MiddleChild: We got the #1 single and #1 album! How does it feel to know that there were people counting you out and said it couldn't be done? There is obviously more love and positivity coming your way than the negative. So how does that feel?
Monica: I think that it comes with the territory. I think if everybody was in a good mood and was motivating you to do your best and doing nice things for you that it probably wouldn't even feel right. I think that it motivates more to see people being so negative. It pushes me to keep the positive attitude that I have and it keeps the positive work environment that I have and it keeps the positive outlook that I have.
MiddleChild: I know you get a lot of that positive energy from the family because just from being around you all I can see it and I feel it. It's such a great feeling because it reminds me of my family too. Just because you have the albums out and are on the radio, you're still Monica.
Monica: You some people assumed the way the family was is just for TV and as you can see just from being around that it's like that all the time. My family comes from a small place called Newnan, Georgia and that's a place where family is all that people have. We don't care about money and I never got in the music business with the idea of making money. I was eleven years old when I did the talent show that changed my life. So I think once people really recognize that I am who I say I am, I feel no need to put on because we're all different by design and I think that God makes us all the way he wants us to be. And that is just how my family is and I think that the more people see that and the more they become comfortable with that they will allow me to come into their homes whether it's through television or music because I am not selling them any one thing in particular. I'm just being who I am.
MiddleChild: I feel you. And one thing I will say is that I think the television show did do was gave people a glimpse at who you are because before the show we heard a lot of "Monica's a hoodrat", "Monica is garbage" or "Monica is trash" simply because of your friends, the tattoos or maybe the way you decided to wear your hair one day. People look at the package and want to label you even though they don't or didn't know you.
Monica: Well it still amazes me that people still judge a book by it's cover because let me be clear. My mother came from the country and came to the surburbs up here in the city when her and father divorced. My father lived in the hood and all of his family was in the hood and it was an area that I love and spent a lot of time, you know Zone 3 and all of that area, Cleveland Avenue, Brandywine... so during the week I was going to private school, wearing a uniform and during the weekends and the entire summer I would see something totally different. I am grateful for those experiences because it allows me to be able to adapt to any environment and I think that's important to all people. And I think that people are very unfair with how they judge a black woman. If you look at P!NK, we have a lot of large tattoos. She's a person that I'm a very big fan of, but if you look at P!NK and you look at her tattoos or her wearing her hair different colors you'll call her a rock star. Look at me and you automatically call me ghetto and I'm not offended either way because I feel when you're pointing a finger at me, like the old saying goes, there are four more pointing back at you. So if you take the time to look at yourself as deeply as you look at me then you may find some things that can be done better with yourself instead of judging others. But I find it very strange in this day and time that people still judge others by their outer appearance. I'm very happy with all of my tattoos and every color hair that I've chosen I liked. That's who it was for... for me. And I would suggest to anyone else to live their lives for themselves and not for others.
MiddleChild: Which is another reason I am so in love with your song "All I Know". The album has NOT left the player since I got it. The "All I Know" track that Kendrick and Torica did with you is awesome. If there was any question or doubt about anything, people can put that song on and have at it. This is for you! (laughs) I love it!
Monica: Oh my God! I absolutely love... love love "All I Know Is Me". And the reason being is that I think for me that I never thought I was any better than anybody else. I just always realized that there was this direct connection between myself and the fans and that is at some point in my life I was exactly where they are with starting my career so young. So "All I Know Is Me" is a song where when I heard it I didn't even let it play all the way to the end before I started recording it. It's just one of the songs that tell exactly how I felt without being nasty in any way.
MiddleChild: Definitely. I have to ask which song was the most vocally challenging for you to complete because you are clearly singing... or sanging.. on every record on the album! For someone like myself who has been with you since you surfaced and then get to this point and hear this album even I was amazed. I have heard every record you have ever released and then some so you know I ain't lying about that.
Monica: You know what RoJay? This album is more like the first in the singing department and the reason being is I shut out a lot of the people that were telling me what's relevant and what's current or how music goes now. I basically allowed people to come in that were reminding me of who I was an artist and that were reminding me that your voice is what connects with people's emotions and don't forget about that. So I had to be very strategic with the type of people that I worked with in order to create this type of album that was really R&B and Soul based. That soul part of it comes from the fact that I sang Gospel music growing up.
MiddleChild: I clearly have my favorites of course. Definitely "Here I Am". That song is so sexy to me. It's something about that one. You remember I was joking with you about pole dancing to that one in the video if we get one for it. (both laugh) I really love "Love All Over Me" and "Believing In Me"...
Monica: Me too. (laughs)
MiddleChild: You know what? Every song can be some type of anthem. Seriously. I am very proud of you honestly. This album... I think that the fact that every song is so strong, many people got over the fact that there are only ten tracks. You know that was the main complaint for a minute.
