I recently got a chance to briefly chat with Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, Melanie Fiona, who made a stop here in Chicago at City Winery Chicago, as part of a small intimate tour she’s currently on to promote her upcoming new comeback album, Next Train. We talk about everything from motherhood and how it has effected her new music, her new album, her comeback single, what it’s like working with Jack Splash and the chemistry they have, as well as of course her connection with her fans.
Nello for TheHipHopDemocrat.com: Hey, Melanie.
Melanie Fiona: Hey.
Nello: I’m Nello Rubio with The Hip Hop Democrat. I know you have been working on your next album, which you said is going be titled, Next Train. It’s been awhile since you’ve released new material and since that time you have become a mother. Will that effect and incorporate into your new music being a mother now too?
Melanie Fiona: Yes, definitely. I feel the first thing that changed for me musically when I found out I was pregnant, was I wrote a song called, I Want It All. I had released it before this album comes out. It was an ode to just a place in my life where I really wanted to be and I feel that song really spoke my current life situation into existence because I wanted to strive for greatness and mortality in both my professional and personal life. Becoming a mother has just fulfilled me in just a whole new way. So the album is really about all the steps, lessons and experiences that got me to this point in my life. Really because I feel they were all stepping-stones to move in a forward direction. So that’s really what happened. Cause originally the album was supposed to be titled, Awake. As I was writing, singing and recording these songs, I felt like it was really more of a reflection of what I needed to go through to get to where I am and the lessons I learned to get where I am. So I truly can say that I’m now in the most fulfilled space in my life. Now that I am a mother and being able to make music and be an artist. It’s really an interesting balancing act. However, I’m really just thankful to be able to do what I love and to have people who I love around me while I’m doing it.
Nello: I know like you said that the album was originally supposed to be titled, Awake. I remember because we are actually based here in Chicago and I remember in 2015 when you came here for the Verizon performance that you had. So some of that material that you worked on than, will any of that still be on the album?
Melanie Fiona: Yes, actually. So Bicycling is definitely on the album. I did a song called, I Tried, as well around that time. That will definitely be on the album. That and I Want It All, are just two records that I just wanted to put out in between the album services. You know, just to service and give to my fan base and just give them some music in between. But I’ve come up with whole new material and that’s what I’m excited about putting on the album.
Nello: You’ve always been an artist that you can always feel the passion and the power in your vocals on your records and that any lot of people can relate to. Especially a lot of your records that have been about a heartbreak. Even though you’re in a relationship now and have a baby, will still be those types of records as well?
Melanie Fiona: Obviously like you said, I’m in a really different space now. I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily heartbreak records. I think they are records that still definitely live in truth and vulnerability and some reflection of lower moments or harsh feelings of rockiness. Like I said all the songs are very empowering. So even a song like, Remember U, which I put out. Which feels a little bit more like a heartbreak record. For me it’s not a heartbreak record, it’s more of like a reflection of a lesson that I’m needing to learn or that I needed to learn. Where I was trying to move on from someone who was done and over in my life. Just the frustrated feelings I think you can feel when the heartache wouldn’t go away and you’re ready to let it go and it just wouldn’t go away. You know this person isn’t helping you get over these feelings. You know that was obviously a very specific point in my life. Obviously before this current relationship. But it’s a real valid moment in my life and it’s obviously an obstacle that I had to get over to be where I’m now. That’s the one thing I think that I will always stay true to, is the truth. About what can be hard to express sometimes and what’s difficult to feel sometimes. The frustrating moments, the hard moments. There’s definitely high points on the album about love and the happiness I found in that. But, I will never leave the audience that has received me so well over these years with the void of not feeling like there’s not someone out there singing their pain or singing their truth. I love to be able to be that and connect people to that feeling and express that. Even if we don’t stay there, I think it’s important to always acknowledge the hard moments.
Nello: Yeah, speaking of your newest single, Remember U. It’s obviously another record where you can feel the power and passion in your vocals. It’s the perfect comeback single, per say with what you have coming soon. So my question was you have worked with Jack Splash on that and a lot of your other records over the years. What do you think it’s with your chemistry with him where you have been able to create such great records over the years with one another?
Melanie Fiona: I think that Jack and I approach music from a very similar space. We are old souls in a young world. Jack is just masterful with his choices in what he’s influenced by. He’s a real music lover and he creates movies with just his instrumentation. Like even if I didn’t write or sing a song over the top of his tracks, they would be stand alone, standout pieces of work and I think that’s always a recipe for greatness. When you have music that can tell a story already on its own and then you can tell another story on top of that to match that energy and angst. You know it’s a recipe for success for us. You know we have had the Grammy success with, Fool For You and Wrong Side Of A Love Song. The nominations. I wanted to lead off with Remember U, because I feel like it’s true to the magic I’ve been creating with Jack and Andrea Martin and all this great collective, who I co-wrote the record with. I feel like that’s quintessentially me and I always want to do something that stays true to who I am. No matter how much I evolve. No matter how much the sound evolves and the music and the albums evolve. I always have to have I think that one moment on each album that feels truly like a Melanie Fiona ballad and that’s what, Remember U, is for me and I’m just so proud of it and it just feels very classic and cinematic.
Nello: I’m sure your fans will be glad to hear that and that segues perfectly into my next question. You are currently on a small intimate tour. I know here in Chicago it was really good. But, what’s the response and feedback for your performances from your fans and just the audience in general for those shows been like?
Melanie Fiona: The rest of the shows have been amazing. Every show and every audience seemed to get better and more amazing with every new city. The greatest compliment someone gave me after our last show in New York, was a lady who said, “Your show felt like a group of good friends saying goodbye when it was over.” And that’s exactly the way I always want to feel as well.
Nello: Do you have a favorite city you’ve performed in so far?
Melanie Fiona: Every city is magical, but some of my favorite show memories are from Paris.
Nello: Before I close, do you have a release date yet for the album and can we expect a video for Remember U, as well as anymore singles, videos or anything else you want to before the release of the album?
Melanie Fiona: I’m looking forward to releasing and revealing visuals for some of my favorite album cuts before the album is released. This album is much more than the singles the public has heard.
Nello: Alright, Melanie thanks for the interview and we look forward to the new album, as well as the next time you are here in Chicago again cause you always show us lots of love and your album is among mine and most of the rest of us with the sites most-anticipated albums of the whole year.