R&B Singer Monica Biography

Singer Monica
Prince Williams/WireImage/Getty Images

Monica Denise Brown (née Arnold), known simply as Monica, was born on October 24, 1980, in Atlanta. Her parents are M.C. "Billy" Arnold Jr. and Marilyn Best. She has a younger brother, Montez, one paternal half-brother, and two maternal half-brothers. Her parents divorced in 1987.

She grew up in College Park, Ga. Her mother, a church singer, encouraged Monica to perform with their church choir. When she was 10 she became the youngest member of Charles Thompson and the Majestics, a traveling gospel choir. She spent her teenage years honing her singing abilities by participating in local talent shows, winning more than 20 competitions.

In 1992, when she was 12 years old, Monica was discovered by Atlanta-based music producer Dallas Austin. He offered her a deal with his label Rowdy Records, distributed by Arista.

Debut Album

Her debut album, Miss Thang, was released in July 1995. It peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart and No. 36 on the Billboard 200. It produced the Top Ten singles "Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)" and "Before You Walk Out of My Life," making her the youngest artist ever to have two consecutive No. 1's on the R&B Singles chart. Miss Thang went triple platinum and earned her a Billboard Music Award.

In 1996 she graduated from high school with a reported grade point average of 4.0.

"The Boy Is Mine"

Rumors surfaced of a feud between Monica and fellow R&B teen star Brandy. They both denied the allegations and teamed up to record the single "The Boy Is Mine," which was included on each of their second albums. It was issued in 1998 and became the year's biggest hit, spending a record-breaking 13 weeks atop the Hot 100. It also earned them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. To this day "The Boy Is Mine" remains one of the top 20 most successful singles in Billboard chart history.


Following the release of The Boy Is Mine, which became Monica's biggest-selling album, she took time off from singing to pursue an acting career. She starred in the television shows Living Single, Felicity, and Beverly Hills, 90210, and she made her first film appearance in the MTV film Love Song.

The film debuted her song "What My Heart Says," which was meant to coincide with the release of her 2002 album All Eyez on Me. Due to a lackluster reaction to the first two singles (including the title track), plus heavy bootlegging, All Eyez on Me was only released in Japan. She was sent back to the studio to rerecord, armed with a team of new producers and songwriters that included Kanye West.

A revamped version was eventually released in 2003, aptly titled After the Storm. The album debuted at No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and Billboard 200, marking her first (and only) number one album. Critical reception was positive, and her noticeably more mature sound and production kept longtime fans on board and appealed to new ones.

Reality Show & Album

In 2006 Monica released her fourth effort The Makings of Me. Despite earning positive reviews and debuting at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, it was the least commercially successful album of her career.

In an attempt to revive her career she starred in the BET reality show Monica: Still Standing, which documented her personal life and the making of her upcoming album Still Standing. Fortunately, the TV show paid off: Still Standing, released in 2010, became her highest-charting album in years, strengthened by the singles "Everything to Me" and "So Gone."


Monica released her seventh studio album, New Life, in 2012. Its soulful, inspired sound pleased listeners, and it spawned the singles "Anything (To Find You)," "Until It's Gone" and "It All Belongs to Me," another duet with Brandy.

That same year Monica began working on her eighth studio album, Code Red, which is expected to be released in 2015.

Personal Life

Monica's life took a dramatic turn in 2000. She and boyfriend Jarvis Weems were visiting the gravesite of his deceased brother when Weems, without warning, pulled out a gun and committed suicide.

Shortly after she met Rodney Hill, a former SWA officer and real estate manager. The couple has two sons together: Rodney Ramone Hill III and Romelo Montez Hill. They became engaged in 2007 but ended up calling it off.

In 2010 Monica met NBA player Shannon Brown when she was casting a love interest for the music video for "Love All Over Me." Soon after they started dating and they wed later that year. On September 3, 2013, she gave birth to their first child together, Laiyah Shannon Brown.

Popular Songs

  • "Angel of Mine" 
  • "Love All Over Me" 
  • "Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)" 
  • "Before You Walk Out of My Life" 
  • "So Gone" Download/Purchase
  • "U Should've Known Better"


  • Miss Thang (1995)
  • The Boy Is Mine (1998)
  • After the Storm (2003)
  • The Makings of Me (2006)
  • Still Standing (2010)
  • New Life (2012)
  • Code Red (2015)