Monique Thomas – Colourful (UK Gospel)

New UK Gospel Artist “Monique” sings her highly anticipated single “Colourful”
-JESUS!! “So glad you found me that day!” Life’s no longer dark and gray, but COLOURFUL since you found me!

Monique Thomas:
Monique is a singer, songwriter and the CEO of new independent record label ‘Carte Blanche Records’. Like many other rising talents today she has decided to take the bull by the horns and steer her own destiny through the creation of an independent record label. The former secondary school teacher currently works part time with female offenders in the West Midlands area by day and develops her business and creativity by night.
The chief single ‘Colourful’, one of the later songs to be written, introduces the album with an airy guitar riff backed by a skipping 4×4 beat which defies the listener to keep still.  Many of her songs reflect her passion for strengthening women and restoring their self confidence. ‘Precious’ is a smouldering slow jam that speaks of a woman’s worth and ‘What a Woman Needs,’ is a melodic piano led anthem for the females and a message to the guys.
During the two years of it’s creation, Monique worked full time in school, recorded late into the night and married the love of her life Aaron in late 2010. The album sees her use music to speak on behalf of her female connections, give her own honest reflections, heartfelt cries and celebrate the joys of embracing true love. “This album for me is about making music that sets people free, and it is freeing me in the process of its creation.”
It was the continual screeching from the bedroom that led mother Jackie to invest in singing lessons for Monique 14 and her brother Dominic then 9 years old. However, her love for music and singing had begun long before then. She would take centre stage in the bedroom of her DJ uncle at family get-togethers and won her first talent show entry at the age of 11 at CBBC’s BIG BASH. It was at Birmingham’s NEC that she took to the stage and won a Sony Hi FI system and newly released Mini disc player. This stereo is still in her possession to this date and became an effective tool for her learning the art of double tracking and laying vocal harmonies. Using the double tape deck she would continually switch between the A and B side to create her own music to the latest hip hop and R’n’B backing tracks.
Although Monique did not come from a musical family, along with her brother Dominic she grew up to become a music lover and continued to enjoy talent shows and the songwriting process. Her older brother Errol Lawson supported in a management role which helped her to raise her profile through further performance opportunities whilst she grafted behind the scenes to develop her talent. Supporting artists such as Lindon David Hall at the Hard Rock Café and American rapper Eric Sermon, her confidence grew and so did her love for music.
Unexpectedly in 2003 Monique was exposed to the UK Christian music scene and her music was transformed by the sound as well as the message. From this point on, she slowly moved forward with a new focus and direction. The promises of hope, love, and forgiveness that she received were now her primary inspiration and motivation in life and subsequently in music.
In 2005, alongside her then business partner, Monique set up her first independent label in order to release the compilation album ‘Faith.’ Although the label’s lifetime was short it gave her valuable insight and experience that would equip her for the release of music in the future.
Monique’s ability to create and write songs was given a fresh wind in 2006 after spending time working as a session singer with a local production company. It was to her delight when one day the producers introduced her to a midi hub and gave it to her as a gift, which enabled her to develop her home recording abilities. Although very basic, with the use of cheap online software and basic keyboard skills, she began to craft some of the songs that currently feature on her debut. In the summer of 2010, to her surprise, Monique was contacted by an international DJ as one of the songs ‘Free,’ she recorded for the production company went to no.9 in the Australian dance charts.
In 2008, Monique approached 5am’s Tony Bean (Lemar, Nu Life, Usher, Kelly Rowland) on a mentoring basis to seek advice about the creation of her debut album. She was ready to make the step but knew she needed support to make it happen.
The two later became a dynamic duo as Tony decided to help the determined Monique to bring the ideas, fragmented work, and creativity together to make a complete project. “Tony used to call me “Hip Hop” because of the way I would patch ideas together in my home recording set up!” Live drums, bass, guitar, sax and flute are scattered throughout the album to enhance the authenticity of the lyrics in collaboration with intricate vocal arrangements. “To work with someone like Tony Bean is an incredible experience. His excellence, counsel and wisdom that would prelude every session, have been essential in bringing the whole project together.”  The album also features musical arrangements from the contemporary sounds of K Muzik and Mark Pearce which allows it to showcase a variety of approaches.
Monique has continued to sing at numerous events, and enjoy regular slots at local bars and open mic nights. She supported American gospel sensation Fred Hammond on his UK tour in 2009 and has enjoyed leading worship at her local church for the past 4 years.
And so the album is a “colourful” collection of music that is stylistically difficult to define. With some of the more contemporary production giving it a pop/R’n’B feel, that genre certainly doesn’t define all that you can expect to hear. Songs such as the edgy ‘Lose Myself’ composed by K Musik and the flowing acoustic ‘No More time’ composed by Tony Bean, completely break the mould. Having such a variety of passionate songs, thoughtful arrangements, and classy production, it is the raw, soulful, rich tone of Monique’s vocal which forms the glue of continuity throughout the album.
At a time when music has been accused of being soulless, meaningless and contrived, this stunning debut album will entice music lovers to stop, listen, and be moved!

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