In Your Ear: Melanie Fiona

Canadian R&B artist Melanie Fiona tells us what musicians she's listening to. Lauren Hill and Sade are among those on her playlist.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And we wrap up today's program with a segment we call In Your Ear. That's where we ask some of our guests what they're listening to these day. We recently caught up with singer-songwriter Melanie Fiona, who told us about her debut album "The Bridge." Make sure to turn in next week for a fabulous performance chat with this up-and-coming singer. But in the meantime, the Canadian-born Fiona shared some of her musical inspirations.

Ms. MELANIE FIONA (Singer-songwriter): Hey, this is Melanie Fiona and I'm going to let you guys know what I'm listening to right now. I'm a big lover of real music, past, present, future, so I listen to some of my favorite classics which are current right now, as well as some of my favorites from back in the day. So right now, one of my favorite songs to listen to is the legendary, the beautiful, the talented, Sade. I'm enjoying listening to her entire album, "Soldier of Love" but specifically her single, "Soldier of Love," it was the breakthrough single after being gone.

(Soundbite of song, "Soldier of Love")

SADE (singer-songwriter): (Singing) I've lost the use of my heart. But I'm still alive. Still looking for the life, the endless pool on the other side. It's a wild wild west. I'm doing my best.

Ms. FIONA: I love the instrumentation of the song. I love the lyrics. I love the way it makes me feel. It is definitely, in essence, classic Sade.

(Soundbite of song, "Soldier of Love")

SADE: (Singing) I'm at the borderline of my faith. I'm at the hinterland of my devotion. In the frontline of this battle of mine, but I'm still alive.

Ms. FIONA: I'm just so happy that she's come back and brought back with her beautiful, classic Sade sound which is so unique and tailored to her.

Another one of my favorite songs to listen to and always go back to is "Lost Ones" by Lauryn Hill.

(Soundbite of song, "Lost Ones")

Ms. LAURYN HILL (Singer-songwriter) (Singing) It's funny how money change a situation. Miscommunication leads to complication. My emancipation don't fit your equation. I was on the humble, you on every station. Some one...

Ms. FIONA: This song, I just love how she flipped it and rapped and sang at the same time, just spinning real knowledge about life and recognizing the real people from the fake people in life. It's just got a great message. And Lauryn Hill was always so great at keeping it real.

(Soundbite of song, "Lost Ones")

Ms. HILL: (Singing) I know that you don't wanna hear my opinion. But there come many paths and you must choose one. And if you don't change then the rain soon come. You might win some but you just lost one.

Ms. FIONA: "Lost Ones" is definitely one of my favorite songs to go back and listen to.

(Soundbite of song, "Lost Ones")

Ms. HILL: (Singing) You might win some but you just lost one. You might win some but you just lost one. You might win some but you really lost one. You just lost one. It's so silly how come? When it's all done did you really gain from? What you done done, it's so silly how come?

Ms. FIONA: Another one of my favorite songs I would have to take it way, way, way back and I'd have to go to Sam Cooke with "Cupid."

(Soundbite of song, "Cupid")

Mr. SAM COOKE (Singer-songwriter): (Singing) Cupid draw back your bow and let your arrow go straight back to my lover's heart for me - for me.

Ms. FIONA: Sam Cooke is one of my favorite artists of all time. I mean, I really feel like he's the voice and the artist that inspired a lot of soul singers from Johnny Hathaway to Marvin Gaye.

(Soundbite of song, "Cupid")

Mr. SAM COOKE: (Singing) Now, I don't mean to bother you but I'm in distress. There's danger of me losing all of my happiness. For I love a girl who doesn't know I exist and this you can fix. So, cupid draw back you bow...

Ms. FIONA: I grew up listening to a lot of Sam Cooke in my house because my parents are big music lovers. So my dad was always his songs on the guitar, my mom was singing along. And "Cupid" is just one of my favorite songs. It reminds me of my childhood, so I hope you enjoy "Cupid" by Sam Cooke.

(Soundbite of song, "Cupid")

Mr. SAM COOKE: (Singing) Cupid please hear my cry and let your arrow fly...

MARTIN: That was singer-songwriter Melanie Fiona telling us what's playing in her ear.

(Soundbite of song, "Cupid")

Mr. SAM COOKE: (Singing) ...for me. Now, Cupid if your arrow make her love strong for me, I promise I will love her until eternity. I know between the two of us her heart we can steal, help me if you will. So, Cupid draw back your bow...

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. Im Michel Martin and youve been listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium. Lets talk more tomorrow.

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