Following in the footsteps of Whitney Houston, Sam Cooke, Bob Marley, Sade, and Lauryn Hill is something that Melanie Fiona has always admired throughout her career. In support of Black Music Month, the Canadian-bred Grammy Award-winner opened up to the Huffington Post exclusively on the five black music icons and how they have inspired her to embark on a recording career.

“I think each one of those artists brings something very unique to their story and what their story is and what their passion is,” the 28-year-old explained. “And I think that you know it stems from great song writing and great voices really. I just think that that's definitely what I'm inspired by. You know Sam Cooke and Whitney Houston I'd probably say are my two ultimate favorite favorites for voices. Bob Marley is just so...so powerful in showing that music can have a message and how that can effect and change the world. Sade; grace and class, beauty...you know, just amazing.”

“And then Lauryn Hill just for me, I just think that she's so versatile,” Fiona asserted. “I just think that you know that's something that I'm very much inspired by; to be able to do whatever I want to do. She gets acting, rapping, writing, singing, and you now to be able to be such a diverse artist is something that definitely inspires why I do what I do.”

In addition to Fiona’s candid interview she also performed five tracks off of her latest chart-topping album, “The MF Life.” Check out Melanie Fiona’s interview and performances in the exclusive clip above.

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