One of Beyoncé’s backup singers is getting her own moment in the spotlight.
Montina Cooper is one of three singers in the world-renowned backup group, The Mamas, and has performed with Queen Bey for almost ten years. She’s also an unsung hero behind the scenes; it was Cooper who arranged “The National Anthem” as sung by Destiny’s Child at the 2006 All-Star Game as their last collective performance, and her vocal production has been featured on recordings like the motion picture soundtrack for Hitch and Kelly Rowland’s Ms. Kelly album.
Earlier this month, she released her debut solo project Closer, which spawned two singles, “You Saved Me” and the title track “Closer.”
“You Saved Me” is a vulnerable window into the realities of her life and a long, slow journey toward healing, a testament to Cooper’s success despite many trials and tribulations. She explains:
“I watched my father drive away from us when I was 12. He was addicted to drugs and took everything we had… that was the beginning of my battle with depression and food addiction. I went from a normal kid to being overweight and so depressed, and by the time I turned 18 I tried to end my life. I had taken so many pills and was lying on the couch, waiting, when my phone rang and it was my friend. She said I called her, but I hadn’t. We both thought the other one had called us. That phone call saved my life. She immediately knew something was wrong and called 911. Even at the hospital I barely survived… they didn’t think I would make it. But God saved me. It’s been a long road of wondering why I’m here and why God saw fit to take me out of a bad situation, but I want to share what I’ve been through. He saved me, and I need to do what I can to help others see their value, too.”
The title song “Closer” is a feel-good, mid-tempo groove about wanting to get intimate with a lover. Listening to Montina’s solo songs, you can tell how Cooper’s voice could mesh with Beyonce’s on stage and on record, and also how Cooper’s vocal arrangements compare to Bey’s as an influence.
Purchase Montina Cooper’s project Closer on iTunes HERE.