THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
24th April, 2019 0
Similar to a precious diamond, chanteuse Monique Ella Rose is rare, genuine, and sparkles with indestructible determination. Collecting her 4th straight year of honors at the 2019 Review Music Awards as Female Jazz Vocalist and adding awards as Best Jazz Songwriter and Female Jazz Vocalist to her resume, the past year has witnessed impressive achievements for this remarkable Saginaw-based singer, songwriter, producer, and arranger.
In addition to releasing a nine-song set of Rose originals entitled Such Is Life that worked the seams between R&B and Jazz, the range of her talents displayed upon that release garnered attention and airplay all the way from the Bay Area of California to the United Kingdom; yet inexplicably, one cannot hear her work on local radio stations such as 107.5.
Vocally, Monique’s voice is the focal point on both her recordings and live performances. Her range is obvious and impressive. Her use of melisma, or the nuance of singing a grouping of notes across only one syllable, indicates a vocal dexterity that requires both natural talent and the dedication to develop it. It’s a sophisticated skill.
She released her first single, ‘Move On’, in 2014 and her second single, ‘Hustle & Grind’, later that year on her label, Soul Blend. Her impeccable talent has earned her openings gigs for artists such as Anthony Hamilton, Chrisette Michelle, Freddie Jackson, and even the late Dr. Maya Angelou. Indeed, when Monique sings you are taken on a passionate ride that leaves you wanting more. “Rather than being placed in any genre, I consider my music to be my life music, which means it may come out sounding like funk one moment, classic R&B the next, or even gospel. I write and sing what I feel.”
Born in Saginaw her family moved down to Detroit when Monique was around 3-years old and she moved back to Saginaw in 1998. With her father being an artist & poet and her mother an author, playwright, and educator, creativity is genetically wired into her veins. “My Stepfather was actually a part of Motown,” she relates. “Even though I was young at the time and didn’t realize how awesome that was, he actually played organ and keyboards for Motown, and because of that we actually had a studio in our house, so I immersed myself into music. As I got older, I was able to perform with different Gospel acts, singing in church and in the studio.”
“If I had to box my sound with descriptive terms, I’d say it’s a mix of jazzy, bluesy soul; but each one of my shows is never exactly the same, because I don’t take a cookie-cutter approach and am always reacting to the audience. For me the audience is the wild card and the extra ingredient – they present this tug that brings something out of me that you won’t find in the song alone. It’s all about connection with the audience and the material.”
As for the movement of her career over the past year and her reaction to the recent wins at this year’s Music Awards Celebration, Monique says the response to her latest CD release has been strong. “Apart from my music being played on the radio in the United States and Europe, I’m getting ready to go on tour in the Bay Area and also the UK, so it’s been a great response overall.”
While the past year has found Monique focusing upon performance, she is continuing to write new material and plans on getting back into the studio. “I’m working on a new project I haven’t come up with a name for yet, but am working on some new music that I’m really excited about. Plus, I’ve went back to playing the harp (the string variety, not the harmonica) so will be incorporating that into my show. One day back when I was in middle school, my Mom heard this lady playing the harp and said, ‘Monique, you’re going to play that instrument. Ten days later I was playing it and it’s something I’m going back to. I took a long break from it, but am excited to pick it back up.”
As for how the new songs and her songwriting skills are evolving, Monique says she has both upbeat numbers and a few ballads developed and is incorporation more Jazz elements into her sound. “I’m kind of letting this latest album take its own shape without putting a bunch of songs together, so the material and songs grow more organically together. I’m excited about where it’s going and think it’s going to be quite different. I consider all my music to be ‘Life’ music that people can relate to.”
As for her reaction to the honors bestowed upon her at this year’s Review Music Awards, Monique says she didn’t know what to expect. “I went in without big expectations as this is a Peoples’ Choice selection, but when I heard my name announced as Best Jazz Songwriter, that was a pleasant and unexpected surprise for me, because I actually did write and arrange every song on my latest CD. It’s a big deal to write, arrange, and produce your own project, because a lot of people can sing but not a lot can write, so to have that response from fans was personally gratifying to me and I take pride in that.”
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself and go back and listen to the album,” she continues, “especially when you realize your music is out there in the universe and people you’ve never met come up and tell you how your songs helped them make it through the day, or how my album was inspirational to them. It’s been very touching and emotional.”
“With the Female Blues Vocalist award I didn’t know what to expect, because we have a lot of great Blues singers in this region; so when I heard my name announced I thought, ‘Oh my gosh - three in one night!”
“But for me to be selected to represent the region in these categories really validates your hard work,” concludes Monique. “Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the songs or so busy working shows that you never reflect back on the work you’ve done, so I take pride in these awards because to be recognized for the work that you do in anything is an honor, so I take these trophies as a badge of honor.”
“Life is risk and being a music or entertainer or artist is not an easy road, so when you get some wins like this, it makes all the hard work worth it for these very reasons. You can’t put a price tag on it.”
Classy, classic and coming to a stage near you. Monique Ella Rose is the ‘Real Deal’.
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)