Monifah – Interview

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Monifah

The day after the presidential election Monifah and I talked a little smack!

Are you watching this election mess?

I’m on pins and needles, and honestly I don’t want to know anything about it until they know who is president. (laughs)

How’s life?

Good. I’m feeling great. I’m confident and optimistic about this record.

How long was Home in the works?

Four months.

Was that a long time for you?

Not really, because we recorded it in one place, so I wasn’t rushing. I was in there doing it every day. Actually, I was the most comfortable I ever had been.

What was it like working with Teddy Riley?

It was incredible. He was so enthusiastic about the project. Once he heard me sing live, he didn’t really know I could sing and thought he’d have to put a lot things on it, he was so impressed. But I was really impressed with him. He’s incredible.

Was it in his studio in Virginia Beach?

How did you two come together?

The guy who did “Touch It” suggested that Teddy do the album. He’s never oversaw a female project totally and it would be great for me. It was the next level for me. Teddy’s getting more work because of my album and shit. They’re breaking down his door now. (we both laugh)

I noticed both your name and Teddy’s in the credits for producing and writing. Did you do a lot of the work in the studio?

Well, a lot of the material was already written and tracks were done, but I co-wrote three songs on the album.

Was he sending you beats at home or did you come in surprised?

We knew what we were going to do. Some did come as a surprise. He came to me with stuff he already had and I loved it.

What was the thoughts behind the skits?

I really put those in there because I wanted to show my personality. It was important to me. I wanted to give people a sense of who I am, who Mo really is. I just wanted to clown and stuff like that.

I was thinking that when I listened, because it’s tough for people to know you from songs someone else may have written, which doesn’t give us a good sense of you as a person.

Right. That’s why I really wanted to do that.

When you decided to work with Teddy, was it important that he give you the opportunities to be involved in production?

I do think it’s important to realize this is a business and I want to be involved with everything.

You were away for four months and called the album Home, which you say is important. Was it tough being gone for so long?

Well, yeah. It was really a spiritual thing though. I think everyone goes through a process of growing up and I think I went through one again this time. It was very peaceful and enlightening to me. I got all my priorities straight and home was just a place you could be yourself, scratch your ass or whatever, and that is part of what I wanted to get across so that is why I called this album Home.

What do you think the misconceptions are about you?

I don’t really think there are many misconceptions about me because most people don’t really know me, but I think people need to have something to know me.

I was talking to someone today and said that I had an interview with you and they were like, ‘She’s got no problem getting nasty.’ Is that one of the misconceptions?

You are right. That is the misconception. They think I’m this sexpot. That is a side of me, I like to be sexy and feel sexy, but I’m goofy and I really don’t take myself that seriously. I’m really a regular person. I like to have fun. That is such a small part of me. I just want people to know that I think about things more than just sex and that I have feelings.

Do you ever go back to your old songs and think, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize I was thinking about that’?

Yeah, I do. I just did it recently with my second album. I was like, ‘Yo, I was bugging.’

With Home it was a lot more innuendo.

Exactly.

“Home” is really…

Haunting. It’s like a Negro spiritual.

It’s just this chilling kind of song. Was that song part of giving yourself to the listener?

Yes. It really encompasses the kinds of music that I enjoy. It gave me a chance to do something with jazz. It took me somewhere else, but it was still R&B. R&B isn’t what they are trying to make us think it is. You don’t find character in music anymore.

+ charlie craine

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