- 11:40 AM, Feb 20
Melanie Fiona was born to Guyanese immigrant parents, raised in Toronto, and traveled all the way to Los Angeles, California for a shot at music industry. Melanie Fiona Hallim, born July 4, 1983, appreciated the circumstances she was brought up. "Growing up in Toronto, it's a very multicultural city, and my parents are first-generation immigrants to Canada," she said in an interview. "I got a really broad perspective, being raised in two different cultures, being in the traditional West Indian household and growing up in North America. I really had my eyes open to a lot of different things in life, and I always had a love for music."
Her father was a janitor before working in finance, and her mother worked in banking. But both her parents had a love for the music. "My dad played in a soul/reggae/calypso band on the weekends, and my mom just had a love for big-voiced singers, and that really influenced me to pursue music, because itís been a passion in my life since I was a young child," Fiona recalled.
She began writing her own songs at the age of 16 and began recording in Toronto while performing in local nightclubs. She then met her manager who helped her on "exploring my creative side with different types of producers and different genres". Melanie later went to Los Angeles in search of a recording contract. She nailed some auditions but she was cautious on how the labels wanted to change her into someone else.
Melanie was also once a reggae artist under the pseudonym Syren Hall. "I was doing music that was kind of reflective of my culture, it was like R&B and reggae influenced. So people just started calling me Syren after hearing me. It really caught on once the DJ's started using it," she said of the moniker. But she wanted to keep it real so she started using her own name.
Melanie was signed to SRC Records and Universal Motown in 2007. While recording for her first album, she made a trip to New York City to meet Jay-Z. The rapper liked her work and signed her under Roc Nation management. Her debut album "The Bridge" was released in June 2009 and sold more than 240,000 copies in the United States. It was the album's single "It Kills Me" that really brought the attention to her. The song entered the