Derek Osei-Owusu interviews Monique B…
Congratulations on the release of “Revolving Doors”. Describe it in three words.
Thank you, in three words – enlightenment, positive, journey.
You’re a singer songwriter and producer originally from Wales. How did it all begin?
I’ve been doing music since I was about 14. It all started in my bedroom, I had a little setup using Cubase, and I used to send songs on MSN to all my friends. Eventually I started to record proper songs. I started working closely with Benji from Astroid Boys, then went on to join a band called Baby Queens — I joined them in 2013 and music elevated from there. I studied at the University of South Wales, got my Degree in popular music, then went on to study a masters in Songwriting. Since 2019 I’ve been working on my own material.
What did you listen to growing up?
I’ve been brought up on an array of different styles of music from Blues, soul, Reggae to Hiphop, funk and rare groove, I don’t think there’s a genre I haven’t vibed with.
You have been won funding and recognised by the BBC, how did that feel?
I feel blessed to be recognised as an artist of their choice, and it’s given me a good confidence boost to really get out there and get my music heard.
2020 has been a time to reflect. What have been the major lessons that you have learned in that time?
Just live your life, take risks, don’t focus on the negatives and what other people may think, especially when it comes to music. Just do what resonates with you, life is definitely way too short to be criticising your own art.
What kept you motivated?
Music and the message and joy it brings. Without music I wouldn’t be who I am today. I constantly feel inspired.
You are a producer, how does a typical session begin for you?
For me I don’t like to put too much pressure on myself, I let things flow in a session, if something connects I build on it.
What current artists are getting you excited at the moment?
I literally listen to so many artists, YEBBA is one of my favourites, Lucky Daye, Deyah — I vibe with Wizkid’s album. I listen to a lot of Afro beats and reggae, my favourite artist has to be Frank Ocean.
COVID impacted the creative industry in a big way what kept you motivated?
I just try to think of times ahead, but also music has kept me going and kept me positive throughout this tough time.
You are from Wales, what are your three favourite things about where you are from?
I love being able to go to the beach down at Barry Island or the Knap, it’s so peaceful being close to nature. I also love my city, it’s diverse, and people in Cardiff are really friendly. It’s nice to know we have a good support network down here especially when it comes to local music artists.
You are also a DJ, what song if you could play any to begin your set and get away with it would you play?
I never really plan my sets, it’s more about the day and what the vibe is. I like to switch it up, that’s the beauty of being a multi-genre DJ.
And what would your closing number be to send everyone home on a high?
It would have to be an inspiring track or a slow jam. I’d love to go with Cameo “Candy”, it gets the whole dance floor united, and leaves everyone on a high.
What are you looking forward to doing next?
Being able to drop more music, and when everything is open I’m definitely going to plan a mini tour and just generally perform.