Ashley Blackwell interviews Funk Rock Artist, Sapphire Monet, Talks Finding Herself & Her Purpose Through Her Music
Sapphire Monet, a name as unique as the talent that follows. Singing her way from the Bed-Stuy community of Brooklyn, New York, Sapphire Monet is a Funk Rock singer-songwriter with a funky attitude and an even funkier sound. Her soul-grabbing vocals and magnetic stage presence, alone, is enough to stun any crowd. This young lady was made for the mic, gifted with a vocal range out of this world. An independent artist with a strong voice and an even stronger love for the art of music, her passion reflects throughout every song that she sings and every lyric that she writes. Known for her impressive way of creating genre-blending tunes, Sapphire Monet is a rising star with a talent too big and too bright to be overshadowed.
Monet began singing at the age of two. It was her sassy, yet soulful, ambiance that led many to believe that, even at that early age, she had the gift of music running through her veins. As she grew older, music became her safe haven, using it as a gateway to free her thoughts. By the time she was seven, Monet was already honing her skills, learning to read music and making singing her sole focus. It wasn’t long before she then began writing poetry. Letting her hands move swiftly with the pen and her words flow freely as they came, writing was her escape. With inspiration from generational favorites, such as Jimi Hendrix, Chaka Khan, James Brown, and Erykah Badu, those words of poetry soon turned into songs, songs that she would later begin singing.
However, it wasn’t until she was twenty-one that she decided to turn her creative outlet into her career path. Since then, Funk Rock has been Monet’s way of self-expression, giving listeners a sense of freedom by crafting a liberating sound within every melody.
With her sultry and eccentric style and killer pipes, Sapphire Monet is definitely one to watch out for.
Check out our interview with Brooklyn’s own, Sapphire Monet…
Parlé Mag: The last time we spoke with you was almost two years ago. So, catch us up on what you’ve been working since then. Sapphire Monet: Well, I’ve been working on my EP, which will be out this summer. I’ve also been working on a showcase—a live showcase, to showcase my music and some different things, different sounds that I have coming out and I’m putting into this EP. New tour, beginning of the year . So, I’m excited about that. That’s pretty much all I’ve been working on.
Parlé Mag: Going back a minute, you actually moved to Los Angeles alone when you first jump-started your career. Do you like Los Angeles? Is it more fast pace than back home in New York? Sapphire Monet: I love Los Angeles! If I could, I would not go back to New York. [laughs] I have everything I needed in California. I don’t think I would go back. No, I wouldn’t. So, yeah, I love California. I love New York; it’s my hometown, but I love California.
Parlé Mag: Haha, I feel you! So, why wouldn’t you move back to New York? I mean, your family is there. Do you ever miss them? Sapphire Monet: I do! But, I got to a point to where I just had to do things for me. I come visit them and I record in New York. When I record, I make sure that I spend time with my family.
Parlé Mag: Let’s get into the music. Now, you discovered your love for singing early on in life. So, I’m gathering that music has always resonated with you. Sapphire Monet: Yes!
Parlé Mag: What initially drew you to do ‘Funk Rock’ music? Sapphire Monet: I was really, really obsessed with Chaka Khan. Every morning, my mom would play her, Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix. So, when I got older, I just got into those two artists—Chaka Khan and Jimi Hendrix. I felt like I didn’t want to be either or; I wanted to be something that represented why I love them so much. Once I figured it out, I was just like, ‘This is me! I come from a family of funk.’ I just have this undying love for rock and roll. That’s how I started it.
Parlé Mag: What type of energy and atmosphere do you strive to offer to the audience at your live performances? Sapphire Monet: I try to offer an experience because I don’t do things like post performances on the web. If someone catches a show and postsit, you know, that’s fine. But, I don’t. I only did that as a marketing strategy then, and it worked for me. So, when people come to my show, I just want to give them something that will make them say, “Okay! I’ll be back” or “I’ll be wherever she is.” I am one, completely, with my band. I’m a totally different person on stage than I am when someone would meet me. That’s only because I’m so in love with live music, and I’m so in love with performing, that I don’t really think about anything else. So, when you see me on stage, you’re going to get a vocal performance; you’re going to get an entertainment performance. You’re going to get an experience of Funk Rock.
