“My album’s been ready since 2008 — over a year now — and although I’m not the first or the last artist to experience push-backs, it’s definitely a test to see who is in it for the long run,” Fiona tells Billboard.com, admitting she was nervous about losing momentum. “The type of music I make doesn’t fit the mold of pop or R&B, and sometimes it takes radio a bit longer to catch up. But now that the connection is there and things are coming together, I’m ready to release as many singles as we can.”
According to Fiona, the next single might be the very pertinent “Ay Yo,” with lyrics like, “I don’t do this for the glory, or for what people might say / I’m gonna do this my own way, starting today,” over horns and simplistic guitar strings.
As for the album itself, Fiona describes it as a set that “can bridge genres of music and eras of music — mix the old with the new and add something soulful to it. I wanted an album that would reflect who I am, how I was brought up and what influenced me musically and culturally.”
Tracks like the sassy first single, “Give It To Me Right,” which reached No. 57 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and the doo-wop-influenced second single “It Kills Me,” currently No. 50 and still climbing, are perfect examples of those eclectic influences.
Other songs on the album include “Bang, Bang,” with tambourines and hollow drums; “Teach Him,” which finds Fiona tenderly schooling her partner about love over flamenco guitars; and the Motown-inspired “You Stop My Heart,” which she claims as one of her personal favorites, among others. “Each song lives on its own — no one song sounds like the other,” she says.
In addition to the album’s singles, Fiona will release video performances called “Subway Series” on music websites, in which she collaborates with street performers in different parts of the world. “I wanted people to have something to anticipate the album and further understand the concept of ‘The Bridge’,” she says, revealing that she recorded sessions in New York, U.K and Canada to be released biweekly leading up the release of the album. “I was so inspired by these people and their international appeal that I wanted to collaborate with them and show people that music doesn’t have to stay in a box — it can be stripped down to a beat box or a steel pan.”
Currently, Fiona is on a stateside promotional tour, during which she is visiting colleges, radio stations and hosting local meet-and-greets. In coming weeks, she will perform a couple of dates with Raphael Saadiq and Ryan Leslie. After the release of the album, she either plans on going on her own headlining tour or hopefully join treks with Queen Latifah,Wyclef Jean or former touring partner Kanye West (who she supported on the European leg of the “Glow In The Dark” tour last year).
Fiona will also appear on fellow Roc Nation signee Wale‘s debut album, “Attention Deficit,” to be released on Nov. 3 on Allido/Interscope (Fiona is managed by Roc Nation). And to keep the music coming, she is already planning the release of a sophomore album next year.
I didn’t know she was on Roc Nation! Very good!