R&B songstress Monica is working on her first-ever country album.
The “Angel of Mine” hitmaker may be known for a string of pop hits but she reveals to Billboard her next project sees her collaborating with country stars like Brandi Carlile.
“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 explains. “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. 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. We’re just getting started but I have so enjoyed it and been welcomed with open arms.”
The singer also recently teamed up with Jimmie Allen and Little Big Town on the track “Pray” off Allen’s latest release Bettie James Gold Edition.
“Jimmie Allen is an incredible guy who loves his family and knows they’ve brought him through a tremendous amount of things,” she tells Billboard. “That’s what we related most about… I met Little Big Town when Brandi Carlile and I were in the studio working on my country album — it may be out before the end of the year — and I heard harmonies up the hallway. That turned into them participating on ‘Pray’, so it was one of those real organic situations after Jimmie called me about doing the record.”