Photo by Desmond Mclean Jr. for Digital Pabulum
Verizon Wireless has kicked off its “Potential Of Us” initiative highlighting the accomplishments of diverse influencers and trailblazers from around the country. Verizon has also been recognizing the crowning achievements of various individuals. The company has been encouraging and inspiring adults and kids to not just celebrate history, but also to create it. Verizon has expressed that it's so important to follow your dreams and passions and reach your full potential. Verizon recently brought its 'Potential Of Us' campaign to Atlanta with its "Big Payoff" event. The event was a cumulative event focusing on strengthening relationships in the communities by developing brand recognition and love. The event began with a panel of key influencers from the Atlanta area, and went on to feature live performances from local talent and celebrity headliner/partner Melanie Fiona. The panelists discussed how they used technology to further their brands and passions. They also touched on their journey and some of the challenges associated with pursing ones passion.
Verizon has launched this engaging series initiative to showcase impact and dedication to the betterment of communities. Their goal is also to show communities how beneficial it is to pursue their passions both professionally and leisurely. Verizon seeks to bridge the communication gap between the company and the African-American community.
AllHipHop caught up with Melanie Fiona before her performance to discuss her new music, her taking a big break, what has yielded the biggest payout in her career and much more.
Talk to me about your newly released single.
It's called "Bite The Bullet". I'm super excited about it. I chose this song specifically because we were going into summer. It's been three years since I put out music; I wanted to come back with a bang. I wanted people to feel refreshed by the music I was putting out. It has a Caribbean vibe; I'm Caribbean so I wanted people to embrace and enjoy that side of my music and artistry. The song allows me to sing, but it has a soulful Reggae vibe and addresses the sacrifices that we sometimes have to make in love. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet; sometimes you are like I'm done playing with the loaded gun.
What made you take three years off? Why was this the moment to come back?
Well, when I put out 'The MF Life' in 2012 I toured with D'Angelo and Mary J. Blige and that was great. The fallback started for me in 2013. I wanted to start making a new album. Some changes were happening in that time with my label situation. It gave me the opportunity to be still and figure out where I wanted to take my life and career in its next phase. In that time I departed from my major label and was in the process of discovering where I wanted to do my next project. Now I've found a home, independently, at Primary Wave, which I'm so excited about. I've traveled and made amazing friends and relationships with people along the way. I found greater spirituality, strength of self, sensuality, confidence, vulnerability... I went through a lot come 2012.... a lot of highs and lows. I think I titled this new album 'Awake', fittingly because I feel like all of this led to my awakening... this rebirth and this evolution of my newest and best self. I needed to take the time to reset, refocus, and be good to myself. I think everyone needs to do this especially women because we give so much. I needed new inspiration to write new music. This is art not an assembly line.
What made you get involved with the Verizon 'Potential Of Us' campaign?
The beautiful thing about being independent is you can do whatever you want. Part of that means you can align yourself with great brands. Verizon is doing a great initiative with their "Potential Of Us' campaign. It's promoting diversity and multiculturalism, and showing the reach of not only artistry but fan base and technology. I was really pleased and honored to be a part of this. We are doing a 5 city tour. We've done L.A. and N.Y. We are doing Atlanta tonight Chicago and New Orleans. They are super successful shows. People enjoy the free shows, and I'm thankful for being on a great stage with a great brand reintroducing music. It's just a positive experience all around, and I'm only into doing positive things.
You've always been soulful which seems to be rare today. What made you stay true to your artistry in a time where so many, especially R&B singers, are conforming to what has been deemed "popular"?
I can't be anything that I'm not. My music encompasses many genres of music, but I only consider myself a vocalist. That is what I love; that is what I do. I sing. I'm good at it. I love it. That's what I want to give my fans. I want people to get used to accepting me for what I am. The vocal is just what I've always prided myself on.
What has yielded the biggest payout in your career?
Happiness. I love what I do. I'm blessed to do what I can do naturally. I was called to do it. I listened to my calling and followed through on it. It has taken me around the world. I met amazing people. I've affected people in a great way. It's been rewarding for me on an industry level and on a career level. Yeah, it's the happiness of doing what I love everyday and knowing that's the goal in life to do what you love everyday.