Who Is Monica? Get To Know The R&B Icon

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Monica (Monica Denise Brown) attends the 2019 MTV Video
PRUDENTIAL CENTER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES - 2019/08/26: Monica (Monica Denise Brown) attends the 2019 MTV Video Music Video Awards held at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Efren Landaos/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
With a country music album on the way, Monica’s ready to truly show off her versatility.

Monica Denise Arnold, simply referred to as Monica, is R&B royalty. With a career spanning over three decades, she’s become ingrained in any conversation surrounding the genre. As a singer, Monica’s earned several number-one albums and has a host of iconic chart-topping songs to her name. She has also received numerous accolades for her music.

Besides her career as an R&B singer, Monica has delved into many other music genres. She has made a successful transition into country music and is expected to release her first country album soon. Her most memorable hits include: “Angel of Mine,” So Gone,” “Before You Walk Out Out of My Life,” and of course, her Grammy-winning duet with Brandy, “The Boy Is Mine”. She’s also appeared on screen a few times, with roles in the television shows, Living Single, and Felicity, to the movie, Almost Christmas

Early Days

Monica was always destined to be a singer. At the age of 2, she was already performing at church in her native Georgia. By the time she was 10, she was traveling around the country performing with a gospel choir. A year later, popular record producer Dallas Austin discovered her in Atlanta. Monica has always been vocal about Whitney Houston being her biggest musical influence, so it was no surprise that she was singing “Greatest Love Of All” when Austin offered her a record deal with Rowdy Records. 

Monica’s Ascent to Fame

Her partnership with Austin would prove a game changer for the young artist. Monica’s debut album Miss Thang, was released when she was just 14 years old. Miss Thang enjoyed a steady sales rise, eventually going on to sell over three million units. Monica went on to win a Billboard Music Award for her work on the album. 

In 1998, Monica attained her first-ever chart-topper on the Billboard Hot 100 with “The Boy Is Mine.” The single, which stayed atop the chart for 13 weeks, was a collaboration with fellow R&B star Brandy. Part of the success of “The Boy Is Mine” was fueled by rumors of a feud between the two singers, who debuted around the same time. Monica’s album of the same name eventually became the highest-selling album of the singer’s career. Today, both the single and the album are now staples in Monica’s illustrious catalog. 

With 8 studio albums to her name, Monica remains one of the most hardworking R&B artists around. She has collaborated with a number of notable names, enlisting some of Hip Hop and R&B’s finest artists. In the same vein, she has featured on tracks by many, from Nas and Jermaine Dupri, to Trina, and gospel singer, James Fortune. 

Album No. 9 and Versuz

Monica’s upcoming ninth album, Trenches, has been in the works for a couple of years. The title track, which featured Lil Baby, was released to coincide with her appearance on the popular music battle series, Versuz. After multiple years of alleged beef, Monica and Brandy made headlines after being tapped to appear in the famous webcast, Versuz. The episode took place at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, and garnered over 1.4 million views, becoming one of the most watched episodes. 

She has stated that her upcoming album Trenches, is all about her personal experiences and the “things that happen in life.” On utilizing her imperfections and transforming them into music, she told ET, “'I've always felt that if [the music] is true to what you really feel then you can make other people feel it. How can I make you believe it if I don't and if I haven't been there? How can I speak on it? I always make sure that the music embodies the truth of where I’ve been."

Shift to Country Music

Over the years, Monica’s become notable for her ability to accommodate multiple genres. She has achieved success in R&B, Pop, Hip Hop, and gospel. Now, fans can expect a country music album from the singer. Monica revealed that country music is so dear to her heart, having grown up on the genre. She also credits her stepfather for taking her to the amusement park, Dollywood, which in turn, led to her love for Dolly Parton. 

Her upcoming country album is titled Open Roads, and she’s received major support from several country music stars. She is also working with big names in the genre, such as Brandi Carlile and Sean McConnell, as well as country rap star, Breland. At the 2022 CMT Music Awards, Monica performed the song “Pray” live with singer Jimmie Allen and the musical group, Little Big Town. 

Personal Life

Monica is a loud and proud mom, often publicly showering her kids with love on social media. She has two sons and a daughter. Her sons, Rodney and Romelo were born in 2005 and 2008 respectively during her relationship with rapper Rodney “Rocko” Hill. She was married to former NBA player Shannon Brown from 2010 until 2019. Together, the pair share a daughter, Laiyah. 

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About The Author
Demilade Phillips has been a Features Writer for HotNewHipHop since 2023. The self-proclaimed music fanatic deals with most things Hip Hop and RnB, while also covering film, television, and the entertainment industry at large. When he’s not working, the International Relations graduate is either binging anime, immersing himself in the underground EDM scene, or crafting up original pieces.
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