Melanie Fiona Talks New Album, Going Independent & ‘Angry R&B’ Label

melanie-fiona

Fresh off the release of her new single “Bite The Bullet,” Melanie Fiona kicks off the promotion for her new album, Awake.

The Toronto native spoke with BET about various topics including the significance of the album title. “It is about being present and being awake,” said Fiona. “It’s what I feel like I’ve experienced from the second project, The MF Life, up to now. It’s not just music. It’s a way of thinking and a way of life. It’s about honoring each moment, good or bad, because with everything that’s happened from 2012 to now, I’ve grown so much. I’m stronger and my best self. That came with a lot of experiences, and I had to welcome them all in order to elevate myself to a new level of sharing and making better music. The songs on the album are little snapshots of moments of awakening along the way.”

The “4 AM” singer addressed why she chose to become an independent artist. “It was just unrelenting belief in evolution and progression. The industry has changed, and I’ve always found myself in these one in a million type situations,” said Fiona. “It’s rare you hear of an established Grammy Award-winning artist going from major to independent by choice. I’m fortunate for my family at Universal. I’m fortunate for my family at Primary Wave. I’m thankful I’ve had great partners along the way to prepare me for this moment. I’m just excited I was able to have the power to choose.”

Although Fiona has recorded anthems such as “Wrong Side of a Love Song” and “It Kills Me,” she doesn’t approve of critics and fans labeling her or her music angry R&B. “I think ignorant people try to paint me into that lane,” she said. “That title, or whatever that is, is so general and based off one aspect of what people might think they know. Yes, those have been my biggest songs and I’m so proud of that because my strength and greatest success has come from my pain and there’s no shame in that. But to say I’m limited to being the angry R&B chick, then you haven’t listened to my projects. You haven’t listened to the other moments or come to a live show. You haven’t gotten the chance to know that I’m a very happy and positive person. I don’t wear my pain like that. I just channel it into my art.”

Read more of the interview here.

Antwane Folk is the editorial assistant at RatedRnB.com.

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Teyana Taylor Announces ‘Keep The Same Energy Tour’ Following Jeremih’s Dismissal

Teyana Taylor is a woman with a plan. After making a loud exit from her joint tour with Jeremih due to being “extremely mistreated,” the Harlem native has announced her headlining Keep That Same Energy Tour, which is named after her sophomore album.

Taylor will perform in the originally scheduled cities from her previous tour except for New Orleans and Kansas City, since Jeremih has been reportedly removed. Although she had to cancel Toronto’s show (Aug.16), she is working on rescheduling the show for later this week.

Taylor will keep DaniLeigh as the special guest for her. She also plans to have a couple of friends join the tour.

The tour drama between Jeremih and Taylor became public on Wednesday (Aug. 15) after she posted her disappointment in the crooner acting like a diva. The R&B acts went back and forth — directly and indirectly — on social media, which ultimately led to Jeremih’s dismissal.

Find tickets for Taylor’s KTSE Tour at axs.com, etix.com, ticketfly.com and ticketweb.com.

Keep That Same Energy Tour Dates
August 17 – Detroit, MI @ The Majestic
August 18 – Chicago, IL @ The Vic Theatre
August 21 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
August 24 – Houston, TX @ Revention Music Center*
August 25 – Dallas, TX @ Canton Hall
August 28 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
August 30 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
September 1 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Novo
September 3 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory Orange County
September 4 – San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park
September 5 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
September 7 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox SODO
September 8 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom

*Daniel Caesar

SZA Plans to Launch Sustainable Clothing Line to Help Save Oceans

SZA wants to do her part to help save the ocean. The Grammy-nominated singer announced her new clothing line, in possible collaboration with Champion, dedicated to sustainability.

SZA shared an assumed final product of Ctrl Fishing Company — the possible name of her new apparel line, which is named after her debut album — on Instagram that featured a stylish hoodie. Across the hooded sweatshirt, in a rainbow embroidered font, it reads “Sustainability Gang” under a Champion logo.

In a series of IG story posts, the singer revealed other chic t-shirts and sweatshirts that included prints of cute seahorses and blue whales next to a “Puck Flastic” message.

SZA is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the collection to support sustainable efforts focused on protecting the oceans.

In other news, SZA is banging it out in the studio for her final album. “My world got so much smaller so fast,” she told Flaunt. “I have so much to write about. I feel like I’m in a cage. I’m making the best album of my life for this next album and I know that… because it’s going to be my last album.”

Bean.

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Who tryn save da ocean 👀 @ctrlfishingco

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Aretha Franklin Dead at 76

Legendary singer and musician Aretha Franklin has died at age 76. The devasting news comes after reports of Franklin being ‘gravely ill’ in a Detroit hospital.

Franklin’s publicist Gwendolyn Quinn confirmed The Queen of Soul died at her home in Detroit on Thursday morning.

“Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute,” Quinn told The Associated Press.

Franklin’s family added, “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds. We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

Funeral arrangements for Franklin is expected to be announced in the coming days.

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