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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Jamie Foxx to Host 2018 BET Awards

Jamie Foxx will return as the host of the 2018 BET Awards. This will be his second time hosting the BET Awards since 2009.

Foxx joins an A-List roster of comedians who have hosted the ceremony, including Leslie Jones, Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, Chris Rock, Mo’Nique, Kevin Hart and Chris Tucker.

The Unpredictable singer has a busy year ahead of him. He will star in Lionsgate’s action-adventure Robin Hood, which hits theaters November 21. He is also working on his directorial debut in the upcoming film, All-Star Weekend, which he wrote and stars in.

The 2018 BET Awards nominations were announced last week with Rihanna and SZA among the top nominees. R&B newbies H.E.R. and Daniel Caesar scored their first-ever nominations, including Best New Artist.

The 2018 BET Awards will air live on Sunday, June 24 at 8 p.m. ET from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Solange Recognized as Fashion Pioneer at 70th Annual Parsons Benefit

Solange not only has an ear for music but she also has an eye for fashion.

The Grammy-Award winning singer was honored on Monday night by The New School at the 70th Annual Parsons Benefit. Her close friends/collaborators Dev Hynes and Kelela were also in attendance to help celebrate.

Solange went to Instagram on Tuesday morning to express her gratitude. “I literally woke up w the biggest smile on my face…bursting at the seams with gratitude from this night,” she wrote. “ENDLESS thank you to @missymisdemeanorelliott @erykahbadu @pharrell for the words u shared! they will echo in my heart FOREVER. there was so much love in that room during those moments, I couldn’t even believe it was real. im gonna continue to strive and live up to those words now. u all are my literal idols, u left the blueprint, and u taught me how to be me when I didn’t have the language or the tools…I’m eternally grateful…”

Marco Bizzarri, CEO of Gucci, and José Neves, CEO and Founder of Farfetch were also honored at the event.

The Parsons Benefit recognized individuals who embody the university’s commitment to creativity and innovation. The program featured special video presentations by Pharrell, Missy Elliott, and Erykah Badu along with remarks by Vince Staples in honor of Solange’s impact as a pioneering figure in fashion and art.

Parsons, one of the leading art and design schools in the world, hosts the Parsons Benefit, in collaboration with The New School’s College of Performing Arts, each year to present and empower the next generation of fashion designers and performers, and to raise instrumental funds for student scholarships. Donors’ generosity through the Benefit supports education that enables students to pursue studies in art, design, liberal arts, music, technology, and social innovation.

Dev Hynes, Solange and Kelela

Ella Mai Earns First No. 1 Single on Billboard

Ella Mai has done it. The rising UK singer has landed her first No. 1 song of her career as “Boo’d Up” rises to the top spot on Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart this week.

The DJ Mustard-produced cut debuted on the chart at No. 13 in late March, only taking 10 weeks to accomplish this No. 1 achievement.

Mai is close to making more chart worthy news soon. Her single “Boo’d Up” currently stands at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. If the song enters the top 10 next week, she could be the first solo female R&B artist to achieve a top 10 single (of new material) since Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain” (No. 5) in 2017.

The Ready singer is gearing up to release her debut album soon, which is executive produced by DJ Mustard.

“We’re pretty close to finishing,” Mai told Billboard. “You can hear the growth from my EP’s into this project. Content-wise, it’s a bit more mature. It’s still me and, like the EP’s, still about love and relationships. There are definitely some collaborations but I can’t share those just yet.”

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