Grammy winner Melanie Fiona played a free show tonight at Dundas Square as part of Toronto's L'Oreal Luminato Festival which celebrates culture and creativity. The Motown/Universal artist received a warm welcome from her hometown, performing a selection of material off her debut effort The Bridge, which has sold almost 250k copies in the U.S. to-date. A huge Lauryn Hill fan, she did a cover of her 1995 cover of Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly also, which had the audience raising their hands in the air. Her biggest hit It Kills Me, for which she won her first Grammy earlier this year in the category of Best R&B Vocal Performance, was reserved for late in the show where satisfied audience members could be heard saying "All I wanted to hear was this song!", as she soulfully plugged deep beneath its surface. She ended her set on an optimistic note, dedicating her last song to all the dreamers in the audience, as she is living proof that dreams do come true.
The 27 year-old Guyanese-Canadian singer-songwriter came from a humble start in the rougher part of town in Toronto, writing her first set of songs at the age of 16. She cites Whitney Houston and Mary J. Blige among her biggest influences. She got her big break when she was discovered by her biggest champion controversial rapper Kanye West and the rest is now Herstory. Humbly claiming that she is by no means a Diva, she paid homage during her set to some of her groundbreaking Canadian female artists like Canadian Idol judge Sass Jordan and Jully Black.
After her performance, I got to chat with Melanie Fiona quickly and it was refreshing seeing how down to earth she remains despite her success. She politely insisted on knowing my name and thanked me for coming out to catch her performance. Before heading off, she posed for a photo with me commenting, "all Digital Cameras need flip LED screens because you know I'll be putting photos up on Facebook!", to which we both giggled because we both know the art of Self-Photography well.
View some more photos from the show below:
(Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)