By Jeoffrey Mukubi
MONIQUE English is riding the crest of a wave, after being crowned as the 2017 Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) Female Artist of the Year.
The 22-year-old has earned a whopping N$100 000 for her exploits and her win has boosted her profile, which she has built since emerging from a humble upbringing.
She started singing at the tender age of nine, when she entered a Pop Idol competition in 2003, at Tamariskia Primary School in Swakopmund.
She said her mother had motivated her to explore a career in music. She is also inspired by her older siblings – two brothers and two sisters.
Monique matriculated from Namib High School, which is also situated in the coastal town, in 2012.
The following year, she enrolled to study microbiology at the University of Namibia (Unam), but dropped out and moved back to Swakopmund in 2014.
She returned to Windhoek in 2015 and works as a personal assistant in the capital city.
Asked if she is in a relationship, Monique said she wasn’t, before adding that she does not want to deal with that kind of pressure, and rather wants to focus on her music.
Monique is not new to the NAMAs, as she was nominated in 2015 for her collaborative effort with KP Illest, titled Jazz and Jealousy.
She released her debut album, Since 94, in November last year, which catapulted her into the limelight.
When Confidente asked her this week how she felt about winning the prestigious Female Artist of the Year award, she said that it was all still sinking in. “I am taking it day by day, with all the feedback I have been getting from the public. I was surprised when they called my name, and I was extremely overwhelmed, but happy at the same time,” Monique said.
“A lot of people said I looked confident and that I knew I was going to win, but I was really surprised. As soon as the Best Newcomer award was given to Jaleel, I just told myself, better luck next year, because I felt that I would not be winning Female Artist of the Year award,” she said.
Monique said that the support of her family, friends and fans was tremendous and heart-warming.
According to her, those who support her know how hard she has worked to get this far, and are aware how important winning the award was to her.
“I have been in this industry for a while now, and went unnoticed for a few years. I have tried to collaborate with a few artists, to get ahead, but to no avail, until now.”
Although some critics have questioned her winning the biggest female award at the NAMAs, Monique says that she worked just as hard as the other nominated artists. “I have received negative feedback, and I have seen the critiques from the public, saying they don’t know me, or questioning what I have done to deserve this award. There have also been claims that the other ladies in the category were more deserving of the award, than me. But then, there are those who have known me and my music for a long time. People that know me, know how hard I have worked for this award, regardless of being a ‘newcomer’.
“I am just happy that my hard work and dedication towards my music has been recognised and rewarded, and also, the music speaks for itself,” Monique said. She maintained that although she won a lot of money, she still has to do a lot more to prove why she is the best.
“I am definitely going to invest my money in my music, and I am going to do as much as I can to keep the ball rolling, because now I can definitely do much more regarding my career. It hasn’t been easy, but this is where it gets real now, and I promise to give everyone more and more of who Monique English is.”
Five things you may not know about Monique English:
1. Monique’s star sign is Sagittarius
2. Her album, Since 94, refers to her birth year, which is 1994
3. Monique was dropped by Idols South Africa 2015, after the third round, because she is Namibian
4. Monique attended Tamariskia Primary School in Swakopmund
5. Her second single Make my heart go was co-written by KK and produced by K-Boz
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015