and I use it during the day with my moisturizer and I’ve noticed such a huge difference in the radiance of my skin. It’s more supple. That’s my new absolute favorite favorite thing that I’ve been using, and I mix that with everything. My favorite makeup products right now, well I’m absolutely loving this thing called Sun Rush (lustre drops) by MAC. Its like an iridescent drops that you can mix with your foundation, or use it by its own. It’s great for those times I want to be natural but I still want a nice sun kissed glow, this gives me a nice dewy natural look. It’s super light. It’s not very heavy with sparkles, it’s really really great… I cannot live without concealer. My concealer of choice is Bobbi Brown in Golden. It comes with a little powder on the side. You can set your concealer. Like today I’m just running some errands and not wearing any makeup, I just have mascara on. I just dab a little concealer under my eyes and set it with a little powder, put on some mascara, and that’s definitely a beauty essential for sure. My favorite nail color right now is by Essie. Its called Chinchilly. It’s like a grayish purple. It’s super neutral and goes with everything. Just put it on and goes with everything. It’s not your typical French manicure or bright color…. It’s something else! I’ll put on Chinchilly with a little gold sparkle and it adds a little extra jazz. I’m a little bit of a tomboy and I need something that’s accessible to me so I can do it on my own since I’m always on the road… and hair products? I love Kerastase products! Their orange line is really good for heat protectant. It’s great for all the heat that I’ve been using on my hair to keep it straight. I like to use the heat intensive mask, and I love this treatment that I put in after I wash my hair. It’s like heat protection. I absolutely love the Kerastase products.”
Afrobella: Do you have a signature fragrance?
MF: I do!…My signature fragrance is Pink Sugar by Aquolina. It smells like cotton candy and eveytime I wear it, people tell me it smells like Melanie. When I want to get a little bit more grown and sexy at night I tend to go to Chloe. Classic Chloe, that’s my favorite at night.
Afrobella:I love that you keep it classic! I notice that a lot of your beauty looks, cuz I always look at people’s makeup, you always rock a classic cat eye. That Mad Men, retro glam. That very easy go-to Sophia Loren era look. It’s so classic and it’s so easy to do.
MF: It is really easy to do. I used to work in retail, at the Body Shop. I love make up, I used to go through phases when I was a teenager, when I would say that my eye shadow should match my clothes. I did all of that. What I realized is that, this is what works for me. I’ve also come to realize that this is what helps people recognize an artist when they see them. For me I just have one of those phases when I realize that I don’t look good with a lot of makeup. I know this about myself, and I recognize it. And often times I do my own makeup, because a lot of people feel the need to pile on makeup. I don’t like that. It’s not my thing. I tried to keep my look classic and so by doing it myself I know the way I like to look and like to feel. So I keep it pretty classic. I may change my lip color every now and then, but it’s pretty much a dewy cheek, a gold sheen on the cheek, cat eye, lashes, that’s it.
Melanie’s latest album, The MF Life, is currently available — click here to buy! In this final part of the interview we talk about The MF Life, and Twitter — do you follow @MelanieFiona? You should! She LOVES engaging with her fans!
She’s talented, she’s beautiful, and she was a really cool interview. Love me some Melanie Fiona and can’t wait to see what comes next for her! Check out her official website – MelanieFiona.com, and don’t forget to like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter! Thank you Melanie and RocNation for the opportunity!