A Conversation With Monica [August 2008]
I love to have conversations. I love learning about people and their perspective on life, love and relationships, so my interviews with artists have always focused more on love and relationships, and less on the music or salicious gossip that they’ve been caught up in.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a few of my favorite conversations with the celebs that I had the opportunity to interview, and it was only right that I started the series off with my conversation with singer Monica. She has to be one of the nicest, most humble and down-to-earth celebs that I’ve ever met.
It was August 2008, and Monica was preparing for a new one-off show called, “The Single” which allowed fans a peek into the process of her choosing the first single off of her Still Standing album. The title of the album was very appropriate seeing as though Monica had been through so much during the span of her career, including having to witness her boyfriend commit suicide in front of her, just as her career began taking off.
Leading up to the night that we talked, her label had been going back and forth with me about interview times but we couldn’t seem to get the timing together. To my surprise, my phone rang at 8 o’clock at night and it was Monica on the other line. She had obtained my phone number from a mutual friend of ours and called me up herself. I was shocked! I didn’t expect her to be on the other end of my phone, so of course I wasn’t prepared to do the interview, but we just let the conversation naturally flow. After talking about her upcoming show, like two old friends, we started conversing about friendships and relationships.
At the time she was engaged to her kids father, Rocko:
Necole: I was at a concert recently and Rocko announced that you were his fiancee. Backstage, I asked you “Am I late?” and you said that you had been engaged for a while. When exactly did Rocko propose?
Monica: It was Christmas Eve. He did it at midnight because it is part of my mom’s family tradition that we exchange one gift at midnight just because usually the kids are overly excited. So he waited until we were alone and proposed at midnight on Christmas Eve. It was really nice… It was just the two of us.
Necole: Did you see it coming or was it a total surprise?
Monica: It was a total surprise because honestly we’ve been together since I was 19 years old and we’ve had little brief intermissions. That happens when you meet in your teenage years. We are just so close as friends and so close as each other’s partners that he really completes me in a sense. Like anything that happens in my day, before I call one of my homegirls it’s just instantaneous that I talk to him because he’s just a part of me. So I wasn’t the type of woman that applies the pressure. I was happy with where our relationship was and I am just happy he went there as a man first without me having to mention or ask about it. It’s a decision he made because that’s what he wanted for me and his children.
Necole: Speaking of pressure, I’ve had too many girlfriends in the past that have tried to pressure a man into something. I’m like “It’s been two weeks and you are already planning the wedding”…
Monica: [laughs] Well, I’m around a lot of women–especially established women, and they want to plan everything. I don’t believe in pressuring people, I try to follow suit. I believe people should just let things grow organically
Necole: So if you closed your eyes and envisioned your wedding, what would it be like?
Monica: [a long pause] Everything would just be white. Maybe Ivory…just really clean. Maybe a little accent of gold, but not a lot of colors. It’s funny because I was talking to Tiny and she was telling me that when she was younger she always envisioned what her wedding would be like but now that the time is coming closer you get so confused about what you really want. So I was up one night and I called her and said, “Look, we are going to get all our ideas from Platinum Weddings. We are going to keep it simple and hire somebody from off of this show” [laughs] So she will probably be my support system with that one because she knows what it is like to plan something that’s really comfortable and fun. I still want to have a good time when it takes place.
Necole: Now I have a male friend that has had a crush on you since forever. Like he was always in love with Monica but I remember him saying “I am not her type.”
Monica: Wow, well what is my type Necole?? Please fill me in because people seem to know stuff that I don’t know. I never went out looking for anything in particular. Rodney and I met at Cascade skating rink. I remember going out with some girlfriends and I had went out just to get away from everything because it was at a really really bad point in my life and we just happened to be parked next to each other. So what is my type, in people’s opinion? Enlighten me.
Necole: Well, this guy is a very clean cut guy with a ceaser (hair cut) and you know he mentioned C Murder and another guy you were with as an example. So when you think of C Murder you think of gangster and I’m guessing he didn’t feel that he was “tough” enough or “thug” enough for you.
Monica: Wow, that is hilarious. [laughs] That’s funny!
Necole: So, Take me back to the night you met Rocko at the skating rink. How did he approach you?
Monica: We didn’t approach each other. My girlfriend was tired of us eying each other so she gave me his number and said, “I gave him yours”. My friend is very outspoken anyway so she pretty much did all the talking for the both of us. She knew I had been in bad relationships, she knew I had been hurt in several different ways, so she was like “Look, this is someone who has caught your attention and you caught his, what’s the hold up?”.
Necole: How does a man approach a woman like Monica?
Monica: The first thing is to not mention music. That’s the first thing and anything else is just natural. It’s just being naturally you and that’s what I’ve always liked about him.
Necole: What would you say has been the roughest point in your life?
Monica: I would have to absolutely say when I dated Corey [C Murder] and then my next relationship after that ended with that guy ending his life. That was in the 90′s and I was a very young girl at that time and a lot of those things happen all within reason. It took a lot of time for me to realize that it’s a part of life so I would have to say his death was my rebirth.
Necole: I always wondered how do you get over something so tragic like that and move on..
Monica: You learn to accept that death is something that is going to happen and can not be changed. I did a lot of “Why did he do this” and “What am I going to do now,” but I eventually stopped asking questions like that and started asking God to just guide me. That’s when I really learned to pray and really started strengthening my relationship with God. Some nights all I could do was pray. Some nights I couldn’t sleep. Some nights it was impossible for me to even turn the lights out because what he had done in front of me would play over and over in my mind but that’s a part of my past. Every day is a new one and if God grants me a new day then I have to live it to the fullest. I can’t walk in his death, I have to walk in my life and I’ve just accepted that over time.
Necole: Monica I have to tell you, you are so strong and you have to be one of the most sweetest and most realest celebrities I’ve ever met.
Monica: Thank you! One thing about it though, I am never going to change.
Monica finally released her Still Standing album in 2010, and in 2012 she released her appropriately titled, New Life LP after getting married to Shannon Brown.
You never really know where life will take you, and as she said in the interview, she never changed.