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Monica performing at the DC Black Pride 2007 in Washington, D.C..
Background information
Birth name Monica Denise Arnold
Born October 24, 1980 (1980-10-24) (age 29)
Origin Altanta, Georgia, U.S.
Genres R&B, hip hop soul, pop
Occupations Singer-songwriter, actress
Instruments Vocals (Alto)
Years active 1991–present
Labels Rowdy (1993–1997)
Arista (1998-2001)
J (2002–present)
Associated acts Dallas Austin, Tim & Bob, Brandy, Keyshia Cole, Ciara, Jermaine Dupri, Missy Elliott, Ludacris, Mia X, Mary J. Blige, Rocko

Monica Denise Arnold (born October 24, 1980), professionally known as Monica, is an American R&B singer, songwriter, and occasional actress. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Arnold was a member of Charles Thompson and the Majestics, a traveling 12-piece gospel choir prior to signing a solo recording contract with Arista Records in 1995. Guided by Rowdy head Dallas Austin and proteges' Tim & Bob, she came to prominence following her debut album Miss Thang (1995).

Following a major success with "The Boy Is Mine", a duet with world-wide known, superstar Brandy, and a same-titled second album in 1998, established her position as one of the most successful of the urban R&B female vocalists to emerge in the mid-to late 1990s. However, Arnold's popularity began to decline in the early 2000s , during which time she dealt with more personal tribulations including the suicide of her boyfriend, a tumultuous relationship with former fiancé Corey "C-Murder" Miller and the delay of her heavily-bootlegged third album, All Eyez on Me (2002).[2] In 2003, Monica eventually released her fourth album After the Storm, and after an unsuccessful period, she scored her sixth number- forty hit, "So Gone". After giving birth to her first child, Rodney Ramone Hill III, in May 2005, and another short hiatus, Monica released her fifth studio album, The Makings of Me in October 2006.


Early life

Arnold was born in College Park, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. She is the eldest child of Marilyn Best, a former church singer and Delta Air Lines customer service representative, and M.C. Arnold Jr., a mechanic working for an Atlanta freight company.[3] She has one brother named Montez (born 1983), and two maternal half-brothers, Tron and Cypress.[4]

At the age of two Arnold followed in her mother's footsteps with regular performances in public at the Jones Chapel United Methodist Church. While growing up in the modest circumstances of a single-parent home, after her parents' separation in 1984 and their divorce in 1987, Monica continued training herself in singing. She became the youngest member of Charles Thompson and the Majestics, a traveling 12-piece gospel choir, by the time she was ten.[5] Monica also became a frequent talent show contestant, winning over twenty local singing competitions throughout her early teenage years.

Recording career

1995-1996: Miss Thang

In 1991, at the age of eleven, Arnold was discovered by music producer Dallas Austin at the Center Stage auditorium in Atlanta performing Whitney Houston 1986's "Greatest Love of All". Amazed by her voice, Dallas offered her a record deal with his Arista-distributed label Rowdy Records and immediately hired rapper and actress Queen Latifah as Monica's first manager.[6] Shortly afterwards Dallas and then staff producers Tim & Bob entered the studio with Arnold to start writing and producing her debut Miss Thang.[7]

After two years of recording her debut album, co-produced by Daryl Simmons and Soulshock & Karlin, was released to mixed reviews on July 18, 1995, scored number 36 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number seven on the Top R&B Albums chart.[6] It eventually sold over three million copies domestically and produced three top ten singles. Debut single "Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)" and second single "Before You Walk out of My Life"/"Like This and Like That", a double-A-single, both entered the top ten of the official Billboard Hot 100 and simultaneously became platinum-certified number-one hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, making Monica the youngest artist ever to have two consecutive chart-topping hits on latter chart.[7][8] The album subsequently won Monica a Billboard Music Award, also earning her an American Music Award nomination in the category Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist.[8]

1998-1999: The Boy Is Mine

After graduating from high school at age sixteen with a 4.0 GPA in 1997 and a label change to Clive Davis's Arista Records, Arnold's mainstream success was boosted, when Diane Warren-written "For You I Will," from the Space Jam soundtrack, became her next top ten pop hit.[8] Later that year, Monica also collaborated with Whitney Houston, Faith Evans, Johnny Gill and among others on the single "Somebody Bigger Than You and I," released from the The Preacher's Wife soundtrack.

