"With my third album, I'm getting a chance to express myself in a whole new way. I've been going through different changes people go through in life: the album title 'After the Storm' says it all. I've been through a lot since my last record came out in 1998 -- people close to me passing, dealing with my own development as a young woman who's been in the public eye for ten of my twenty-two years, and figuring out where I was going with my career. I needed time to figure out all those things. I worked with my friend Missy Elliott on several tracks on the album and she and I thought the name for the album describes where I am now. It's about finding the positive in the negative an dfinding the joy within the pain. Now, I'm learning to adjust to the changes I've been through and I can sincerely declare, the storm is over now!"
Indeed, "After the Storm" presents Monica 00 whose illustrious recording career has yielded over ten million album sales, a Grammy Award and numerous accolades -- in a new light: she ventures into new musical areas, co-writing tunes such as the standout "I Wrote This Song" and rapping on two of the four songs superstar hitmaker Missy Elliott produced on the album including the infectious Hot first single, "So Gone." Monica explains, "I wanted to work with someone who could put my ideas into song form. Missy's a friend of mine: I went down to Miami so we could hang together and talk about the vibe of what we wanted to do musically. She has a good understanding of who I am as an artist and as a person. Missy kept telling me that I act like a rapper so she encouraged me to rap on 'So Gone' and 'Knock Knock.' She would put together rhythms and rapping started to become second nature to me..."
"After the Storm" presents different aspects of Monica's musicality, displaying the creative growth she has experienced since her sophomore album "The Boy is Mine," which sold over three million copies and yielded a Grammy-winning No. 1 pop and R&B hit duet with Brandy in the title cut as well as chart-topping singles, "The First Night" and "Angel of Mine." The Jermaine Dupri-produced "You Should've Known Betta" is an album highlight, "the story of a relationship where everything is positive until something negative happens and the guy gets incarcerated."
Produced by Jasper, who she met through longtime musical associate Dallas Austin, the cut "What Part of The Game" is Monica's commentary on today's morality: "I wanted to do a song that asked why people have lost their sense of morals and principles. It seems we have lost sight of what it means to be good examples for each other and the next generation. In the song, I'm asking, what's happened to the principles that our ancestors passed on to us for so long..."
An album filled with different musical flavors, "After the Storm" includes a couple of edgy groove-flavored cuts such as the Missy-produced track, "Get It Off," which Monica says "is a party osng from start to finish!" Love, lost and found, is the running theme for a number of the songs on the album. "That's My Man" is a ballad with an 'old school' feel that was produced by Atlanta-based Jazzy Pha: "To some degree, I may have male bashed on some of my songs," Monica says with a grin. "But I also wanted to give props to men."
A duet with J. Records labelmate Tyrese, "Go To Bed Mad," is self-explanatory. "Hey, that's just something people shouldn't do!" Monica states, noting that the recording experience with St. Louis-based producers Bam & Ryan "was really good. Tyrese and I did the song in one night and I was so grateful that he took time out of his filming schedule to record with me."
"After the Storm" also includes the beautiful ballad, "Don't Gotta Go Home," which features rapper DMX who, Monica says, "comes with honesty in his raps, no fairytales. His lyrics have a depth that works and doing the song was really a special event for me..."
A tune with much personal meaning for Monica, "I Wrote This Song," produced by Soulshock and Karlin, is based on real life: "It took a lot of courage for me to write that one. Writing the song was like a healing experience for me. I knew if I could write about that, I could write about anything..."
No doubt, Monica's third album showcases her natural development as an artist and performer who has created a strong, loyal global audience over the past eight years. No surprise that the Atlanta-born singer and performer has achieved so much in such a short time: a career in music seemed inevitable, for at the tender age of two, Monica was following her mother's footsteps and singing in church. By the time she was nine, Monica was touring with a local gospel group and in 1993, after performing Whitney Houston's classic "The Greatest Love of All" at a talent show organized by female rapper Yo Yo and local DJ Ryan Cameron, the budding vocalist was introduced to producer Dallas Austin who signer her to his Rowdy Records label distributed at the time by Arista.
J Records President Clive Davis (then head of Arista) was immediately impressed with the young teen's vocal prowess and provided the necessary resources to help catapault Monica's exciting debut set "Miss Thang" to multi-platinum status after its release in 1995. The major hit singles, "Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)" and "Before You Walk Out of My Life" gave Monica the distinction of being the youngest female artist ever to have two back-to-back No. 1 hits on Billboard's R&B Singles chart, both also topping the Hot 100 chart and achieving platinum status in the process. A third single from the three million selling album, "Why I Love You So Much" went gold in 1996 and that same year, she performed at The Olympic Games as well as giving audiences nationwide the chance to see her dynamic live show during her first national tour.
In 1997, Monica scored another major success with the track "For You I Will," a million-selling pop and R&B smash single from the "Space Jam" soundtrack. Not content with picking up numerous American Music Award, Soul Train and Billboard Award nominations in the wake of her debut album, Monica reached new heights with the 1998 release of "The Boy is Mine," her duet with Brandy which spent thirteen weeks at No. 1 on the pop charts and eight weeks at No. 1 on the R&B listings, winning a Grammy Award for "Best R&B Performance by a Group or Duo with Vocal." The song also became the title for a hit-filled multi-platinum sophomore album, "The Boy is Mine," which featured three consecutive No. 1 Billboard Pop chart singles, including "The Boy is Mine," "Angel of Mine," and "First Night."
Following the multi-platinum success of "The Boy is Mine," Monica took some time away from touring to focus on expanding her creative skills, specifically in the arena of acting. In 2000, she starred in the MTV movie, "Love Song," portraying a young woman whose life is turned upside down by a New Orleans blues musician. The film featured Monica's recording of the Diane Warren-penned, David Foster-produced "What My Heart Says," which she performed on Regis and Kelly.
Monica's acting credits continued with a role in the 2000 Miramax movie "Boys and Girls" starring Freddie Prinze Jr and Jason Biggs; she was also featured on the best-selling soundtrack for the 2001 Chris Rock movie "Down to Earth" with the lead off single, "Just Another Girl." The recipient of Atlanta's Phoenix Award, named one of "The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World" in 1999 by People magazine and voted one of the "21 Hottest Stars Under 21" by Teen People magazine, Monica has been nominated for Nickelodeon, Teen Choice and Lady Of Soul Awards. She has received an NAACP Image Award and an RIAA Public Service Award and, expressing her commitment to a variety of important charities, Monica has worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Inner City Games and the worldwide "READ" campaign. As a personal gusest of famed fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld of the House of Chanel, Monica went to Paris for an exciting four-day trip that resulted in MTV and Fashion Television tapings.
In 2001, Monica started work on her first album for J Records. The initial version of the album was released in Japan in 2002 but she says, "I felt it needed an extra edge. There were a few topics I didn't get to cover that I wanted to put on the record so I went back into the studio and did several new tracks." The result is an album that truly announces Monica's return as a consistent hitmaker. With winning cuts like "So Gone" and "Knock, Knock," two Missy-Elliott-produced tracks and heartfelt slow jams like "Breaks My Heart" and "Hurts the Most" "After the Storm" takes Monica to the next level in her career: "This is definitely my most personal record. I'm thankful that I took time off to consider what I wanted the audience to have this time around. I didn't want to miss the mark so I dedicated all my time and attention to making the best album I could." One listen to "After the Storm" and no doubt Monica can say, "mission accomplished!"
--- from the official Monica website