AWAKENING, the title of Monet’s, upcoming project due out on Purpose Records in early 2009 makes a bold revealing statement about how profoundly life’s journey has touched her. The thick, golden brown locs that once graced her crown – very much the signature image of her debut release ESSENCE five years ago – are gone. You almost don’t recognize her. But that unmistakable voice buried deep in her chest, almost as if coming directly from her heart is ever present. Her flute that teases and soars, bouncing in the air like a wondrously, hypnotic tribal spell – is pronounced, only finer, richer and more knowing. This couldn’t be more evident than in her latest single “VAIN,” which was the SOULTRACKS.com featured track of the month in October with close to 3000 downloads. With a scheduled digital release on December 2nd, ” VAIN” is an account of a reflective journey – Monet’s flute like a snake charmer , beautifully intricate which starts out with moments of calm, coaxing gently until it deepens to a throaty rasp, becoming more complex and intriguing. If VAIN is any20indication of what’s to come from AWAKENING, not only will Monet’s fans be pleasingly overwhelmed but she will surely attract a legion of new interested parties into her base.
Monet’s musical repertoire is diverse with influences drawn from jazz, neo-soul, latin, classical, folk, house and funk. Fundamentally, however, her sound is purely rooted in organic soul. The influences are a glorious amalgamation of Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Bob Marley, Sade and Hubert Laws. Surrounded by multiple genres of music by both parents – her mother a doo-wop singer and her father a manager of jazz and Latin artists. Monet’s – musical roots run deep. A little known fact is that she was accepted to the prestigious Cornell University at the tender age of 14 on scholarship due to her advanced musical proficiency in classical flute. Monet also p lays guitar, oboe , piccolo and piano. One would be remiss not to mention Monet’s various film cr edits including acting and directing. This is a resume full of aesthetic discovery.
While in between projects, leading up to the actual production of AWAKENING, Monet was quite busy at work fine tuning her craft, contributing her signature flute work, songwriting and vocals to recent projects by Angela Johnson “That’s Just The Way” , Nigerian world soul artist Siji “Fantasy” and “Ekundayo,” and singer/songwriters Kendra Ross “Has to Be,” and La Sonya Gunther, ” How we Livin.” Monet also is involved in upcoming projects by Abby Dobson “Fly,” Maya Azucena, Steve Wallace and Mother’s Favorite Child. Monet also contributed to club hits by Melena Perez, “Confession,” and Tortured Soul, “Don’t Hold me Down,” flute and vocals respectively.
AWAKENING promises to be rich with what we expect from Monet. However some surprising alternative twists to her sou nd abound. There is more orchestration in the arrangements, and the addition of violin, cello, trumpet and soprano sax on various cuts are welcome. Her reggae influence is present on, “I’ll b Strong.” Then there’s the Monet that many are definitely familiar with in “Hold me Sweetly,” a quivering ode to desire that Monet admittedly calls baby making music. Other cuts from this effort seem to convey odes of promise, hope, inspiration and transformation like “Just B,” “Walk with Me,” and “It’s Your Life,” which is an anthem to one being a master of one’s own destiny. DJ Spinna contributes to the haunting instrumental “Navajo Mood,” giving us the vintage Monet we know and love. Jeff Smith (Family Stand), violinist Tarrah Reynolds, keyboardist extraordinare Nick Rolfe, top flight percussionists Bashiri Johnson and Jeff Haynes, vocalists Tricia Angus, Saundra Williams, Martha Redbone, Abby Dobson, and Maya Azucena are all contributors to Awakening. The producers of the project include Steve Wallace, Angela Johnson, Dj Spinna, Wil Fulton , Prez, Jesse Fischer (Soul Cycle ) and Ethan White (Tortured Soul).
Monet is an explorer. Through her musical expression we witness her seeking the highest level of self awareness and realization which is often referred to as AWAKENING. I n this project she freely moves through her existence fearlessly, balancing both the pain and the pleasure, the heartache and the rapture making sure we feel it too, spiritually, intellectually and physically. Conveying this is no easy feat – and as we bear witness to Monet’s creativity as she continues to document her journey through her music. We know that we’re all the better to be an audience to such a gift.
QUOTES ON VAIN
“Simply beautiful, fluid jazzy tune that engages the body and soul upon first listen.
The cut made me play it over and over. Love the band’s crescendos and descrescendos throughout. Amazing musicianship by all instrumentalists. “Vain” is a passion-filled journey that you really don’t want to end. Very much looking forward to the full album Awakenings.
Oliva Scott Perkins – Vibe Magazine
“Monet’s ‘Vain’ is a gorgeous piece of work. There is a soothing warmth combined with an intense passion flowing from the flautist. ‘Vain’ is a beautiful breath of fresh air.”
Traci Freeman – On the Verge
”Contrary to the title, vanity is the last word that comes to mind from listening to Vain. Vain is sonant-tranquility conducted by a Monet’s exquisite flute work.”
KUKU- Nigerian World Soul Artist
“Mellow and erotic pop instrumental, that has sunshine and flowers threaded thru from end to end that recalls a secluded spot in a crowded park on a spring day, where harmony an d silence exists for a brief moment in time.”
BOB DAVIS - SOUL-PATROL.NET
Monet is back with a beautiful new single "VAIN" I can't wait to hear the album
DJ. JUNIOR- RECORDBREAKIN.com
“Mon'et, just keeps getting better as she rises up the ladder of "Superstardom," "VAIN" will be on her rungs as classic Mon’et.”Gerard Editor-in-Chief of SGIB Magazine
Smooth and majestic, ''Vain" is an inspiring musical odyss
ey of classical sounds laced with a contemporary groove that moves and soars with a maturity and grace that makes this song a joy to listen to again and again."
Ashan Rachelle, NeoSoul Rhythms
102.1 FM, Little Rock, AR
“Her flute resonates with a smooth, relaxing, sultry vibe! Monet at her best.”
NEIL BLAKE – BLAKE RADIO.com
“It’s just been too long since we’ve heard=2 0new music from Monet. So her latest cut, “Vain,” came not a moment too soon. Working wit h producer Steve Wallace, Monet has fashioned another instrumental gem to whet our appetites for her upcoming Awakenings album. We can’t wait.”
CHRIS RIZIK, Publisher – Soultracks.com