The following year she was asked to team up with singer Brandy and producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins to record "The Boy Is Mine", the first single from both of their second albums. Released in May 1998, surrounding highly publicized rumors about a real-life catfight between both singers,[9] the duet became both the biggest hit of the summer and the biggest hit of 1998 in general in America,[10] spending record-breaking thirteen weeks on top of the Billboard charts, eventually garnered the pair a Grammy Award for "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal", and garnering multi-platinum sales of the single (to date, it remains as one of the top twenty most successful American singles in history based on Billboard chart success).[10] Jermaine Dupri, David Foster and Austin consulted on the album The Boy Is Mine, which was released later that year and eventually became Monica’s biggest-selling album, selling over three million copies in the United States alone. It yielded another two U.S. number-one hits with "The First Night" and "Angel of Mine," a cover of Eternal's 1997 single, as well as a remake of Richard Marx' "Right Here Waiting." Rolling Stone Magazine proclaimed it as "closer to soul's source ... hearking back past hip-hop songbirds like Mary J. Blige and adult-contemporary sirens like Toni Braxton",[11] while Allmusic called the album an "irresistible sounding [and] immaculately crafted musical backdrop [...] as good as mainstream urban R&B gets in 1998."[12]

2000-2002: All Eyez on Me

In 2000, Monica contributed chorus vocals for "I've Got to Have It", a collaboration with Jermaine Dupri and rapper Nas. Released as the Big Momma's House theme song, the song saw minor success in the United States only. The following year, she relased the Ric Wake production track "Just Another Girl", recorded for the Down to Earth soundtrack, as a single.

A year later, Arnold channeled much of her heavily media-discussed experiences into the production of her third studio album, All Eyez on Me, her first release on mentor Clive Davis newly-founded J Records label. "I just wanted to give the people back something that had personal passion, instead of just, 'Oh, let's dance to this record,'" she said about the issues worked into the tracks.[2] Yet the first single released from the project was "All Eyez on Me," a Rodney Jerkins-produced R&B-dance song which saw minor to moderate success on the charts.[2] A follow-up song, "Too Hood," also got a lukewarm response and as a result, the album's tentative release was pushed back several times.[2] "I don't think people wanted to hear a big fun record from me, after knowing all the things that I had personally experienced," Monica second-guessed her new material which saw both early and heavy bootlegging via internet at that time.[2]

2003-2004: After the Storm

After the Japan-wide release of All Eyez on Me Monica was asked to substantially reconstruct the record with a host of new producers, and as a result the singer re-entered recording studios to start work with songwriters Kanye West, Jazze Pha, Andre "mrDEYO" Deyo, Bam & Ryan and Dupri-replacing executive producer Missy Elliott.[13] Finally released in June 2003, After the Storm debuted at number one on Billboard`s Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart, and on top of the official Billboard 200, with sales of 186,000 copies emerging as Monica's first and only number-one album to date. it eventually received a gold certification, and has sold over one million copies domestically.[14] Media reception of the CD was generally enthusiastic, with the Allmusic saying the album "has all the assuredness and smart developments that should keep Monica's younger longtime followers behind her — all the while holding the ability to appeal to a wider spectrum of R&B and hip-hop fans."[15]

The album's lead single, Elliott-penned "So Gone", was one of Monica's biggest commercial successes in years, becoming her first top ten single since 1999's "Angel of Mine". In addition, it reached the top position of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks and Hot Dance Club Play charts.[16] Subsequently, After the Storm spawned another three singles, with final single "U Should've Known Better" reaching number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100.[17]

2005-2007: The Makings of Me

Returning from yet another musical hiatus, Monica's fourth studio album The Makings of Me was released on October 3, 2006 in the United States. The Makings of Me debuted at number one on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart, and at number 8 on the official Billboard 200, with moderately successful first week sales of 92,935 copies; so far the album has sold over 500,000 copies domestically,[18] making it Monica's lowest selling album to date. Titled after Curtis Mayfield's song "The Makings of You," the ten tracks short album saw her particularly reuniting with Elliott, Dupri, and Bryan Michael Cox. Arnold described the album her most mature and versatile effort to date: "This album is very, very different from the other ones, because of me personally," she said to MTV News. "Now, at 26, the way I look at things, even relationships, I was really able to involve more of my life experiences in the album."[19] The Makings of Me received a positive reception from most professional music critics, with Allmusic calling it a "concise and mostly sweet set of songs"[20] and Entertainment Weekly declaring it "a solid addition" to Monica's discography, widely comparing it to 2003 After the Storm due to its "excellent songwriting and song production."[21]’s Mark Edward Nero however, cited a "lack of emotion" in Monica's powerful voice, also criticising the shortness of the album.[22] The album's lead single, "Everytime Tha Beat Drop", becoming her least successful lead single since 2002's "All Eyez on Me",[23] reaching its peak position of number 11 on theBillboards R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The song became Monica's tenth top 20 entry on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks chart.[23] The second and third singles, "A Dozen Roses (You Remind Me)" and "Sideline Ho", underquoted this success with peak positions of number 48 and 45 respectively on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, never making it to the official Hot 100. A fourth single, "Hell No (Leave Home)" was serviced to U.S. radios on May 14, 2007, achieving similar success.

