Profile: Victoria Monet 

Victoria MonetSinger/songwriter Victoria Monet McCants began her journey within the music industry as a young woman residing in California’s capitol. “Sacramento is really diverse, so I absorbed a lot of genres of music,” says Monet. “People in my school listened to everything from hard rock to country and anything urban.” Didn’t hurt that she spent her earlier years performing in school plays, church services and even NBA half-time shows. Leave it to Monet, music was a lifestyle.

Eventually making her way to Los Angeles, Monet caught the attention of super-producer Rodney Jerkins. Placing her as the third member of his girl group Purple Reign, she describes the time as a learning experience. According to Monet, Jerkins’ strenuous work ethic rubbed off on her. Monet also developed a knack for songwriting, something she kept to herself for quite some time. “I feel like I’ve always been an artist and songwriter simultaneously,” explained Monet. “I knew I had skills in songwriting, but Rodney and the camp had no idea and I kept it a secret.” Purple Reign eventually landed a short deal at Motown before Monet decided to actively pursue a solo career.

Monet later found herself getting some heavy songwriting placements with the likes of Ariana Grande, Fifth Harmony and Chris Brown. “I was submitting records as a songwriter and pursing my solo career, but that wasn’t my focus,” she says. “I would submit hooks and try to sing them as best as I could.” Around that time, Atlantic Records began calling after the label heard a song meant for Janelle Monae and Cee-Lo Green. “One of the A&Rs called me one day to have me sing in front of some executives,” Monet describes of the moment. “I went, sang, and two minutes after I was done, they said they would have a deal ready for me by the end of the week.” Totally in shock, she began making music right away.

Linking up with producer Tommy Brown, someone also formerly signed to Jerkins during Monet’s time with Purple Reign, the two set the building blocks for her major label debut EP Nightmares & Lullabies Act 1. Two years in the making, the project came as Monet perfected her dual roles. “Being able to focus on songwriting and being a successful artist means you have to wear two different hats,” she says. “That also means that some things have to be pushed back.” Regardless, Monet found the delay a good thing, as it forced her to make timeless music. “It’s not dated,” explains Monet. “There isn’t any current lingo so [the songs] were able to last those two years.” It’s clear as day listening to “Made In China” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and “Good Time x Trouble.”  Pleased by the reception of Act 1, Monet is setting the stage for its early 2015 follow-up, Nightmares & Lullabies Act 2. The new level of confidence allows her to take more risks, meaning tackling two ballads on the project. “I feel like I get to sing a little bit more,” Monet says. Due for release around January, she’s already shooting videos. A deluxe edition of the EPs should follow sometime in March.

Monet has also found time to get a few high-profile features, the first being Eric Bellinger’s “Liquid Courage” track from his The Rebirth double album released in February. Her biggest to date, however, would be her guest spot on “Stay,” T.I.’s rumored emotional open letter to wife Tiny from his ninth solo album, Paperwork. “We’ve been working together for about two years going back and forth to the studio,” she says. “I’ve written hooks for him and he’s featured on my second act of Nightmares & Lullabies. He’s my big brother at this point and it’s great.” This doesn’t mean Monet has secluded her songwriting; she’s penning potential hits for future releases from Ariana Grande, Fifth Harmony and MGK.

—Ural Garrett

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