INTERVIEW: MONET MONICO

Thanks to my lovely connection with beE and Pop+Nation, I had the chance to interview an incredible young talent, Monet Monico, a singer/songwriter with so much potential, she bursts at the seams! She already cemented a sense of notoriety through online platforms like MySpace before taking over the big leagues on the MTV-sponsored performance competition show Starmaker, with the winner landing a record deal with Diddy's Bad Boy Records Imprint.

Monet ended up placing fifth in the competition in a double elimination with Omotayo Riley in early October (just after we submitted the questions for the interview), but remained a fan favorite throughout the competition. Not long after her televised elimination, she announced she had signed a management contract with the infamous and incredible Johnny Wright, who had a hand in managing the likes of Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake/*NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Jonas Brothers, Jessie James, One Call, and many others. Read on to get to know Monet as an artist, learn more about her experience on Starmaker, and her plans for taking over pop as we know it. :)

Many people are just beginning to discover you through MTV's "STARMAKER" competition series. However, it's clear you have been not just singing, but performing for a long time. When did you first begin performing?
I first began performing in church musicals when I was 3 years old! Then I moved up to city & state fairs. After that when I was 13 years old was my first BIG concert, opening for Jesse McCartney. I have been blessed to have been on 2 tours around the U.S. and finally P. Diddy's Starmaker ! :)

You are the youngest contestant on the show. Do you feel this gives you an advantage or a disadvantage?
I am the youngest, but definitely have a lot of experience as an artist! I feel I was treated equally by the judges on the show.

What's Diddy like in real life?
He's actually really nice! He can be intimidating at first, but I love Diddy! :)

Can you describe the preparation you go through for a performance each week on the show?
We would go to song selection, and right after we got our MP3 recorders back with the song and the lyrics I went right into the gym to rehearse. Rehearse, Rehearse, eat(lol), Rehearse, then Rehearse some more. There was NEVER enough rehearsing for me! We'd get our song the first day, then the next day we would go into rehearsal with the band and work it out with them. The day after that, we would most likely have a challenge so that took up pretty much our whole day. Next day: Rehearse with LaurieAnn Gibson, the choreographer and go over our moves. The day before the show, we would work with our vocal coach Romeo Johnson. The night before the show, me and a few of the other contestants had a ritual where we would go into the gym and perform in front of each other and critique each other, rehearsed until we basically passed out!!!! That was the preparation each week :)

What made you decide to pursue this new avenue via "Starmaker"? What was the audition process like?
One of my webmasters for my myspace, Traci, was contacted by a casting director on the show after seeing me do a live chat (justin.tv/monetofficial). They set up a time for me to come audition, and I got 2 callbacks in LA. They decided to fly me out to New York to audition for Diddy & Mark Burnett themselves... and the rest is history :)

Your online presence is quite striking, and we're particularly struck by your already ardent fan base and street teams. What's your opinion on online marketing as an independent artist (with a large potential to turn major artist!)?
Thank you so much!!! :) I feel online marketing is VERY VERY VERY important!!! As an artist, you have to be very smart if you want to have a large fanbase. Online is where everybody goes... facebook, myspace, twitter... it's ALL about that now. If you want to be popular and succeed immensely as an artist, you have to follow the latest trends and interact with your fans and do what they like to do!!! :) It's all about the fans for me!!! :)

You state you're strongly influenced by both vintage and modern pop/rock. If you could pick ONE classic rock song to revamp for 2009 with your style, what would it be?
WOW... you emphasize the word ONE ;) That's such a tough decision!!! But if I HAD to choose ONLY one.. it would have to be Janis Joplin "Piece of My Heart" I LOVE THAT SONG!

In the past, you opened for Jesse McCartney. Any fun tour stories?
Yes!! One time, in Buffalo, New York we got snowed in our hotel!!! It was an amazing experience!!! So much fun, unforgettable :)

Back in January, you got the chance to sing backup for the incredible Lady Gaga. What are your thoughts on her, and what was that experience like?
I absolutely love GaGa she is an amazing artist, so unique and it was an honor to work with her! That experience was amazing! I've always wanted to be on the Tonight Show! Hopefully next time it will be me out in front promoting my single :)

What is your writing process like for your songs? Do you come up with lyrics first and then melody, or melody first, etc.?
Ahh. I don't have a specific writing plan that I stick to every time, it's actually very random. Sometimes I'll write the lyrics first, or sometimes I'll be sitting at the piano playing a beautiful melody and then come up with the lyrics. Songwriting is a natural talent sent from the Big Man above, and it just comes to you like a burst of air. Literally, you know in cartoons when you see the lightbulb pop up on the top of their head? That is what songwriting is to me! LOL

Of you're original material, which song has the most meaning for you?
Not many people have heard this song, it's not out, I haven't publicized it on my myspace or anything but when I was 14 I wrote this song called "Nobody". It's about someone feeling lonely and like they are nobody and are hidden in the crowd. The song is telling everybody that thinks they're nobody that they ARE somebody. :)

As a young woman of just 18 years, how necessary do you feel it is to be a role model to young women? Is it something you consciously work at?
Absolutely. Me being a role model is something that I want to do. I want people to look up to me & want to be like me. I want young women to have that person that they can look up to so that they know that being nice and good is a cool thing to be.

If you could duet with any female singer, who would it be?
Gwen Stefani & No Doubt. I think our styles would compliment each other :) That would be a fun tour!

You clearly have a very interesting look and style. How much of your style is chosen by you -- and in the future would you be interested in working more in fashion?
My style is who I am!!! It represents ME! It's all me baby! Yesyesyes one of my biggest dreams is to have my own fashion line. Clothes, Jewelry, Shoes... the whole Shebang!

One of your first television appearances was in an episode of Disney's "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody". What was that experience like?
That experience was SO MUCH FUN! I got to sing one of my original songs on the show, it was so surreal and cool!

What's one random tidbit about your personality that most of your fans wouldn't already know?
That I LOVE to watch cartoons when I have nothing else to do! The Simpsons, Rocket Power, Family Guy, Spongebob you name it and it's on my TiVo !!!!

Looking ahead after "Starmaker", what are your plans?
My plans are to shoot for the stars and keep doing what I'm doing. Trust me, A LOT of good things are happening right now!! I can't really talk about them... shhhh... but trust me, you'll be one of the first to know! Keep in contact with me on myspace: www.myspace.com/monetofficial & twitter: twitter.com/monetmonico

No comments

Back to Top