2008-present: Still Standing

For now, Arnold is writing and putting songs together for her ninth studio album, titled Still Standing.[24] The album will follow the debut of her same-titled reality series on the BET network on October 5, 2009.[25][26] So far, the singer has worked with producers Bryan Michael Cox, Babyface, Drumma Boy and Stargate and rapper Ludacris.[27][28] Her team also is in negotiations with Keyshia Cole, Ne-Yo, Polow da Don, and R. Kelly to contribute to Still Standing.[27] In an interview with Versus Magazine, Lil Jon moreover recently stated that he was "about to do some work with Monica."[29] Productionwise, the album is expected to orient on earlier projects: "I am going back to where I started," Monica said in an interview with Concrete Loop.[30] "The next album I would like people to get more songs like "Why I Love You So Much," "Angel of Mine," or the things they really, really love from me ..."[31] Although the debut episode of the reality television show Monica: The Single on Peachtree TV and BET was filmed to promote the release of the album, which is slated for release Valentine's Day 2009. The album is now currently scheduled for a release date on March 23, 2010.[26] A buzz single for the project was released in late 2008, Still Standing and received minimal airplay peaking at #74 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart. The first official single from the project was finally released in January, 2010. Titled Everything To Me, the single instantly gained success on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, shooting up to #3 two months after its release. It debut at #82 on the official Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart where it has currently peaked at #56 as of the chart dated March 27, 2010.

In addition, Monica is also taking on the fashion industry by designing a line of boys clothing called Regions of Rock. She describes the gear as an "urban rock" line of clothing for infants to kids up to size 20.[32]

Acting career

In the mid 90' on Monica made her acting debut on an episode of Living Single. In 2000, Monica made her sensational film debut in the third drama from MTV Films film Love Song, as Camille Livingston, a young woman torn between the life her parents have planned for her and the world she experiences after meeting a musician from the wrong side of the tracks. The film debut the song "What My Heart Says" with promotion of her third album All Eyez on Me (2002). The film was released on April 30, 2002.

Arnold's acting was shared as guest appearances on several television shows such as Living Single (1996), Beverly Hills, 90210 (1997, 1999), Felicity (2001), and American Dreams (2003) playing Mary Wells, singing "My Guy". Also in her big-screen movie career, in 2006, she made a cameo appearance in the American comedy-drama film ATL, playing the Waffle House waitress. With completion of Rockmond Dunbar-produced upcoming film Pastor Brown, in 2009, Monica joined the production of her own upcoming BET series Monica: Still Standing due to premiere on BET Tuesday, October 27 at 10/9c.[33]

Personal life

Monica's career saw troubles between the years 2001 and 2003, during which time she dealt with more personal tribulations including an up-and-down relationship with former fiancé Corey "C-Murder" Miller and the suicide of her boyfriend Jarvis "Knot" Weems, a local drug dealer[2] and her childhood friend. On July 18, 2000, the couple was together at the graveside of Weems's brother Troy, who had died in an automobile accident at age 25 in 1998, when Weems, without warning, put a gun to his head and shot himself to death.[2] Devastated, Monica spent the first few months after his death in denial and depression, later lessened by spiritual guidance from her parents. "Afterward, I felt, 'What else could I have done?' You replay that situation over and over and you switch it around: Maybe if I had said this, or if I would have done that,'" she said in an interview with the Enquirer the following year. "It's just something that it's never possible for me to go back and change."[2]

Having previously refreshed her on and off-going relationship with rapper Rodney "Rocko" Hill, Jr., whom she had actually dated since the age of nineteen, the couple welcomed a son into the world on May 21, 2005.[34] Nicknamed Lil Rocko, the child was officially named Rodney Ramone Hill III, after his father.[34] Arnold and Hill became officially engaged on Christmas Eve 2007.[34] On January 8, 2008, the singer gave birth to her second child, a son named Romello Montez , who was named after Monica's younger brother.[35]

Monica has close relationships with fellow R&B singer Keyshia Cole, who is the godmother of her second child Romelo. Monica is also close friends with Mia X.As of March 2010, Monica confirmed via twitter that her and fiance Rocko split over personal reasons.



