Mona – Stay
Check out the new song from Mona – Stay
Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this position today.
I’m from VA!! Parents from Trinidad so I have that West Indian blood. I played piano since I was 5 years old. As a child growing up, I’ve always sang in church choirs. I eventually started branching out and developing my own small singing groups at church of which I played piano for and did some lead singing. During college I joined one of the best choirs (Dynamic Praise) and I also put together a small vocal group called Vizion (Vision). We performed at various worship services and performed the National Anthem at our college basketball game. I started recording with a friend of mine and really made some progress in the studio but put way too much money into a non-existing, non-established label. The guy eventually moved and took all of my work with him. That was enough to make me not want to pursue music for a long while. Two years later after graduation, I moved here to Atlanta to find work and continue doing some modeling. I eventually got into party promotions and met some amazing artist like Big Boi, Nicole Ray, Yung Joc, Neyo, and Verse to name a few. And as much as I wanted to quiet my music side and not put myself out there to be disappointed (again), I couldn’t help but be inspired by all the talent around me. I just happened to meet a local artist and his manager at a photoshoot and a great business relationship just formed. After a couple of conversations about music and my passion for it, I was asked to be an artist under Splitten Image Entertainment. Because of a few setbacks in both music and modeling and mishaps in my life and with old friends, it was the hardest thing to step out on faith and trust this label/friends with my hopes and dreams. But I did. And I don’t regret it one bit! Because of the encouragement I’ve gotten from my label, my family and my true friends, I can actually say I’m enjoying doing what I have always loved most: MUSIC!
What are you currently working on and what can we expect to see?
I have been in the studio working on my first album project. I’m looking forward to releasing that later on this year. Also I just finished my single ‘Stay’ (an R&B ballad) that I’m very excited about. We’re working on shooting the video for it VERY soon. And on April 14th, Splitten Image Entertainment will be hosting a mixer here in Atlanta called ‘Grind ‘til it Hurts’. Special guest DJ Majestic will be there and I will be performing a few of my songs throughout the night. And stay tuned to our website (SplittenImageEnt.com) about our other major upcoming event in July!
Tell us about one of the hardest challenges you had to face in the industry?
It’s hard to compete for the spotlight, especially here in Atlanta, because everybody wants to be in the industry. Everybody wants to sing, rap, model, or something. And for the most part… EVERYBODY has talent! I have to admit that at times long lines outside of auditions, people with more performing/singing experience, people who constantly say you’re not what they’re looking for in an artist at the moment, etc. had discouraged me from pursuing my dream. The biggest challenge right now is having me and my music stand out above the rest and finding someone willing to take a chance on me as an artist and not fading into the background of everyone who’s going after the same thing.
What was one of the biggest set backs in your career and how did you bounce back?
Actually.. ME. I was my biggest setback. When I started really recording back in college, I let my own negative thoughts stop me from doing all I can with my music. I thought I wasn’t talented enough to go where I envisioned with my music. I didn’t think I had all the right friends who would support me, and I figured I didn’t have any ‘connections’ to people dealing with music or people who could help me with my pursuit of music so I stopped trying. Because of my own irrational thinking and being lazy with my talent, I missed out on so many opportunities (either to perform or even to introduce myself as a new artist to musicians and artists that I’ve met). Now my fear of taking risks with my talent and putting myself out there is subsiding everyday because I’ve realized that God has blessed me with an amazing stories about my life and its crazy and exciting adventures especially dealing with my pursuit of love and happiness. I keep on going because I don’t want to waste those talents… I want to share ‘me’ with the world.
What are some things artists need to be careful of?
First and foremost, don’t let people take your money. That’s the worse! There are so many scams out there. Always have somebody (like a manager or somebody more knowledgeable about the business aspect) you can trust to ask and discuss money/business before you actually make moves. Second, Negativity! Don’t let yourself fall prey to thinking or acting like you’re anything less than what you know you’re destined to be!
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
You HAVE to be able to be out on the streets with your music anytime you get the chance. That means performing anywhere in front of anybody at anytime! STAY FOCUSED! I’ve learned that sometimes that focus means making some sacrifices so that you can succeed. Stay networking with people. Keep your information/ music readily available because you never know who you may run into. And please copyright all of your work! You would hate for people to take credit for what you’ve worked hard on.
What are the best ways to sell your products as an artist?
Keep a copy of your demo or cd with you always. But most importantly, make sure you’re getting into shows, open mics, any type of performance to showcase what you’re working on. Provide copies of your music to DJs so they can promote you too. And, even though online promotion is a drop in the bucket, push your music on online music sties as much as possible to develop a fan base as well.
What is one of your favorite ways to promote yourself and your music?
My friends and family have really been a great source of support and promotion and performing at open-mic nights have been amazing for promotions! But I definitely love all the responses I’m getting on Twitter and Facebook when I post something new. Reverbnation is on my list of faves too because I have been able to track progress made on that site. And of course I’m excited about now being able to promote my music via iTunes, Rhapsody, Myxer.com, Amazon music, etc.
Any last comments or statements?
I truly want to thank Splitten Image Entertainment (Jason &April) and KellyBoy Productions for taking a chance on me. I have had a few things happen to me that have really hurt me and made me want to give up myself and my talent. It took me a while to see those things as inspiration and use those trials as drive to conquer my goals. So now all I want to share my heart with the world through music. Hopefully those whom my music touches will be able to relate to the story of life/love as written through my eyes.