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Artist Spotlight: Victoria Monét’s artistry shines within R&B

Victoria Monét has always been on the cusp of fame throughout her career, working with major artists like Ariana Grande and Brandy. Earning Grammy Award nominations in the past for her work as a songwriter, the singer-songwriter is now earning the same nominations for her most recent album, “JAGUAR II.”

After earning seven Grammy nominations for the record, how did Monét finally get the recognition she deserves, especially from the mainstream, so rapidly? Most likely, it was a result of her hard work, drive and vision for her artistry, which can sometimes be hard to establish in a strong, male-dominated field like R&B.

Monét entered the music industry while living in Sacramento, taking dance classes in the city’s widely popular hip-hop scene. Eventually, she began to grow outside of dance, writing poetry and then turning her works into songs. Producing songs in her friend’s bedroom, Monét started to upload them to platforms like MySpace.

MySpace allowed for the singer to collaborate with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, who had worked with acts like Britney Spears, Brandy and TLC. As one of the early 2000s most prominent pop and R&B producers, Monét saw her work with Jerkins as the turning point in her career.

However, the singer faced a few obstacles after Jerkins invited her to audition for a girl group he was trying to make called Purple Reign. Moving to Los Angeles after getting the gig, the group recorded 21 songs for its debut album but was dropped by Motown Records before ever releasing it. 

Distraught and discouraged, Monét moved back to Sacramento and focused more on songwriting and strived to work with some of the producers she met while recording with Purple Reign. She landed her first songwriting opportunity on 2010’s “I Hate That You Love Me” from Diddy - Dirty Money’s album “Last Train To Paris.” She also sang on songs for other artists like Nas and T.I. 

In 2013, she was paired with Ariana Grande, who was slowly gaining a following for her work outside of Nickelodeon. Together, they worked on Grande’s first album “Yours Truly,” and since then, the pair have continued to work together on the rest of her albums such as 2018’s “Sweetener” and 2019’s “thank u, next.”

Two years later, Monét dropped her first album, titled “Nightmares & Lullabies Act 2,” but the album didn’t receive much traction. Other albums to follow like 2018’s “Life After Love, Pt.1” and “Life After Love, Pt.2” saw the singer expand her writing in her personal life, but her albums to come would become her strongest works to date.

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Monét still came onto the R&B scene strong after years of putting her songwriting first, releasing “JAGUAR” in 2020. Reminiscent of the early 2000s sounds the singer grew up on, the album was highly praised by outlets like Vice Media and Pitchfork, with both predicting Monét would be an artist to watch out for in the coming years.

And these publications were right, as Monét is now one of the most talked about artists this year for the follow-up to “JAGUAR,” “JAGUAR II.” With only 11 tracks, the album has become beloved by many in and outside of mainstream music for the singer’s newfound confidence, evident in tracks like “On My Mama” and “Stop (Askin’ Me 4Shyt).”

Monét said she found inspiration from artists like *Beyoncé, centering much of the album around female empowerment, confidence and her own culture, making it one of the more diverse records to come from 2023.

Pitchfork wrote in a review of the album, “It’s the rare species of pop-soul that evokes a real sense of spiritual uplift: We’re not just succeeding, we’re made for better things.”

The album also has noteworthy collaborations from legacy artists like Earth, Wind & Fire, Buju Banton and heartwarming moments, particularly with her daughter on “Hollywood.” Overall, it has proven how much Monét has grown as an artist, not holding herself back any longer.

Overall, Victoria Monét is not only a credited songwriter but an extremely successful singer and performer, finally getting the credit she deserves.


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