Parlé Mag: That’s awesome! So, you also write your own music. I’m sure that while writing you probably get writer’s block a few times, here and there. What do you do when that happens? How do you get yourself into that creative headspace again? Sapphire Monet: Well, I’m a little obsessive when it comes to that. The crazy thing is, I can’t really write words down. So, I will listen to the song for about twenty or thirty times, until I get something, and I’ll get the words. Once I finish that, then I write them down. So, that’s the process, for me, and when I come against writer’s block. Of course, I have amazing friends who I can call and just say, ‘Listen, can you all listen to this track and just give me one word or two words? Something that I can, maybe, draw concept from?”
Parlé Mag: What I love about your sound so much is that it’s fun, it’s free, it’s funky! Have you always been such a free-spirited person and easy to express yourself? If not, what did it take for you to get to that point? Sapphire Monet: No, I wasn’t! It took a bunch of ‘nos’ for me to get to the point that I’m at. I felt like this sound, and the way that I’m doing it, is my freedom; it’s where I escape. Poetry and music are where I escape issues. Within my guitar is how I’m free. So, I can share that with the world through my music. That’s how I became like that. It’s tough skin, and a lot of people don’t want to hear you. It’s just like, ‘Okay, if I’m going to do this, then I need to do it completely free; I need need to do it completely me, and I need to put everything in it.’ That’s when I became this person where I could say, ‘Okay, I don’t care what anyone says.’ If people love my music, then I’ll love the people who love it—and I’ll love the people who don’t.
Parlé Mag: There are so many younger girls, especially of color, out here who are seeking validation from society and could only dream of having the confidence that you exude. How do you want your music to impact them? Sapphire Monet: I would say, spiritually, first. That’s the shift that I’m going in with my NEO TANTRA[EP], because I feel like, if you are free, spiritually—in whatever form you may have, I think that’s the foundation of confidence and being one hundred percent of who you are. Once you have that guiding, it’s like, you have a blueprint or you have some or something—that higher power, there to lead you in the right direction. With your mistakes, you’re confident in that, because it’s your truth—it’s you. So, that’s what I want to convey in my music. Like, if you can just be you and okay with you, your confidence is there by default.
Parlé Mag: Right. Sapphire Monet: It’ll come, and you won’t have to be apologetic about it anymore.
Parlé Mag: You come from a single parent home, which I would assume made you and your mother’s bond even stronger. What part has she played in your career? Sapphire Monet: She’s played THE PART. [laughs] She was the only one who said, “Okay, yeah. I’ll do it. I’m going to back you up. It’s going to be hard. I’m going to tell you the truth; it’s a journey.” But, she taught me how to be tough. I was always quiet and I was always reserved. I went through bad bullying in school. So, they managed to hurt me, but it was always that little person in there who was tough. She always told me, “Listen, you’re running around here like a soft lost puppy, and you need to put on your Tiger gear.” That’s what she used to tell me, ”You need to put on your Tiger gear.”
Parlé Mag: [laughs] Sapphire Monet: Now, knowing how tough your skin has to be, doing entertainment or anything in regards to the art, I have to put on my ‘tiger gear’ every day. That was something I learned from her. There’s no off button, there’s no chill button. There’s no vacation. There’s no nothing, until you get to where you want to be. When you get there, you might not even want to be there anymore. So, that’s what she taught me, just not to settle and always put on your ‘tiger gear’.
Parlé Mag: When you’re not doing music, what do you like to do in your downtime? Sapphire Monet: I like to ride motorcycles!
Parlé Mag: Wow, really? Sapphire Monet: Yeah! I like to ride motorcycles. I like to play football. I used to run track. I’m a foodie; I like to eat. That’s basically it. I have a dog! I’m obsessed with my dog.
Parlé Mag: Nice! Sounds like fun. So, how do you want to be remembered in life? Sapphire Monet: I want to be remembered as courageous and inspirational and liberating. I want people to look at me as the liberation, the authenticity. The everything that we, pretty much, have the least amount of in today’s society. We have the least originality; everyone sounds the same. Everyone feels like they have to look a certain way. You’re not free to be you. So, I want people to see freedom and courage. Aside from everything she had to deal with, she kept going. She kept doing what she had to do because it’s what she loved, and she’s courageous enough to do it. That’s what I want to be remembered for.