If you’ve ever heard the term “Get Your Life” but you weren’t sure what that meant or how exactly to do it, pay attention. Below Monica outlines a step by step guide for being the best version of yourself and how to take control of your personal legend. I’m not sure if Monica knows what a powerful impact that this interview will have on some of us, but then again she probably does because she is fully aware that she is living and walking in her purpose. She states, “Part of my purpose is to touch people and to let them know that they can get through because I got through…”
Last week Monica graced the stage of the Sound Board in Detroit to a sold out audience. Her energy and voice were like a breath of fresh air in this day of the not so talented artists being shoved into our eardrums ad nauseam. With the help of everyone in the crowd, she sang all of her hits and gave us a taste of music from her highly anticipated eighth studio album CODE RED. There was even a surprise marriage proposal that Monica spotted happening in the audience. She immediately stopped the show and invited the couple on stage so the husband-to-be could profess his love in front of the entire crowd. She said YES! Monica went on to give a stellar vocal and energetic performance, leaving everyone walking out with a smile. This was definitely one of the best shows Detroit has seen all year. It’s clear that the powerhouse vocalist is back in full effect. Monica states, “Each time I complete an album it’s a milestone that I in no way take lightly. CODE RED embodies my love for true music and an art form that has touched many over the years. As we move closer to its release, this cover speaks volumes as to how I feel. Empowered. Motivated. Dedicated. I’m fully immersed in this necessary movement for R&B Music. There’s no greater feeling than doing what you love with authenticity.”
One thing to know about a great entertainer is that you have to be one extremely brave soul to get the job done. To consistently get out there on a stage with a spotlight, crowds, amplification, cameras flashing every 5 seconds, knowing that you have to live up to the expectations of the masses, and bare your soul every night has to be one of the scariest things a person can face. In this interview Monica reminds us why she is a 20-year vet that still sells out shows on any given day, and how she’s managed to be something of a Superwoman as she blossomed into one of the music industry’s leading ladies. This is one of the strongest, bravest, most positive people that I have met in a long time. It was truly a pleasure to meet this beautiful spirit.
KP: This is a heavy tour schedule, a different city every night, how do you keep your energy up?
M: It’s like having a new born. You know how they tell you to sleep when they sleep? Whenever I’m not working, I know to rest. That’s something that I’ve learned. You haven’t seen me doing after-parties or a lot of different things because I’m thinking about vocal quality and resting, I’m thinking about coming in contact with people for the first time. You want your energy to be what you would want to feel when you come in contact with somebody that you like or love. So, I just make sure that in the off-time that I’m enjoying myself stress-free. I eat good, and I don’t mean good like healthy, I mean GOOD to my liking (laughs) I eat to my enjoyment. I think what you feel on the inside is instantly felt on the outside. I just keep my space clear and my energy right. I keep my kids around and just enjoy. If your energy is bad you can’t even work with us. We all go through different things but it’s important that when we come together that we keep those things outside so that every night we can give the people a good show and make sure that they enjoy themselves, because it’s people that are coming to these shows that are going through. The idea is to take that off of them. You can’t bring it to them and take it off of them at the same time, so that’s really my goal every night.
KP: How do you juggle being a wife, mother and entertainer without losing yourself in the mix?
M: I think it’s about making sure on the inside that I’m good. The older I get I love the fact that I’m kind of reverting back to the young person that you met. For example, Dallas (Austin) named my first album “Miss Thang” because he used to be like “Oh here she come, this girl don’t care what you think… she got her own mind” and I’m back to that. We live in such a judgmental angry, sometimes not so nice world. I’ve learned to move on my own terms all over again. As you get older you just naturally start to think more and sometimes you over think you over analyze and you let too many negative energies and spirits up in your space. Now I move on my own terms. I do what really makes me happy, and I think that authenticity keeps me connected to the audience and anything else I keep out, it’s unimportant. It takes a lot because you go out here and you work hard and then you look up and maybe you read something that’s not so nice when you know what your intent was. You have to learn that it comes with the territory and that it’s not a part of your purpose. Part of my purpose is to touch people and to let them know that they can get through because I got through all of these different things right in front of the public’s eye. So if that’s a part of my purpose then how do I let this other stuff steer me? So as I get older it’s just become kind of easy like *snaps fingers* I don’t’ even break a sweat. It’s like you move on your own terms and you do it with a peace that really does pass all understanding (Philippians 4:7.) It really does.
KP: Having 20yrs under your belt, what’s the greatest accomplishment career wise you’ve achieved thus far?
M: I would have to say just still being able to perform for people night after night. I mean to sell out shows at 35 when you started at 13 that’s a big accomplishment. Also, one of my greatest memories will always be “The Boy Is Mine” and winning the GRAMMY with Brandy. Us coming together we were able to do some things that we’d never done separately, so what it says to me is the idea of there being strength in numbers and the fact that we came together really did move some boundaries that we didn’t even expect. I was 16 she was 17 so that’s still one of my greatest memories.
