- Monica (entertainer)
Monica performing at the DC Black Pride 2007 in Washington, D.C.
Background information Birth name Monica Denise Arnold Born October 24, 1980  Origin Atlanta, Georgia, United States Genres R&B, hip hop soul, pop, folk, jazz Occupations Singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, entertainer, television personality, fashion designer Years active 1991-present Labels Worldwide (1991 - 2000)
J (2000 - 2011)
RCA (2011 - present)
Associated acts Dallas Austin, Brandy, Ciara, Jermaine Dupri, Missy Elliott, Ludacris, Mia X, Polow Da Don, Rocko, Tim & Bob Website www.monica.com
Monica Denise Brown (née Arnold, born October 24, 1980), and professionally known as Monica, is an American R&B recording artist and entertainer. Born and raised in College Park, Georgia, Monica began performing as a child and became part of a traveling gospel choir, by the time she was ten. Guided by producers Dallas Austin and Tim & Bob, she signed with Arista Records at age thirteen and released her debut album Miss Thang in 1995. Its first two singles "Don't Take It Personal" and "Before You Walk out of My Life" made her the youngest recording act to ever have two consecutive chart-topping hits on the US Billboard Top R&B Singles chart.
In 1998, Arnold's second album The Boy Is Mine earned her major international chart success. Pushed by its same-titled number-one hit, a duet with singer Brandy, it spawned two further chart-toppers, "The First Night" and "Angel of Mine", and established her position as one of the most successful of the urban R&B female vocalists to emerge in the mid to late-1990s. During the production of her third album All Eyez on Me (2002), Arnold experienced personal struggles and her career went under hiatus. In 2003, her fourth album After the Storm was released on J Records, and after an unsuccessful period, she scored her fifth number one single, "So Gone". Her latest album Still Standing, whose recording was tracked by a BET reality series of the same name, was released in 2010 and produced the hit singles "Everything to Me" and "Love All Over Me", the first of which became Arnold's sixth number one hit.
Arnold has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide, including over five million units in the United States alone. With a career lasting over 15 years, she became the first artist to top the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. In 2010, Billboard listed Arnold at number 24 on its list of the Top 50 R&B and Hip Hop Artists of the past 25 years. The same year, Arnold married NBA player Shannon Brown. Currently living in Los Angeles, California, the singer has two sons with her former partner, rapper Rocko.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Recording career
- 3 Other ventures
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Discography
- 6 Awards and nominations
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Monica was born in College Park. She is the only daughter of Marilyn Best, a former church singer and Delta Air Lines customer service representative, and M.C. "Billy" Arnold Jr., a mechanic working for an Atlanta freight company. She has a younger brother, Montez (born in 1983),half brother Jermond Grant on her father's side, and two maternal half-brothers, Tron and Cypress. Monica also is a cousin of record producer Polow da Don, and relative-in-law to rapper Ludacris through her mother's second marriage to Reverend Edward Best, a Methodist minister.
At the age of two, Monica followed in her mother's footsteps with regular performances at the Jones Hill Chapel United Methodist Church in Marilyn's hometown Newnan, Georgia. While growing up in the modest circumstances of a single-parent home after her parents' 1984 separation and 1987 divorce, Monica continued training herself in singing and became a frequent talent-show contestant, winning over 20 local singing competitions throughout her early teenage years. At 10, she became the youngest member of Charles Thompson and the Majestics,[disambiguation needed ] a traveling 12-piece gospel choir.
1995–1999: Miss Thang and The Boy Is Mine
In 1991, at the age of eleven, Monica was discovered by music producer Dallas Austin at the Center Stage auditorium in Atlanta performing Whitney Houston 1986's "Greatest Love of All". Amazed by her voice, Dallas offered her a record deal with his Arista Records-distributed label Rowdy Records and consulted rapper Queen Latifah to work as Monica's first manager. Shortly afterwards Dallas and then staff producers Tim & Bob entered the studio with Monica to start writing and producing her debut Miss Thang which was eventually released in July 1995 and scored number thirty-six on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number seven on the Top R&B Albums chart. It was certified triple platinum by the RIAA for more than three million store-shipped copies and produced three top ten singles, including debut single "Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)" and "Before You Walk out of My Life", both of which made Monica the youngest artist ever to have two consecutive chart-topping hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart. Miss Thang subsequently won Monica a Billboard Music Award and garnered her an American Music Award nomination in the Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist category.
