It might be funny to think of Monica as a veteran in the game. But with over 15 years of experience under her belt, that's exactly what she is. And with her fifth album, Still Standing, dropping tomorrow (March 23), the singer can't believe she's come this far.
“It's weird 'cause after 15 years, ‘veteran’ still sounds kinda funny to me, but I think it is something that I can look at more as a blessing,” Monica told VIBE. “My first album, I started working on it when I was 12 and I look at this record as more singular to that one because it’s a real R&B record.”
While the singer admitted to getting off track with her music in the past, she added that this new project is more in tune with her humble vocal-centric beginnings.
“At one point, I started becoming a little bit concerned with things around me that were popular at the time, but I realized that we’re all different by design and that I needed to do what I do, which is R&B music that’s more focused on vocal performance than anything else," said Monica. "So this album is geared directly towards that. We do mids [midtempo songs], I have some ups, some ballads, but my focus was that the song still had to be sung. If it was an upbeat record, you still had to actually sing.”
Collaborators on the project include producers Jermaine Dupri, Bryan Michael Cox and Missy Elliott, as well as songwriters Johnta Austin, Adonis and Jazmine Sullivan.
Monica, who recently broke the news of her breakup with longtime fiancée, rapper Rocko, on Twitter, said the subject matter is all about love and faith.
“We kinda mixed it up and saw the things that I’ve experienced on my own and put it on the album,” she said. “[It’s] still about relationships a lot. It’s still about the Bible and faith and believing in self and knowing that you can move and push past anything." —Clover Hope