|Birth Name:||Monica Denise Arnold|
|Born:||1980 10, mf=yes|
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
|Genre:||R&B, hip hop soul, pop|
|Occupation:||Singer, songwriter, actress|
|Associated Acts:||Dallas Austin, Ciara, Brandy, Keyshia Cole, Jermaine Dupri, Missy Elliott, Ludacris, Mia X, Rocko|
Monica Denise Arnold (born October 24, 1980), professionally known as Monica, is an American R&B singer, songwriter, and occasional actress. She debuted in 1995 under the guidance of Rowdy Records head Dallas Austin and became the youngest recording act to ever have two consecutive chart-topping hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Following a major success with "The Boy Is Mine," a duet with singer Brandy, in 1998, a series of hit records established her position as one of the most successful of the new breed of urban R&B female vocalists to emerge in the mid-to late 1990s.
Her popularity was in decline between the early 2000s, during which time she dealt with more personal tribulations including the suicide of her boyfriend Jarvis "Knot" Weems, a tumultuous relationship with former fiancé Corey "C-Murder" Miller and the delay of her heavily-bootlegged third album, All Eyez on Me. In 2003 Monica eventually released After the Storm, and after an unsuccessful period, she scored her sixth number-one hit "So Gone."
After giving birth to her first child, Rodney Ramone Hill III, in May 2005, and another short hiatus, Monica released her fourth studio album, The Makings of Me in October 2006. While maintaining a recording career Arnold has also gained fame for appearing in several film and television productions, including supporting roles in big screen motion pictures Boys and Girls (2000) and ATL (2006) and a starring role in the MTV Films telefilm Love Song (2000).
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. She has one brother named Montez (born 1983), and two maternal half-brothers, Tron and Cypress. Arnold is also a cousin-in-law of Atlanta rapper Christopher Brian Bridges, better known as Ludacris.
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. Monica also became a frequent talent show contestant, winning over twenty local singing competitions throughout her early teenage years.
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 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. 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."
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. Nicknamed Lil Rocko, the child was officially named Rodney Ramone Hill III, after his father.
Arnold and Hill became officially engaged on Christmas Eve 2007. On January 8, 2008, the singer gave birth to her second child, a son named Romello Montez on January 8, 2008, who was named after Monica's younger brother.
In 1991, at the age of eleven, Arnold was discovered by music producer Dallas Austin at the Center Stage auditorium in Atlanta. 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. Shortly afterwards Dallas and Arnold entered the studio to start writing and producing her debut Miss Thang.
After years of recording Monica's debut album, co-produced by Daryl Simmons, Tim & Bob and Soulshock & Karlin, was released to mixed reviews on July 18, 1995. While the longplayer debuted at a moderately successful 36 on the U.S.'s Billboard 200 chart only, Miss Thang soon became a triple platinum success thanks to constant sales and the success of its singles: Pre-released "Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)" and double-A-single "Before You Walk out of My Life/Like This and Like That" both entered the top 10 of the official 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.
A second double-A-side single (and top 10 single), "Why I Love You So Much/Ain't Nobody", the latter being an appearance on The Nutty Professor, soundtrack maintained Monica's popularity in music and on music video channels through 1996 - the same year she went on tour with R&B and hip hop groups TLC and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
After graduating 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 movie soundtrack, became her next top 10 pop hit.
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, the duet became both the biggest hit of the summer and the biggest hit of 1998 in general in America, spending a total of 13 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart 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).
Jermaine Dupri, David Foster and Austin consulted on the album The Boy Is Mine, which was released later that year and became Monica's most successful worldwide. 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", while Allmusic called the album an "irresistible sounding [and] immaculately crafted musical backdrop [...] as good as mainstream urban R&B gets in 1998."
After the album's final single release Arnold primarily focused on recording soundtracks. In 2000 she contributed chorus vocals for "I've Got to Have It", a collaboration with Jermaine Dupri and rapper Nas which sampled Peter Gabriel's 1986 number-one hit "Sledgehammer." Released as the Big Momma's House theme song, the song saw minor success in the United States only.
Monica also started appearing in films and showed interest in acting. She starred in Love Song and was featured on Boys and Girls in 2000.
In 2001, Monica released "Just Another Girl", a song she had recorded for the Down to Earth soundtrack. The single fared better, but failed to reach the top 50 of the U.S. Hot 100. 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. 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. 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. "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.
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-relapcing executive producer Missy Elliott. Finally released on June 17, 2003, "After the Storm" debuted at number two 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. After the Storm eventually received a gold certification for more than 500,000 copies shipped to stores, and has sold about one million copies domestically. 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." The album's lead single, "So Gone", was one of Monica's biggest commercial successes in years, becoming her first top 10 single since 1999's "Angel of Mine"; it also reached the top position of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks and Hot Dance Club Play charts. The second sinlge became a sequal of "So Gone", A double-A-side single "Knock Knock/Get It Off, saw minor to moderate success only with peak positions of number seventy-five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number twenty-four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The fourth and final single "U Should've Known Better" became Arnold's first balladic release in over five years. The single reached number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 6 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, making it the album's most successful release behind leading single "So Gone".
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 Billboards 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 314,000 copies domestically, 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." 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" 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." About.com’s Mark Edward Nero however, cited a "lack of emotion" in Monica's powerful voice, also criticising the shortness of the album. The album's lead single, "Everytime Tha Beat Drop", becoming her least successful lead single since 2002's "All Eyez on Me." , reaching its peak position of number 11 on the "Billboard"'s R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The song became Monica's tenth top 20 entry on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks chart. 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.
In October 2007, Monica renewed her contract with J Records.
For now, Arnold is writing and putting songs together for her fifth studio album, entitled Still Standing. Although a release date has not yet been confirmed, and is currently scheduled for a release in the first quarter of 2009. So far, the singer has worked with producers Bryan Michael Cox, Babyface, Drumma Boy and Stargate and rapper Ludacris.  Her team also is in negoations with Keyshia Cole, Ne-Yo, Polow da Don, and R. Kelly to contribute to Still Standing. In an interview with Versus Magazine, Lil Jon moreover recently stated that he was "about to do some work with Monica." 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. "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 ..." 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's leading single, no track has been picked yet, as the label and the singer were not in agreement with the album's title track "Still Standing" becoming the first single.  As a result, Monica set up additional sessions with longtime contributor Missy Elliott in hopes to find a new single.
In addition, Monica is also taking on the fashion industry by designing a high-end 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.
See main article: List of Monica awards and nominations.
See main article: Monica discography.