Monique, a native of Tasmania, was born in Devonport but spent most of the early years of her life in Hobart, where she became involved with music while at school. After singing in a handful of stage musicals, she picked up a guitar, learned her way around it and set about playing her songs to people on the streets of Hobart. One of those people who happened to wander past as Monique was playing had, as it turned out, just moved to Tasmania after working as a band booker in Brisbane; impressed with what she heard, she encouraged Monique to cut a demo tape and take it around to live venues. Before long Monique was playing around three gigs a week at venues as diverse as cafes, pubs and an Italian resteraunt. The experience proved invaluable, allowing Monique to refine her songwriting skills in front of a diverse and often challenging audience.
Travelling to England after leaving school, Monique continued writing but put a hold on performing to work for a year as a boarding house mistress, saving money for further travel. By the time of her return to Australia, Monique had decided to pursue songwriting and performing as a career and relocated to Melbourne and its renowned music scene.
Initially joining a guitar-based band after spotting an advertisement in a music store, Monique wrote a half-dozen songs in collaberation with the group. It soon became apparent that the songs she had been writing on her own required a wider scope of arrangement possibilities than the rock band format provided. Monique amicably parted company with the band in order to devote more time developing ideas and arrangements for her songs.
And so Monique found herself in Melbourne with no money and nowhere to live. While searching for a place to stay, she ran into a Sony Music employee who she'd previously befriended in Hobart. He immediately offered her the use of his spare room, and with accommodation worries behind her, Monique began writing the songs that would eventually become her debut album, playing them at Melbourne venues as a solo acoustic artist.
Soon word of this woman and her remarkable songs began to spread at Sony Music and Monique was invited to perform at a company function where Sony Music Chairman and CEO Denis Handlin was impressed enough by what he saw and heard to immediately start persuing a record deal.
Monique soon began work on what would become her debut album with producer David Bridie being suggested as a catalyst for taking Monique's songs to a recorded form. Monique quickly recorded around 20 songs on cassette and sent them to Bridie and the two began working on and arranging the songs with the involvement of Rob Craw, Steve Moffatt and various members of My Friend The Chocolate Cake including cellist Helen Mountford and drummer Greg Patten.
The first recorded output from these sessions was the single Fool For You, release in April 1996 to critical praise and strong radio and television airplay. The song's infectious melodic strength and arresting vocal delivery made an impact with the public and industry alike. Later that year Monique received the award fro Best New Australian Talent at the 1996 ARIA Awards.
The album was recorded at Melbourne's Sing Sing and Periscope Studios over a wildly creative set of sessions, Monique for the first time enjoying the additional artistic freedom of the studio environment. "It's based on performance," Monique says of the approach she took in getting her vocals onto tape. "I think the best way to do a vocal is to do three takes of the same vocal, then pick the best one and work with it. Otherwise you can lose the performance aspect of it."
In October 1996 Monique took the opportunity to write with legendary Melbourne singer/songwriter Paul Kelly. Penning the song Melting during the Mushroom Music Workshop, Monique and Paul were so pleased with the result, they recorded the track together upon returning to Melbourne.
In June and July 1997, Monique was invited to a National Tour with Paul Kelly as support artist, giving further national exposure to her talents.
"I've listened alot throughout my life to female vocalists," states Monique. "I've just been drawn to them - that's what I listened to, that's what I love, strong female vocalists who have something to say.
At the 1997 ARIA Awards, Monique won Best Female Artist.
The later part of 1997 was spent preparing for a new album, and touring and doing live media appearances with her band. In November, Monique was awarded the Governments "Young Australian of the Year Award" in the arts division for Tasmania.
Early 1998 saw Monique overseas writing with some artists who have asked to contribute to the next album (to be titled "Signal Hill"), starting with a trip to Auckland to write with Neil Finn, then to New York with Gary Lucas (who co-wrote 'Grace' and 'Mojo Pin' for Jeff Buckley), and then on to LA to team up with Johnette Napolitano from Concrete Blonde.
These biographical notes were taken from Sony Music Entertainment press releases, and from information from Moniques' management.
Last updated 21 February 1998
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