Monica is an R&B musical icon who will always be remembered for her star-power at a young age, soulful voice, and her catchy music that teenage girls and woman related to.
Monica Denise Arnold was born to her parents Marilyn Best and M.C. “Billy” Arnold Jr. on October 24, 1980 in Atlanta, Georgia. Her mother Marilyn worked for Delta Air Lines as a customer service representative and church singer while her father Billy worked as a mechanic. Monica grew up with her younger brother Montez and paternal half-brother Jermond Grant and her two maternal half-brothers Tron and Cypress. Monica had an interest in singing since the age of two, when she performed regularly at the Jones Hill Chapel United Methodist Church in her mother’s hometown– Newnan, Georgia. She performed in church as a young girl just as her mother did year before. In 1987, Monica’s parents divorced causing several problems in her life, but she continued to train in singing and as a result competed and won over 20 local singing competitions as a teen. Monica is related to the rapper Ludacris and producer Polow da Don as a result of her mother’s second marriage to Reverend Edward Best.
At ten years old, Monica became the youngest member of “Charles Thompson and the Majestics.”
1991: Monica was offered a record deal with Dallas Austin’s Artista Records- “Rowdy Records” in 1991, thus beginning her professional career at 11 years old. 1993: Monica later signed with the label in 1993 and went on to release her debut album “Miss Thang, ” which went triple platnium-certifited.
1996: She later signed with Clive Davis’ Artista Records in which she made “For You I Will” for the “Space Jam” soundtrack in 1996.
1998: Released the duet song “The Boy is Mine” with Brandy, which went on to be a great hit. Monica’s biggest selling album “The Boy Was Mine” was released later in the year.
2000: Monica made her debut role in film as Camille Livingston in the film “Love Song.”
2002: Monica’s third album “All Eyez on Me” was released
2003: Monica’s fourth album “After the Storm” was released and debuted at number one on BillBoard’s Top R&B/HipHop charts
2006: Monica’s fifth album ” The Makings of Me” was released with the number 1 single “Everytime Tha Beat Drop.”
2008: Monica appeared in the Peachtree Reality TV special “Monica: The Single.” Later she participated in the a reality show with BET called “Monica: Still Standing,” named after her own single “Still Standing.”
2009: Joined the cast of the film “Pastor Brown.”
2010 Monica released her sixth album called “Still Standing,” including her lead single “Everything to Me.” In addition Monica joined Trey Songz on his Passion Pain & Pleasure Tour.
2011: Monica joined “The Voice” as a musical adviser.
2012: Monica’s seventh album “New Life” was released. This was her first album release with RCA.
2013: Monica made an apperance on the soundtrack for the comedy-drama “The Best Man Holiday.”
2015: Monicas released her eighth album “Code Red” in which she went on her first solo tour called The Code Red Experience.
2016: Monica resigns with RCA after two decades of collaboration.
2018: Introduced her non-profit organization called “The Be Human Foundation.”
2019: Monica released “Commitment,” which was the first single released from her own record label “Mondeenise Music.”
2020: Participated in a ‘Verzuz’ battle between her and Brandy.
“I always tell people that the music industry may be frustrating sometimes, but the singing never gets old. It’s something I grew up doing, and I take the bitter with the sweet.” -Monica
Monica’s contemporaries include many other 90s female R&B artists including Brandy, Destiny’s Child, Aaliyah, Ashanti, SWV, and Xscape. Monica is probably most associated with Brandy who she created the hit song “The Boy is Mine” with. Fans suspect that the artists have developed a rivalry as a result of a conflict after a performance.
While Monica was a great component to 90s R&B, she hasn’t received many awards throughout her career. In 1998 Monica was awarded a Grammy for the ‘Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.’ Monica was also awarded the BET Her Centric Award in 2006.
Monica was greatly influenced by Whitney Houston. During the Atlanta Olympics of 1996, Monica and her family had an opportunity to see the woman she looked up to as an artist. Mary J. Blige has also been credited to inspire Monica.
In 2019, Monica launched her non-profit foundation called ‘BeHUMAN.’ The foundation’s focus on the unifying principle that everyone is human and therefore, deserves respect, love and compassion. BeHUMAN stands for “Be human, understanding, motivational, aware, and noble.” The BeHUMAN movement values partnerships that commit resources to assist the lives of communities worldwide. The foundation works to collaborate with experts and organizations working to create community-led solutions to promote solutions for humanity. Monica created the song “BeHUMAN” that allows others to purchase the song to donate to the foundation for humanitarian efforts.
Monica is a powerhouse R&B artists whose career peaked in the 90s, contributed to many of the great R&B hits that are popular today. While Monica was compared to many other female artists in her genre, it’s undeniable that her music was impactful to young adults who could relate to the music of the genre. Monica’s early start to her career as a young girl with a powerful voice made her standout as an artist during the time. In addition, Monica’s lyrics and vocal delivery made her the artist she is known as today because of relatability to the generation. Today, Monica is not known so much for her contemporary music but she is present on social media and television. Monica will always be remembered as an R&B legend.
-, Kylie. “Monica Biography.” Gossip Gist, Gossip Gist, 24 Aug. 2020, gossipgist.com/monica.
Anderson, Trevor. “Brandy Vs. Monica: Before The Verzuz Battle, Check Their Chart Battle.” Billboard, 31 Aug. 2020, www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/9442829/brandy-monica-chart-battle-history.
Encyclopedia of World Biography. “Monica Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography, www.notablebiographies.com/newsmakers2/2004-Ko-Pr/Monica.html.