Singer Melanie Fiona dishes on men, meat, thrifting & shoes
Two-time Grammy winner Melanie Fiona, 28, moved to Fort Greene in February. Her new album, "The MF Life" came out last month.
Q: What would you most like to see changed or accomplished in NYC?
A: Subway service has to be better on the weekends! They've got to step up those schedules and get more frequent trains on the weekends! I'd like to see better signs, too. Those posts on the platforms should have the stops for every train that's there. That would really help. If you asked me what I'd like to see changed for America, though, I would love to see true universal health care here. I'm from Toronto and I know the stress (universal health care) it took away from my parents when my brother and I got sick. Yeah, you pay higher taxes but you don't even notice it, and when you get sick you never have to worry, "can I afford this?" I have to pay on my own here, but I'd rather buy a $300 flight and go back to see all my specialists in Toronto.
Q: Are you taking the subways in those same skyscraper heels we see you wearing on stage?
A: Oh no! When I'm running around to the Duane Reade and on the subways, I'm in my kicks for sure. I'm in my high top black leather sneakers with white soles right now. The heels are only for stage. I keep it low key because you got to keep in moving in New York. You'd kill yourself wearing high heels in New York City! Whenever you see women in heels in the street, you look and see the back of their heels are all messed up.
Q: I hear you like thrift stores. What are your favorite haunts?
A: Cheap Jack's is great. I found the most amazing oversize shearling coat with these fake wood ivory buttons that looked like teeth what are they called? - toggles! -- for, like, $30 at this incredible store in Williamsburg on Metropolitan next to the White Castle (Atlantis Attic Used Clothing Warehouse).
Q: Is there anything you hate about New York?
A: I hate the garbage. I've jumped over lots of rats in my kicks. When I get home, it's shoes off. There are no shoes worn in my apartment. After walking through what we do in the streets of New York? No. And certainly not in the bathroom!
Q: What's your favorite part of New York?
A: It would have to be Times Square. As a foreigner, this is where you go. You stand in the middle with all the lights and the traffic and you think, "this is what it's all about." You just push the tourists out of the way to get to where you need to go. I'm not even from New York, but already I hate the tourists. I'm like a Ninja: I move! I'm in and out between the lanes of the sidewalk. But I'm Canadian so I still say "excuse me!" when I push them out of the way.
Q: What are your favorite haunts - do you have a hang out?
A: I like this little Middle Eastern family restaurant in Brooklyn called Zaytoon's. It's BYOB and they have a hookah. I like the hookah every now and again. And Sushi Samba in Manhattan. Meat takes so much energy to digest. I love to eat, but I can't afford that lethargic feeling when I've got to be going.
Q: What did you get for Beyonce and Jay-Z's baby?
A: What do you get a baby that has everything? I haven't seen the baby, but I'm thrilled for them. Being a woman in the industry, I know what it's like to want to have it all. (Beyonce) is doing it all, and I commend her for that.
Q: So you want to have it all. How are the New York men to you?
A: New York men are a-gress-ive! From the taxi driver to the garbage man, you get hollered at and whistled at and talked to in Spanish. They're more risque, but they're more fun. From going out for a meal to seeing a show, I'm an easy sell. Just take me somewhere I've never been before and I'm sold!
Q: What does being a New Yorker mean to you?
A: The energy of New York is so inspirational. It's an accelerant! You're so much more productive in NYC. I do my best work in NYC, because the energy here is so inspirational. I'm so energized and focused - really on my A-game. I've recorded all my albums in New York, and love it.