Mona Q - Unleashed (2001) MP3/Flac
Bottom Feeders: The Ass End Of The 90's, I had to download the song mentioned, "Stay In Love". I instantly fell in love, and somehow the song sounded familiar. I quickly realized that it was a remake of the 1998 song by a fave diva, Nicole J McCloud, on her Love Town album from 1998 (and Nicole again remade it in 2002 on her So What? album). The song is an electro-house/freestyle hybrid and thus satisfies everything I love in a song. So I immediately ordered the album as well, and happily it is much of the same. In 1995, producer Randy Lance, who was in Tampa, Florida, working on a TV show, had started recording as KromOzone and had gotten some local radio play. After hearing his work, two guys who were recording as Back To Basics approached Randy to produce a bunch of songs for them. Only one stood out to him, and that was "Stay In Love", though it was then a ballad. It was sung by Monique Smith, a jazz singer originally from Los Angeles who had recently moved to Florida. Randy ended up reworking the whole song, adding an electro beat and chopping and speeding up the vocals. He claims to have also renamed Monique 'Mon A Q' in the process, by pronouncing her name phonetically. Back To Basics asked if they could use his mix as a B side and that was the last Randy heard from them. They took Mon A Q's new name as their new moniker, since Back To Basics was already taken by someone else, and released the song the following year. By the end of 1997 it had hit the Billboard Maxi-Singles Chart and ended up reaching #120 just outside of the Billboard Hot 100. Due to this success, and having been excluded from its release, Randy released his own version as The KromOzone Project in 1998, and another version produced by Adam Marano was also released under the name Mona Lisa that same year. Mon A Q laid low until 2000, when two singles were released, "Feel The Rhythm" and "I Want You For Myself", the latter featuring the production of house masters The Berman Brothers, who were behind acts like Real McCoy, Amber and Isle postees She Moves. The album Unleashed followed, and it included a totally reworked version of "Stay In Love". At this point Monique took the moniker as her own, and she alone was Mon A Q (changed briefly to Mona Q for the album and a couple of singles). Two more singles were released from the album, "Here Comes The Sun" and "Do You Wanna Roll". She's released only three more songs in the following years: "It's My Turn" in 2006, "Daydreamin'" in 2007 and "How Long" (a remake of the 1974 soft rock hit by Ace) in 2010, all on Tone 1 Records, and has also been a featured vocalist on several tracks. She continues to perform and record, and the new year will likely see new material from this perseverant diva.