RiverCity Rock Star Academy Teacher
Vocals (Jazz, Soul, Rock, Classical/Opera), Keys/Piano, Ukulele, working on Bass and Drums for the future
When did you start playing music and what was/is your influence for playing music?
I started singing as early as I can remember. At first, it was all about Whitney Houston and then Mariah Carey. As I got older and learned more about music, I gained a deep appreciation for Classical music. I really love Classical piano. After I graduated from high school I was attending college and going to go into musical theater, but the Opera theater director at my college snatched me up and said I had a great voice for Opera, so she introduced me to great singers including Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, and Mirella Freni. I tried to emulate their sound.
In the last 15 years, I have slowly started listening to a lot of Jazz including great artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Those were big Jazz vocal influences for me.
What is/are your favorite song(s) you've helped direct at RiverCity?
I have really enjoyed the 80s tunes during last season’s program - it’s music I grew up with. Currently, it’s nice to help out in the 90s program and help others performing ‘Electioneering’ by Radiohead.
What do you like about RiverCity?
RiverCity Rock Star Academy offers kids and adults a mini-community for music.
What are your favorite bands/artists right now?
Right now I’m listening to a lot of Soul, Bro Soul, Funk, and Hip Hop. Artists like Erykah Badu, Fela Kuti, India Arie, Jill Scott, Childish Gambino.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
If you are serious about trying to make it on a big scale, you can’t dedicate your time to another career as a backup plan. It’s kind of all or nothing. There’s nothing wrong with becoming a great musician and remaining local. It’s probably healthier for you. lol
What’s something unique or funny about you?
I went to art school for a summer and I paint and sketch. I lived in England for a year when I was pregnant with my first born. I’ve had all kinds of weird jobs - mostly as an administrative assistant (over 10 years), and I’ve worked on a farm, worked as an after-care counselor, worked for coal lobbyists (yikes), and sang in the Florida Grand Opera Chorus.
What things do you do when you’re not at RiverCity?
My boyfriend and I are currently working together in a band called ‘The Difference’, it’s a Funk/Soul/Rock kind of group. But we are also trying to piece together a Rock Opera. I’m also, most importantly, a mom to my two kids (Julian 11 and Emelina 8 months).
Monica is available for vocal and keys lessons. Contact RiverCity to schedule your free trial lesson and tour.