It's all new everything for soulful songbird Melanie Fiona.
For, after acquiring critical acclaim with major label efforts 'The Bridge' and 'The MF Life' (released in 2009 and 2012 respectively), the Canadian bred talent has departed Universal Music – the juggernaut that houses the label she'd been signed to, Universal Republic.
The 30-year-old made the revelation during a recent interview with Billboard, who she spoke at length with about her next move – which interestingly involves Pepsi and Urban force Complex.
Full story after the jump…
'4 AM' singer Fiona confirmed to Billboard that she severed ties with the label amicably earlier this year and that the video for latest single 'Cold Piece' was funded as part of a innovative partnership between herself, Pepsi, and Complex.
Speaking on the interesting triangulation, she said:
“I’m at a place where I can make music very creatively free, and working with Pepsi was just very easy. With labels, there’s a whole plan and everybody’s talking about all these different things at once. But with Pepsi and Complex, it was just, ‘here’s some of our ideas, what are yours, and we’ll see you on the day of the shoot.’ It was very relaxed and wasn’t stressful at all. And to know that they wanted to create a visual for it was so cool – I wouldn’t have had my own ice cream truck with my name on it had I done this myself! It’s like, wild.”
Elaborating, Pepsi’s director of cultural branding, music and entertainment, Bozoma Saint John, said it “made sense” to work with Fiona again (she recently opened for Beyonce's Pepsi-sponsored 'Mrs Carter Show') because “that would allow us to share her talent with a greater number of fans. Collaborating with her on a music video that will be shared with fans globally via Pepsi Pulse is the perfect way to do that. When we heard that she was releasing new music, we wanted to cover her process via Pepsi Pulse, which as become an editorial hub for all things happening in music now.”
On Pepsi's broader interest in the musical sphere, Saint John added added:
“(We want to be a) conduit for great music experiences for consumers. The experiences can be live concerts or through content, music downloads, and more. Artists are always trying to find new and interesting methods to connect with fans in a meaningful way, and get their music out. And playing in this space is a very natural fit for Pepsi, given the brand’s stronghold in the music, entertainment pop-culture space and numerous entertainment partnerships.”
As for Fiona, she is currently hard at work on her third studio album. The context in which it will be released will be uber interesting to see.
Now, this is what we like to see! Smart brand partnerships that really drive home the potential embedded in going the “indie route”.
Of course, independent isn't at all easy (just ask Ashanti), yet when executed in clever ways such as this, facilitates exciting new avenues for acts otherwise lost in the shuffle of the major label “race”.
The musical landscape really is changing.
One need not look further than projects such as this or Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound – which is quite literally providing a label-like service for indie and country acts such as MNDR, Holy Ghost, MNDR, Brantley Gilbert and, Matt & Kim.
That said, it's imperative to not underplay the arsenal major labels still possess. Indeed, for all the coins corporations can pump into innovative campaigns such as this, it's next to impossible to compete with the pull the “majors” have in the way of radio relationships, hit producers, and all-round know-how.
Still, following in the footsteps of Jay-Z (who coincidently heads up her management company Roc Nation), it's great to see Fiona helping to write the 'New Rules'.