After a label change to Clive Davis's Arista Records, Monica mainstream success was boosted, when Diane Warren-written "For You I Will", from the Space Jam soundtrack, became her next top ten pop hit. The following year she was asked to team up with singer Brandy and producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins to record "The Boy Is Mine", the first single from both of their second albums. Released in May 1998, surrounding highly publicized rumors about a real-life catfight between both singers, the duet became both the biggest hit of the summer and the biggest hit of 1998 in general in America, spending record-breaking thirteen weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It earned the pair a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal" and garnered multi-platinum sales (to date, it remains as one of the top twenty most successful American singles in history based on Billboard chart success).
Jermaine Dupri, David Foster and Austin consulted on the album The Boy Is Mine, which was released later that year and eventually became Monica’s biggest-selling album, becoming certified triple platinum by the RIAA for more than three million store-shipped copies. It yielded another two U.S. number-one hits with "The First Night" and "Angel of Mine", a cover of Eternal's 1997 single, as well as a remake of Richard Marx' "Right Here Waiting". Rolling Stone proclaimed it as "closer to soul's source... hearking back past hip-hop songbirds like Mary J. Blige and adult-contemporary sirens like Toni Braxton," while Allmusic called the album an "irresistible sounding [and] immaculately crafted musical backdrop [...] as good as mainstream urban R&B gets in 1998."
2000–2005: All Eyez on Me and After the Storm
In 2000, Monica contributed chorus vocals for "I've Got to Have It", a collaboration with Jermaine Dupri and rapper Nas. Released as the Big Momma's House theme song, the song saw minor success in the United States only. The following year, she released the Ric Wake production track "Just Another Girl", recorded for the Down to Earth soundtrack, as a single.
A year later, Arnold channeled much of her heavily media-discussed experiences into the production of her third studio album, All Eyez on Me, her first release on mentor Clive Davis newly-founded J Records label. "I just wanted to give the people back something that had personal passion, instead of just, 'Oh, let's dance to this record'," she said about the issues worked into the tracks. The first single "All Eyes on Me," a Rodney Jerkins-produced R&B-dance track, saw minor to moderate success on the international charts but failed to enter the higher half of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. A follow-up song, "Too Hood", also got a lukewarm response and as a result, the album's tentative release was pushed back several times. "I don't think people wanted to hear a big fun record from me, after knowing all the things that I had personally experienced," Monica second-guessed her new material which saw both early and heavy bootlegging via internet at that time.
