Monica Dogra is a singer, spoken word artiste, actor and DJ. The lissome lass is also the ambassador of “The New India”. She was part of a band called Shaa’ir + Func for which she has won a number of awards, and headlined every notable music festival in the country. She performed in the city on March 9, and shares the inside track with us.
Monica grew up in Baltimore, but has been living in India for the past decade. “They are both different countries and have a lot of differences. I think, if you live an authentic life, you will live it where ever you go. India is definitely my home and I can’t think of anywhere else as home, says Monica. The American born singer of Indian origin released her first solo album Spit in 2016 and since then there has been no stopping her. Elaborating on how Spit came into being, she says, “I have written about five albums for Shaa’ir and Func, but this is my first solo. It just happened because it was high time to write something on my own. And I wanted to find a space, pace and sound I could exist in.”
Singing for some people might just be a hobby but for Monica it means much more. “It is one of the primal forms of communication. I feel that it goes beyond language and connects me to the core,” she says. Her music is mixture of bass, global bass and trap music. She enjoys listening to many artistes but her favourite would be Four Tet’s latest album, Princess Nokia and a lot of music from the record label Enchufada. “Princess Nokia has inspired a lot of things that I am working on now,”she says.
Her performance in the city had a new set, she adds, “This set featured names like Abhi Malhotra on decks aka Dutty Deedz, Linford D’souza on drums and Kaprila Keishing and Shreya Vivek. I will also be doing a bit of dancing on stage.”
Monica is full of praise for the music scene in the city. This winner of the ‘Bronze Lion’ says, “Bengaluru is a beautiful city with a thriving music scene. But what’s wonderful here is that no matter what the challenge, we always find a way.”
Recently, Monica performed with bestie Shibani Dandekar. Ask her about the experience and she says, “It was really great to perform with Shibani. Doing anything with someone you love is so much fun. I have been performing on my own till now, and that’s where my love and focus is, but we both had a really good time.” Telling us more about the process she follows, Monica adds, “I live a full and dynamic life. Ideas seem to strike me at odd hours. Just yesterday night, I woke up and wrote down a poem.”
The songstress has various other talents under her belt. From singing to being a DJ to acting — She was a part of the Bollywood movie, Dhobi Ghat which released in 2011. Elaborating more on her experience as an actress she says, “It was great to be a part of the film which I think changed the face of Indian cinema.” Although she doesn’t have a lot of free time, Monica is also a long distance runner, and loves doing yoga. “I have been working on a new EP for the past year which will release soon. It is tentatively called Seeing Red,” she signs off.