Year Film Role Notes
2000 Boys and Girls Katie Supporting Role
Love Song Camille Livingston Lead Role
2006 ATL Waffle House Waitress Cameo Role
2010 Pastor Brown Lisa Cross Post-production


  • All That (3 episodes; 1995, 1997, 1999) - Herself
  • American Dreams (1 episode; 2003) - Special
  • Beverly Hills, 90210 (2 episodes; 1997, 1999) - Herself
  • Felicity (1 episode; 2001) - Sarah Robinson
  • Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is (3 episodes; 2006–2008) - Herself
  • Living Single (1 episode; 1996) - Marissa
  • The Single: Monica (1 episode; 2008) - Special
  • Monica: Still Standing (12 episodes; 2009–2010) - Herself


The singer achieved worldwide success in 1998 with her album The Boy Is Mine, and hits "The Boy Is Mine", "For You I Will", and "So Gone". The singer received her first awards at 1996 "Billboard Music Award" for R&B Artist of the Year. She was later nominated for a Grammy for Record of the Year. The first single from The Boy Is Mine as self-title, was a hit, reaching number one in multiple countries including Canada, New Zealand and on the Billboard Hot 100. Both singers won five Billboard Music Award for "The Boy Is Mine" with Top Dance Maxi-Single, Best Clip, and Top 100 Singles Sales and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group.

See also


  1. ^ John Bush (2008). "Monica on MSN". MSN. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Nekesa Mumbi Moody (2003-06-27). ""Monica triumphs over tragedy After the Storm"". Enquirer. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  3. ^ Craig Seymour. Monica - Pain Is Love. January 27, 2002. Retrieved December 16, 2006.
  4. ^ Monica on Growing Up. Ebony Magazine. August 2000. Retrieved December 16, 2006
  5. ^ Monica: Biography. Retrieved December 16, 2006.
  6. ^ a b Ewey, Melissa (1998-09-01). "Monica: Miss Thang Grows Up". Ebony. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  7. ^ a b Christian, Margena A. (2003-07-28). "Monica: Shares life's lessons on new CD After The Storm". Jet. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  8. ^ a b c "Monica Proves She Has Staying Power With Hit Album, `The Boy Is Mine'". Jet. 1999-17-19. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  9. ^ ""Monica Bio"". Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  10. ^ a b "RIAA". Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  11. ^ "The Boy Is Mine album review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  12. ^ "The Boy Is Mine album review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  13. ^ Jon Wiederhorn (2003-03-31). ""Missy, DMX, Tyrese To Give Monica's New LP Extra Oomph"". MTV News. Retrieved 2006-02-10. 
  14. ^ "Ask Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 2006-02-10. 
  15. ^ Kellman, Andy. "After the Storm review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  16. ^ ""Gone Good to Go"". Billboard. 2003-06-20. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  17. ^ "U Should've Known Better". A-Charts. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  18. ^ "Ask Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  19. ^ ""Monica Overcomes Pregnancy Rumors, Ex-Boyfriend's Suicide To Form Makings Of Me"". MTV News. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  20. ^ Andy Kellman. "The Makings of Me review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  21. ^ Ryan Dombal (2008-09-29). "The Makings of Me review". Entertainment Weekly.,,1540569,00.html. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  22. ^ Mark Edward Nero. "The Makings of Me review". Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  23. ^ a b "Artist Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  24. ^ "Romelo and fLil' Rock"". EURweb. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  25. ^ Crosley, Hillary (2008-12-15). "Monica Gets Busy On Sixth Album". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-12-17. 
  26. ^ a b "Monica Shouts Out Fans & AT&T Appearance". MySpace. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  27. ^ a b ""Monica Speaks On New Album"". That Grape Juice. Retrieved 2008-04-13. 
  28. ^ ""Behind the Scenes - Monica: The Single"". SandraRose. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  29. ^ ""Q+A with Lil Jon"". Versus Magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-13. 
  30. ^ ""Moch Back to Ballads"". Concrete Loop. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  31. ^ "Monica Interview". Sister2Sister Magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  32. ^ ""Exclusive: Monice 'Still Standing' (Part II)"". Straight From The A. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  33. ^ Official BET show page BET Coming Soon
  34. ^ a b c Necole Bitchie (2008-08-08). "Monica Speaks on Life, Love and Reality shows". Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  35. ^ "Monica welcomes second son". EURweb. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 

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