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Monica has been turning heads with her gorgeous looks and her angelic voice since she was only a child. However, this industry vet says it feels like it was only yesterday when she started paying her dues.

“It’s funny, when you start that young, you don’t feel like you’re a veteran of anything,” Monica said in an interview with Smokey Fontaine for the latest episode of InterludesLIVE. “But when you think about the amount of time that you’ve worked and prepared for different things, you can feel the time—but not in a bad way.”

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Monica had a very different upbringing because of her dedication to her singing career. Still, even though she couldn’t do normal things growing up like go to prom or walk the stage at graduation, she says it was all worth it because she was living out her dream.

The “Don’t Take It Personal” singer described being discovered at the tender age of 11 in Atlanta after singing “Greatest Love Of All” for a talent show audition. Even though she was seven years too young to join the show, judges accepted her anyway because of her immensely beautiful voice.

During an intimate performance at Mist Harlem, Monica gave a rousing performance of “For You I Will,” her classic 90s song from the Space Jam soundtrack and her 1998 album, The Boy Is Mine. With her sleek, blood red hair laid to the Gods and her crisp and classy, navy blue outfit looking fierce under the spotlights, Monica has never looked (or sounded) better. We couldn’t keep our eyes off of her for the whole performance.

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Monica went on to discuss the things that keep her motivated as a singer year after year.

“I think my gratefulness keeps me in this place…[and] thinking of different things to do to keep the authenticity and the connection between me and the audience.”

She believes that her efforts to talk about motherhood and building a life with her husband is what keeps her relatable to her fans.

“I absolutely live for music…It’s this thing that kind of reminds us that we’re all of the same. Different occupations—but we’re all the same.”

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