After nearly three 30 years of belting out R&B songs, Monica is trying out another genre. During a recent interview with Billboard, the “Boy is Mine” singer revealed she’s in the process of working on a country album, noting her love for country music started as a young child.
“I grew up loving country music and my stepfather, who raised me, is a Methodist minister, but he also drove buses, and he would take us to Nashville, Gatlinburg and Dollywood in Tennessee,” she explained. “I became a really big fan of Dolly Parton at about eight or nine years old. That was my real introduction to country music.”
“Shortly after, it was Kenny Rogers,” Monica continued. “I started listening to the depth of the songs and the fact that they were unafraid to say whatever it was they felt. I felt like this was a great time for me to really step into an area that I’ve always admired and loved.” The singer added that she’s been welcomed into the genre with “open arms,” receiving features on records with Jimmie Allen, Little Big Town, Dolly Parton, Rita Wilson and Sara Evans.
Monica is the latest artist to actively express her interest in country music with the release of her own country record. Lil Nas X’s debut single “Old Town Road” landed him a feature from Billy Ray Cyrus, who appeared on the remix to the song.
Nelly — who released the Tim McGraw-assisted “Over and Over” — is preparing to drop another country-inspired album. Dolly Parton penned a record for K. Michelle’s forthcoming country project, and even H.E.R dropped “Hold On” — a track she performed with Chris Stapleton at the CMT Awards earlier this year.
“R&B and soul music is the foundation of country music,” H.E.R. explained while accepting the Best Female R&B/Pop Artist at the BET Awards 2021. “There wouldn’t be a lot of those other genres if it was not for Black music.”