Monica: Yea. And you know people blame me for things that are out of my control. You know I'm signed to a major label and I'm not a rapper so I'm not going to sit around and pretend that I run this whole ship. There is a very creative part of it all that I do control, but there is a numbers part of it that is out of my control. I'll address something else also. People will ask me why I only sang for fifteen minutes at a particular show. When promoters hire me, they put in the contract how long they want me and if people are not satisfied with the length of a show they blame me. If people are not satusfied with the length of the CD, they blame me. If people can't find the album in stores, they blame me. And these are the things that artists don't control and I humbly accept that some of the people at home might not know that, but I just try and make them aware that if they make me aware I can more than likely go to the proper people and get things handled.
MiddleChild: Oh I get it too! I can't even begin to tell you how many questions a day I get regarding you and all the projects you have taken on. Like even before I became a part of the family, so I understand. Like I have to be on my game because your fans do not let me half step! I can't come slippin' when it comes to you. (both laugh)
Monica: And thank you and the site and even everybody on twitter because that plays a major part. We came in #1 R&B and #2 Pop and trust me, #2 on the Pop Charts do not make me feel like we're second best. We fought an extremely good fight in selling an amount of records that people in this day and age can not sell. There are some really huge personalities that people just assume are selling millions and millions of records and that's just not how it is. It's unfortunate, but the way things are structured now people don't sell a lot of records. So it's really a tremendous blessing. It's been a long time since I was brought to tears about something that was music oriented, but that's exactly what happened when I got up this morning. I was thanking God and a lot of other things that are beyond my control may make me feel a certain way on certain days, but a lot of the positive things that are happening put a smile on my face.
MiddleChild: It's definitely showing. The hard work and all of that. Like you said on the show that you don't mind going to some of these spots that a lot of artists just don't go. You have done a great job reconnecting with your fan base because everyone can't travel to see Beyonce or Alicia Keys and Jay Z. The fact that you actually go to their area played a big part in it too. So shout out to you on that.
Monica: (laughs) And let me say too, don't ever worry about me. I get a lot of messages from people asking me "How are you? I'm worried." Personally and professionally, I'm okay. I know that God is really the person that controls it all and I don't think about anything negative on a daily basis if I can help it. You know I'm still a human being, so I don't wanna hear bad things about the father of my kids, about my music, about me or even about my past. Because one thing people have a tendacy to do is not allow you to let go of who you used to be. I'm too focused on the here and now to worry about the things before. We've all made mistakes, it's just that I don't get the privilage of making them in private. So it's a big difference and even when it comes to Rodney, we're so focused on raising our kids and rebuilding our friendship so that the things that need to be done for the kids aren't ever lacking and we can't sit around and think about the other stuff. And I don't believe in going from loving someone to hating someone. That's just not possible for me. So when people ask me weird things like "Why do you always have something positive to say?" because I know kids that don't even have a father that do any and everything to make sure that they are okay. So there are certain things that I respect about him and that will never change.
MiddleChild: I see.
Monica: So there are a lot of things that I am working through everyday and I meet a lot of great people in the process like yourself. Like Adrian... I met him through twitter. He sends me all types of things that have helped to rebuild some things in the style department. I mean it's just been some really great things that have happened through it all.
MiddleChild: And I would like to say also, even though I wasn't going to bring it up, that a lot of your fans take on who you take on. Whether it be Ciara or Keyshia and even Rocko. And once something happens like that, they wanna turn on them or be evil toward them and even though I don't know the full situation because that is between the two of you. But from the times I have been around Rocko and from what I know of him I never trash talk him. I don't get on these messageboards and blogs and talk bad about him either because in a sense I am one of the people your fans look to sometimes and if they see me being a certain way toward him, some of them are likely to do the same.
Monica: Yea. I trully appreciate it because if you take a look around the devil is busy everywhere and he works on the people we love. Sometimes you have to pray and uplift instead of continue to tear down. I don't know what he goes through on a daily basis and I'm sure it's probably not easy because it's not easy for me, so I don't believe in harboring things and I believe that we all are going to be asking for forgiveness at some point, so who are we not to give it? I look at life as something you can't prepare for. What happens.. you can't prepare for. I can say that we're in a really good space making sure that the boys have everything that they need from the both of us and I'm learning as I go. This year is my big 3-0, so you know the growth is mandatory on my part. I want the kids to see that in their mom and I want other little girls are home that are watching to see that as well. That's one thing I do love about my relationship with Keyshia and the few people that I do really really deal with in the music industry. At this particular point and time I will say that the two people that have really supported me the most have been my cousins Chris (Ludacris) and Polow. The two of them have been more supportive than I've ever imagined.
MiddleChild: That's big. I love Ludacris. I saw Polow's mom at the signing the other day also.