After the Japan-wide release of All Eyez on Me Monica was asked to substantially reconstruct the record with a host of new producers, and as a result the singer re-entered recording studios to start work with songwriters Kanye West, Jazze Pha, Andre "mrDEYO" Deyo, Bam & Ryan and Dupri-replacing executive producer Missy Elliott. Finally released in June 2003, After the Storm debuted at number one on Billboard`s Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart, and on top of the official Billboard 200, with sales of 186,000 copies emerging as Monica's first and only number-one album to date. It eventually received a gold certification, and has sold over one million copies domestically. Media reception of the CD was generally enthusiastic, with the Allmusic saying the album "has all the assuredness and smart developments that should keep Monica's younger longtime followers behind her — all the while holding the ability to appeal to a wider spectrum of R&B and hip-hop fans." The album's lead single, Elliott-penned "So Gone", was one of Monica's biggest commercial successes in years, becoming her first top ten single since 1999's "Angel of Mine". In addition, it reached the top position of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks and Hot Dance Club Play charts. Subsequently, After the Storm spawned another three singles, with final single "U Should've Known Better" reaching number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
2006–2010: The Makings of Me and Still Standing
Returning from yet another musical hiatus, Arnold's fourth studio album The Makings of Me was released in October 2006. Titled after Curtis Mayfield's 1970 recording "The Makings of You", the album saw her particularly reuniting with producers Elliott, Dupri, and Bryan Michael Cox, all of whom had previously contributed to After the Storm (2003). The Makings of Me received a positive reception from most professional music critics, with Allmusic calling it a "concise and mostly sweet set of songs," and Entertainment Weekly declaring it "a solid addition" to Monica's discography. While it debuted at number one on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart, and at number eight on the official Billboard 200, it received a domestic sales total of 328,000 copies, it widely failed to revive the success of its predecessors and became the singer's lowest-selling effort to date. Singles such as snap-influenced "Everytime Tha Beat Drop" featuring Atlanta hip hop group Dem Franchize Boyz and Elliott-produced "A Dozen Roses (You Remind Me)" failed to reach the top forty of the regular pop charts. In 2009, Arnold lent her voice to the ballad "Trust," a duet with Keyshia Cole, that peaked in the top five on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The recording of Arnold's sixth studio album Still Standing was chronicled by her BET reality series of the same name. Featuring production by Stargate, Ne-Yo, and Polow da Don, it was released in March 2010 and garnered a generally response by critics, who perceived its sound as "a return to the mid-'1990s heyday" of contemporary R&B, The album debuted atop on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart, and number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 with opening week sales of 184,000 copies, becoming the singer's second highest-charting debut since 2003's After the Storm. The leading single "Everything to Me" scored Monica her biggest chart success since 2003's "So Gone", reaching the top position of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks charts for seven weeks. The album was certified gold by the RIAA with domestic shipments of 500,000 copies within a single month. With it success, the album and "Everything to Me" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, presented at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011. In August 2010, Arnold joined Trey Songz on his Passion, Pain & Pleasure Tour, her first North American concert tour in ten years.
2011-present: New Life
As of July 2011, the singer is working on her seventh studio album New Life due February 21, 2012. According to reports, the project will be executive produced by Polow Da Don. Other producers include Oak, and Missy Elliott. The album's lead single, "Anything (To Find You)", premiered in July 2011 and features rapper Rick Ross. Since its release, the song has reached number 25 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The follow-up single from New Life is "Until It's Gone" which was release via Monica's website on September 16th 2011. In addition, Arnold is in the planning stages of a holiday album for the 2011 season.
On October 7, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding J Records along with Arista Records and Jive Records. With the shutdown, Monica (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) will release her future material (including New Life) on the RCA Records brand.   New Life has been pushed back to a later date as Monica confirmed her and RCA were 'reconstructing the entire plan for the album'.
In 2000, Monica made her film debut in the third drama from MTV Films, Love Song, as Camille Livingston, a young woman torn between the life her parents have planned for her and the world she experiences after meeting a musician from the wrong side of the tracks. The film debut the song "What My Heart Says" with promotion of her third album All Eyez on Me (2002). The film was released on April 30, 2002.
Arnold has also made guest appearances on several television shows such as Living Single (1996), Beverly Hills, 90210 (1997, 1999), Felicity (2001), and American Dreams (2003) playing Mary Wells, singing "My Guy". Also in her big-screen movie career, in 2006, she made a cameo appearance in the American comedy-drama film ATL, playing the Waffle House waitress. In 2009, Monica joined with completion of Rockmond Dunbar-produced upcoming film 2011 Pastor Brown. Some photos have been released in 2009, with Monica playing the role of Lisa Cross.
In August 2008, the debut episode of the reality television show Monica: The Single on Peachtree TV was filmed to promote the release of the album, "Still Standing". The show was a single episode, tracked by the single recording for her sixth studio album. While "Still Standing, which featured cousin Ludacris, was originally intended to be released as the album's lead single, the label and the singer were not in agreement with the album's title track becoming the first single no track has been for more than a year.