KP: What advice would you give 14yr old Monica if you could now?
M: You know it’s so funny, because for me I would have to say it would be the opposite. 14 yr old Monica speaks to 35-year-old Monica reminding her to be her, be unafraid, be fearless, take chances, don’t look back. I think when I look back at my childhood what I love so much about it was that even though I was working, I was still living. I never let the music and trying to be an artist consume me. I always did my own thing, and in that of course I made mistakes but they made me who I am, in that of course I’ve loved the wrong person, but I’m now who I am because of it. So I would almost say my younger self speaks to me now, she prevents me from thinking too much or letting the political part and the business part take away the love that I have for the art of the music. That happens to almost all of us. If someone says that it doesn’t they’re not telling the truth. So I think my younger self speaks more to me now however, the one thing that I would tell me then is that “You don’t owe people anything but to love them.” I remember for the first half of my career I felt like I owed everybody a piece of what I was working for. I was just constantly giving-giving-giving when I could never even get sometimes not even a hug or support in return. So, I think that is the one thing that I would tell my younger self.
KP: What is something that you’d like to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
M: Hmm… I’ve done a lot of stuff, and I’ve done more than I’ve ever even dreamed of. I don’t have a bucket list. Now my husband has one, and it’s always crazy. He wants to dive out of an airplane and I’m probably going to be the photographer, I don’t think I’m going to be the jumper. I think success to me now I look at it so differently. I’m looking forward to seeing all of my children grown, like successful adults. When I say successful I mean doing what it is that they love. They don’t have to do what I do, or follow in my footsteps. If that’s what they choose I’m happy with that, if it’s not, I’m happy with that as well. When I think about success: being old, married 40 years, having adult children that I’m giving life lessons to, no longer working but just supporting them, going to their jobs, keeping their children, that’s really what I look forward to. The other stuff I did it my whole life. I didn’t get to experience proms and stuff like that, I was at work, so when I think about real success that’s the stuff I think about. When I look at my son I can already see him at 20, that’s how I view success.
KP: Lastly, what do you want your fans to know about CODE RED?
M: Code Red is an album that is fused with the R&B/Soul that we love, and a lot of the music that you currently hear now. I was very careful in doing that for a lot of different reasons because by no means am I trying to be what you hear now, I’m just a different version of the me that you got 20 years ago. And over the 20-year time span I wanted the music to feel fresh and I wanted the music to always have a message. I wanted it to always be sang from a really soulful important place. Like that place of emotion that you can feel when you hear songs like “Why I Love You So Much” but you may hear a different thing when you hear “Angel of Mine.” I meant them all, they all meant something to me. “Code Red” I named it that because I feel like R&B is in a bit of a state of emergency because it’s just not as respected as it used to be. It’s a genre of music that I feel that from the bottom of my heart shouldn’t be forgotten. Like I said on stage tonight, it’s the music that got us through heartbreaks, got us through tragedies, and it gets us through the happy moments too. Even if you hear a song that speaks to your experience right then, you connect with it and remember those times. I want to make timeless music and I feel like “Code Red” is timeless because I took my time and I didn’t think about anything other than the people that I make the music for and giving them my most authentic self in a transparent way. I’m ok with talking about being hurt, I’m ok taking about going through different things, I’m ok when I’m not ok which is saying that even in the music. So it connects to the everyday woman that’s just like me, that has children, I’ve been a single parent before I was married again. Everything that’s ever happened in my life I talked about it in a way that was really genuine on this record.
CODE RED, executive produced by Polow Da Don and Monica, is a jubilant return to form for the iconic star. The lead single, “Just Right for Me,” featuring Lil Wayne is an updated take on a Smokey Robinson and the Miracles classic (Much Better Off), and serves as a perfect introduction to the album and is a bridge between Monica’s love of classic soul music, 90’s R&B and the sound of today. Missy Elliott returns to Monica’s musical journey on the supremely matched title track, “Code Red.” The tempo driven, high energy, effervescent, and lyrically captivating record couldn’t be a more unexpected yet perfect union for these music icons whom are also true friends. Other special guests on the album include Timbaland and Akon. CODE RED, available for pre-sale on November 20 and in stores on December 18, 2015. Fans who pre-order CODE RED will receive an instant download of her current single “Just Right For Me” featuring Lil Wayne and the album’s title track, “Code Red.”
For more information and the latest on Monica and CODE RED, visit:
Twitter: @ Monicabrown
Instagram: @ Monicabrown
CODE RED pre-order links:
Google Play: http://smarturl.it/gCodeRed