Monica discusses the path to launching her independent label, MonDeenise Music

Cynthia Brown

Grammy-winning vocalist Monica was 14 years old when she released her 1995 debut album, Miss Thang. She says she never predicted it would be as successful as it was, earning the #7 spot on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

“The greatest part of my first album is that I wasn’t expecting anything,” Monica admits during a recent interview with Billboard“When you’re that young, it allows you to focus on what’s most important. I made sure that when I sang, I sang with my soul.”

Monica continues, “You can hear it in Miss Thang, [2006’s] The Makings of Me and [2003’s] ‘So Gone.’ I wanted it to touch people’s souls. I think when something is authentic, people can feel it.”

Monica parted ways with her former label, RCA Records, in 2016. Now, the 40-year-old singer is preparing to release her ninth studio album, Trenches, under her independent label, MonDeenise Music. 

“This happened on its own,” says Monica. “My deal came to an end, but throughout the process of being on a label, you learn a lot about them, and it becomes a lot easier for you to step into that type of arena and feel comfortable. It’s a very expensive thing to do, but it’s extremely rewarding because I know what’s happening in every area.”

When asked who she’d like to collaborate with in the future, Monica replies, “Mary J. Blige is the first person that comes to mind.”

“Simply because our friendship is next level,” says Monica. “She tells the truth in her music. She’s OK with who she is. She is definitely one of the people that paved the way for me to be able to speak and live in my truth.”

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