With the success of the one-hour reality special, Monica joined the production of the BET network for her own series Monica: Still Standing, producing a spin-off to the Peachtree TV Monica: The Single, containing the same concept. It focused on searching for a hit single for her fifth studio album release and balancing her personal life of being a full-time mother and troubled past. The premiere and encore episode garnered 3.2 million total viewers, while the show itself was made the second highest series debut in BET history behind the debut of Tiny & Toya. The show was given a "B" rating by Entertainment Weekly. She is also a mentor on The Voice with Coach Cee-Lo.
Monica's career saw troubles in 1999, during which time she dealt with more personal tribulations including an up-and-down relationship with former fiancé Corey "C-Murder" Miller and the suicide of her boyfriend Jarvis "Knot" Weems, a local drug dealer and her childhood friend. On July 18, 2000, the couple were together at the graveside of Weems's brother, who had died in an automobile accident at age 25 in 1998, when Weems, without warning, put a gun to his head and shot himself to death. Devastated, Monica spent the first few months after his death in denial and depression, later lessened by spiritual guidance from her parents. "Afterward, I felt, 'What else could I have done?' You replay that situation over and over and you switch it around: Maybe if I had said this, or if I would have done that,'" she said in an interview with the Enquirer the following year. "It's just something that it's never possible for me to go back and change."
Arnold met rapper Rodney "Rocko" Hill, a former SWA officer and real estate manager, shortly after Knot's suicide in 2000, a time which the singer described as her "weakest." While the couple soon got engaged in fall of the same year, they ended their relationship in 2004." A few months later, Arnold and Hill revived their relationship and the singer became pregnant with their first child. On May 21, 2005, the pair welcomed their first son, Rodney Ramone Hill III, into the world. They became engaged once again on Christmas Eve 2007, just a few days prior to the birth of their second child on January 8, 2008. The son was named Romelo Montez Hill, named after Monica's younger brother. In March 2010, it was announced that Arnold and Hill had split in October 2009, surrounding rumors that he cheated.
Since 2010, Arnold has been in a relationship with NBA player Shannon Brown. The pair met in June 2010 when Brown was consulted to star as her love interest in the music video for the single "Love All Over Me." In October 2010, Arnold confirmed her engagement to Brown via Twitter, posting a photo of her massive, rose-cut diamond ring. On November 22, 2010, Arnold and Brown were married in a secret ceremony at their Los Angeles home. The marriage did however not become a matter of public record until January 21, 2011, when Brown told the Hip-Hop Non-Stop TV-Show. On July 9, 2011 the couple then held a second wedding in front of close family.
- Miss Thang (1995)
- The Boy Is Mine (1998)
- All Eyez on Me (2002)
- After the Storm (2003)
- The Makings of Me (2006)
- Still Standing (2010)
- New Life (2012)
Awards and nominations
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- ^ Hensel, Amanda. "Monica Engaged to Shannon Brown". AOL Music. http://music.aol.com/blog/2010/10/18/monica-engaged-shannon-brown/. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- ^ "LA Lakers Shannon Brown Secretly Weds R&B Singer Monica". New York Post. http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/music/la_lakers_shannon_brown_secretly_hskFsfYR1wniyms9GxlH9H. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
- ^ Eggenberger, Nicole. "Monica Shares Shannon Brown Engagement News?". OK!. http://www.okmagazine.com/2010/10/monica-shares-shannon-brown-engagement-news/. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
- Monica.com Official website
- Monica at Billboard.com
- Monica at the Internet Movie Database
- Monica at Allmusic
Studio albums Extended playsDance Vault Remixes: Get It Off/Knock Knock Compilation albumsSuper Hits Filmography Related articles Miss Thang The Boy Is Mine All Eyez on Me After the Storm The Makings of Me Still Standing"Everything to Me" (2010) · "Love All Over Me" (2010) · "Here I Am" (2010) New Life"Anything (To Find You)" (2011) · "Until It's Gone" (2011) Soundtrack Featured artist"Wake Up Everybody" (2004) · "I Aint Trying to Hear It" (2007) · "Trust" (2009) · "Always" (2010) Other songs"Gone Be Fine" (1999) · "Still Standing"
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