Monica: Polow and I are actually working on a musical venture that I will explain more about as we finish the paper work. I think it's going to be really incredible to have someone like him really step up and do what Dallas did for the first two albums which is go in and fight for me. Assisting Melinda and go in and fight for me for the things that are necessary for me career wise when I'm out here trying to handle the creative part because it does become hard trying to juggle both. I'm in the label meetings fighting. I'm at the shows when promoters don't handle something right, fighting. I'm everywhere fighting, but my goal is to be a part of the music and the love that the music brings. So it's going to be really good what Polow and I are about to do. We are about to start figuring some things out on tomorrow. We're probably going to go to the Lakers game and them go somewhere and really hash some things out and make it all work. I think it's going to be a really good joint venture between the two of us, not just because we're related but because he knows what it is that I need and I can convey to him and him and Melinda can unify and go fight for it.
MiddleChild: Well I can't wait to see and hear that. What song do you think you're going to enjoy performing the most from "Still Standing"?
Monica: Oooh that's a hard one. I can't wait to perform "Here I Am" and "Love All Over Me" from the new record. I never ever get tired of performing "Why I Love You So Much" and "Still Standing". It also varies based on my emotions. You can understand what I'm saying when I say that. If I'm having one of those rough days sometimes when I sing "Still Standing" it's like I'm talking to myself and it will remind me that I'm a fighter and there is no need to feel like I have been a victim of anything in my life because I'm too busy trying to be victorious. I don't want to get in my own way ever. So sometimes I sing it to myself and what my favorite song is will vary from night to night.
MiddleChild: Well we can't wait to see you on the road. The fans have been hitting me up and asking when you're coming and I done let them know plenty of times that you're on your way....
MiddleChild: That we're setting it up and that we're going to get you out there because we have to continue pushing these songs and these sales. Like I said this album is working and I know people who download albums by the day and by the week and they actually went out and bought the album! They send me pictures and everything. So they going out there for it.
Monica: (laughs) I really appreciate that and I'm going to tell you about one of my favorite things about this album is that when I open it up and I look at the pictures inside of the jacket, it symbolizes what's most important to me. It really really does. I remember telling my mom, I said "Mom, RoJay is saying you need to be in this booklet". She was just laughing and was like "Oh really?" The one thing about my family is that nobody wants to be a celebrity so everyone is just supporting me and being there for me and she actually flew up that morning with really no notice. And I was like "Mom, I got you a stylist. Mylah is going to do your make-up. Your hair is gonna get done... if you just agree to come." And she didn't even hesitate at all. She got on the plane instantly and came to New York for the shoot. And Derek Blanks actually shot the boys for me later because Romelo had just been released from the hospital with pnuemonia about four days before the shoot and I just didn't feel comfortable doing album packaging without my children in it and I dedicated my album to them for that reason as well.
MiddleChild: We love the pictures and I tell you once I opened the booklet I was like "There they go!" (both laugh) I promise it holds something special for the fans. At first I thought it was just me but I came to realize all of your fans love to see you and Mama Marilyn together. We actually felt like something was missing when she wasn't in the booklet for "The Makings Of Me", so it's a good look. I even had to tell her that last week. She thought it was funny that I said so, but I was very happy to see her and the boys in the packaging.
Monica: (laughs) She's real shy. My mother is very very very shy. She will laugh and disappear so quickly.
MiddleChild: I can kind of see that. But we love her so much just as well. And I want to thank you for hooking me up with this interview on your off day. I know you doing the family thing, but I just didn't feel right relaunching without you as a feature.
Monica: Oh no. You know we love you over here and tell everybody over at MonicaSoul I said "Thank You". Thank you for just being there and just ignore whatever negative feed that people put on my name. You just ignore it and keep pushing. It happens to everybody. It can happen in the work place. It can happen with a celebrity or it can be someone at your local grocery store. It's something that you battle with all around. Don't let other people determine where your feet will take you. You do that on your own.
MiddleChild: I definitely will. If there is anything I am learning from you is to be more positive anyway. I'm usually a laid back type person anyway, but I have been so drama free for the past year or so I can't even tell you.
Monica: Yes! And don't you feel better when you wake up? Don't wake up mad.
MiddleChild: I have a different take on things and I just do me and I can credit you for that too.
Monica: Well that's what I'm talking bout! I have a great day! I have a positive day with God and family alone. Everyday. And there is nothing else to be said once you wake up and say that. Nobody can make you mad... not for too long anyway once you wake up and say that.
MiddleChild: I feel that! Well tell the boys Rocko and Romelo hey for me and I will see yall soon.
Monica: I will. Once I finish my dinner we'll be in the bed and I'll be back on the road by Friday, but I will call you with the updates when me and Polow finish with our whole agreement and explain further what it is. So until then...
MiddleChild: That's what it is. Have a good evening Ms. Monica.
Monica: I will. Call me if you need me okay?
Monica: Alright babe. Bye
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