Monti is the brainchild of Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Lauren Silva “Monti”. Formed in 2014, Monti’s music empowers the next generation with thought provoking lyrics about overcoming a life of hardships. Born into an abusive broken home filled with drugs and alcoholism, Monti was a runaway who dodged foster care systems living off and on the streets, escaping a life of gangs, mental hospitals, group homes, and drug and alcohol abuse. Her turbulent past is brilliantly conveyed in her debut two singles; moody synth and electro pop songs produced and co-written by Josh Stevens (LMFAO, Calvin Harris, The Game).
1. How did you get to where you are now as an artist?
I first started as a dancer at age 4 and then at age 5, my mom heard me singing in the tub and signed me up for voice lessons. From there I went on to have an entertainment career in musical theater, TV/film, pageants and competing nationwide in dance and vocals. My first encounter with music that I can remember was when I was a child listening to her very eclectic vinyl collection that was made up of a wide variety of music from the roaring 20’s, Broadway show tunes to Motown, blues, soul folk and pop tunes from different eras ranging from the 60’s – 80's. Throughout my troubled childhood, I remember music becoming a bit of a refuge for me as a way to escape I think. I always gravitated to the kind of music that had soul, passion, depth, told stories and/or just felt good to listen to.
The earliest I can remember making music and writing a song was at age 7 when I would use pots, pans, plastic Tupperware, kitchen utensils and my voice to create the theme song for a radio show my best friend and I created using a stereo with a microphone plug-in and recording to cassette tapes.
During my teen years when I spent most of the time on and off the streets and hanging out in gang life, I ended up singing hooks for several rappers in home recording studios and that lead me to meet Artist/Producer Lamar Lacañgan. Him and his family took me under their wings and mentored me. Soon enough he started his Independent record label; O.Y.I.E. Records and offered me a record deal where we immediately started working on my first album where I wrote my first songs ever. That was the start of my career as a recording artist, but more importantly, that was the start to my transformation. I got so much more than just a record deal but a sense of unconditional love, community, and new possibilities. Lamar and his team clearly had a heart for inner city/at risk youth and so they later started a nonprofit; O.Y.I.E. Music where I became their first success story.
I always say that they and that whole experience saved my life. It definitely was not an easy transition but for the first time I was introduced to the power of choice and to a whole new world that I could be in and could accomplish greatness in if I chose to and since then I continuously keep striving, persevering and working to become better as a human being for myself and for others to also make a difference like it was for me.
2. What is your typical day like?
I keep a very busy and disciplined kind of schedule for the most part. I start my day with coffee first thing and check my schedule for the tasks and plan for the day. I am constantly working and completing current projects while also creating and planning ahead for new ones. I also make time for social interaction in both personal and business. I also stay consistent with my personal training and life development work I do which also includes physical training in various martial arts as well so depending on the day, that will also be in my mix of tasks for the day. I also strive for balance as that is crucial to my overall well being, so I make sure to stay disciplined in even that, making sure I have at least one day off a week where I take for myself and for family, friends and loved ones.
3. Who or what inspires you?
Love, family and community inspire me the most. My family and loved ones keep me going and inspire me daily. My mentors in both personal and business along with my music team also are a huge influence and inspiration to me. I can also be inspired by a stranger I meet that day, or I just tune into what's going on in the world today with all the tragedies and I can hear and feel the pain and suffering and that inspires me to share my experiences filtered into my creative outlets and in hopes that it will make a difference for people. I am continuously inspired by the youth I mentor from the various organizations I support such as Hope Generations and many more. All of this in my surroundings keep me inspired to keep telling my stories and the stories of others by sharing the rawness of the experiences in the ups and downs, negatives and positives, so others can connect and feel heard.
4. When people listen to your music, what do you want them to take away from it?
I hope that they can feel heard and know that they have a voice in whatever it is that matters to them. I also hope they can also know that they too can then make a difference and create that space for someone else.
5. Do you know if being featured in your "Echo" video has brought any opportunities for Reggie Snowden?
Echo (Official Visual Video) Back Story:
Reggie Snowden is an aspiring fashion design student from Los Angeles, California.
After meeting and designing outfits for Josh Stevens, Reggie opened up about how he had to travel to and from school, up early mornings each day to take buses and trains from Inglewood to North Hollywood, Ca. All the while still juggling graveyard night shifts for work each evening.
Josh thought it was an inspiring and fascinating story. So he and Echo video director Matt Champagin gave Reggie a $50 budget and a camera, the Echo video is the result of Reggie's story and truly beautiful perspective. It gives a raw up close look at Los Angeles.
I’m not exactly sure about others but for me, I was so inspired and couldn’t think of what would be more perfect and fitting than having him style me for the 2017 Hollywood Music Awards where I’ve been nominated for my song “Echo” in the category of Best Message/Social Impact. He is designing me an original dress that I will be rocking on the red carpet and at the event.
6. What's been the highlight of your career so far?
I would say this moment for sure with this incredible team I have and this recent release of my song/video for “Echo.” For the first time I feel like I finally got what it was that I wanted to say and now based on the responses, feedback and publicity we’ve been getting, tells me that the listeners have gotten it too which fulfills my intention which was to inspire one individual at a time.
7. Do ever get discouraged working in the entertainment industry? If yes, how do you overcome that?
I used to but not so much anymore. I’ve found that since my message has become very clear to myself, it has then become clear to others and the rest has just followed to make it possible. I just keep focused on that and continue to work hard and I’ve found it actually has the opposite effect. I stay very encouraged in that and just walk by faith in the rest and trust the process.
8. What artist or musician would you like to work with?
There are several. To name just a few, Stevie Wonder, Timbaland, Pharrel, Lauryn Hill, Lionel Richie and Brian McKnight.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creatives?
To find and focus on what it is you really want to say or be known for and stay committed to that as you can only do what you do. And also to think "legacy" as we're only here for a short time and have been given a gift that has the power to impact people and the world immensely so make sure you're really doing what you want to be doing as you're the only one who can do what you do.
No matter where you come from or what you've been through, you can make it, if you choose to...
10. What's next for you?
I am continuing to work with Josh Stevens and Stadium Music Enterprise on an EP which we are planning to release by spring 2018. I will continue to spread my message through this single Echo and upcoming songs in my tours/performances, public speaking and mentoring while continuously working with organizations and non profits like Hope Generations, to provide a voice and experiences for those who feel like they are forgotten.
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Interview by Glodeane Brown