New York native Monet was raised in a house of music - her mother was a singer and her dad managed jazz artists - and she was exposed to a wide variety of musical forms in her childhood, ranging from Soul to Jazz to Classical. She developed into a musical prodigy, picking up guitar, percussion and her most noted instrument, flute.
After years of working with other artists, in 2003 Monet released her debut album, Essence, on Purpose Records. Bearing Monet's spiritual, uplifting messages, the disc highlighted both her proficient flute work and her underrated, soulfully raspy voice. Monet co-wrote all the songs on the disc, working primarily with Gil Small (Asaph Womack), and the disc nicely straddled the line between soul and smooth jazz. Her best cuts with Small were the infectiously rhythmic title track, the acoustic "Joy" and "Stand," an excellent Prince-influenced rock number. However, the disc also held a number of gems with guest producers, including "Wanna Kiss" with Angela Johnson (which sounds like it could have been included on Johnson's great They Don't Know album), "U Told Me" with Ticklah and the hot instrumental "Bahia Blues" with DJ Spinna.
Essence became an underground hit and Monet has since developed into a club favorite along the East Coast. The title cut was included on the soundtrack to the basketball documentary, 25 Strong. Monet also put in a number of guest performances on albums by Angela Johnson, Cooly's Hot Box and others, including a great vocal duet on Tortured Soul's "Don't Hold Me Know." She was also part of the all-star band The Rooftop for the charity release A Live Shot, singing lead on the very nice "Deep In The Water," and playing flute throughout.
In 2006 Monet began working on her sophomore album, Awakening, again on Purpose Records. Her lineup for the disc included some of the leading names in the indie soul movement, including singer/songwriter/producer Angela Johnson, keyboardist Nick Rolfe, Family Stand member Jeff Smith, and producer Gil Small. She also approached the disc with a renewed, personal approach to her lyrics, attempting to share her life changing experiences and fuse it into her music. The initial cut, "Vain," hit radio in October of 2008 and foreshadowed what appears to be another excellent effort.
By Chris Rizik
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