Monica: The Underdog

R&B singer Monica has been apart of our music landscape for a decade and a half and she is Still Standing strong. Dubbing her self the Underdog, Monica has been through more test and trials than people twice her age. Always the one to look forward, Monica is in a place where she feels gracious, while making the music that brought her into our households. Get to know why Monica will be around for decades to come…

Singersroom: Are you excited about the new project?

Monica: I am. I am looking forward for people to be able to hear some of the things I have worked on. I take my music very seriously in the sense that I feel like it gives me an opportunity to speak directly to the people. I can’t wait to the 23rd to get a chance to hear how people feel about the music.

Singersroom: Speaking of the music, people really miss R&B and the sound that you are bringing back is something that’s filling people’s appetite, how do feel about that?

Monica: I’m just excited about the fact that it has come back to that. I’m excited about the fact that you have people who are eleven and twelve who are telling me “I love your song.” I love it. Then when I mention to them [that it is] Denise Williams music playing in the background and it was from 1983. It is amazing to see their reaction. I’m very excited about the fact that people are really opening the door again for R&B to be what it was when we originally stepped out into the scene which was 1995. I’m excited about the idea of it all going back to that place because we were in a great place in music at that time.

Singersroom: I heard you mention on Twitter that you are given people what they have been asking for. On the other side of things, do you get frustrated when what the music fans want does not reach them due to politics?

Monica: Well that is always going to be hard. It is no different than when you look at the government or any office building, [you] can see politics are going to play some part at some point and it is the same way in the music business. You have people in high places that make decisions that sometimes they shouldn’t but I have been very luck this go around. My label has been 350% supportive and we did not put anything out until we really got it right.

Singersroom: What is your personal motivation for recording this album besides bringing back that sound?

Monica: I think that people right now are in a slightly hostile place. When you are out and about people are quick to say something negative than they are positive. My whole driving force behind this album is to bring back that loving feeling and unity. That is why I titled it ‘Still Standing’ because is it about being victorious and making it through all your test and trials and knowing if you believe you can overcome. I am hoping that when people hear this CD, even though I have songs about love and heartbreak and different things of that nature, it is solely based around strength and being able make it and survive.

Singersroom: What was your favorite record on the album?

Monica: I really don’t have a favorite record on the album. I was really partial to “Everything To Me,” so I was ecstatic when we came to a decision that this is the first single. Then I would have to say a song called “Mirrors” that Jim Jonsin produced. It is about being able to look in the mirror and be satisfied; not even just satisfied but happy with what you see and who you are and what you have become and understanding if you have not reached all your goals yet then there is still tomorrow.

Singersroom: You have been giving positive energy on this album and throughout your career. What advice can you give woman besides your music to help motivate them?

Monica: My idea is continue to run the race, don’t look back; that will slow you down. Look straight ahead and stay focused. That is an everyday battle even for me. It is just like in my song “Still Standing,” ‘I Been up against the ropes, everything you going through I’ve been there before.’ That is just saying I am just like you. There is no person that exist [whether] rich, black, white, poor, whatever that will not experience some hardships. So keep your eye on the prize and stay focused. I say that subliminally sometimes, I say it directly sometimes but that is the message I want them to get from it.

Singersroom: Your career has spanned over a decade, do you feel that you have receive the proper recognition for the work you have created?

Monica: I honestly feel like that is not a decision for me to make; that is by God’s design. I never think about it that way. I had a lot of great people talk to me in the early stages of my career and I never got caught up on that. I remember Patti Labelle telling me the “underdog is usually on top” because that is who the people connect with. I always felt like I got what I deserved because I always had the love of the people. When you have the love of the people you can make albums for years and years to come. I rather that then have one album sell ten million then I’m losing my mind because I don’t know what to do once that is over. I look at my music as not being for the moment; I look at it being for a lifetime. I speak for a whole generation of people.

Singersroom: If you weren’t doing music at this point what would you be doing?

Monica: I would be a beautician or a homicide detective. I know it is weird but that is what it is.

Singersroom: That is not weird. You graduated high school with a 4.00 GPA, right?

Monica: I did. I was the valedictorian and I sang. I was fortunate enough to be able to do the whole graduate thing. I had been home school for so long because I was working from the age of twelve. I can definitely see myself being a homicide detect. I get so into the first forty-eight it is ridiculous. —— By: Interview By Gary Gentles


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