Released on August 18th 2023, MØNA’s enchanting new single ‘fairy tale’ is an alt-pop dream. From Boston (USA), MØNA is a queer musician whose songs feature poignant lyrics written from the heart. Her 2021 single ‘red flag’ amassed almost 20000 plays on Spotify, and she hopes to inspire others and create music that sparks a change in the world. She’ll be moving to London soon to work in the music industry, so we took some time out to speak to her after her release on all things music, life and creativity.
How did you get into music?
- I’ve been surrounded by music for as long as I can remember. My family is big on music and I have several relatives and great relatives who were musicians and very good at their craft. So I started singing and teaching myself piano at a very young age. I didn’t really start to take songwriting seriously until I was a sophomore in high school, which was around the age of 15.
Walk us through your creative process?
- It definitely varies from time to time but it usually ends up the same when it comes to writing music. I get inspiration from everyday life, people I pass on the street, friends, family, tv shows and movies. As unfortunate as it is, an upsetting moment also really gets the creative juices flowing, sometimes even more so than a wonderful moment. So in my personal life, I get a lot of my inspiration from things that I go through, events in my own life. This will usually result is some sort of lyric, whether that be a whole verse, or just a line or two. I just start continuing writing after that. Sometimes I’ll write inside of a form, start with a verse or a chorus and continue through. Often though, I have several different sections of a song that I have to piece together, kind of like a puzzle. What would work as a chorus? Should I split this section up into a pre-chorus? Once a majority of the lyrics are finished, I figure out a melody a capella, then take it to the piano. That’s probably the biggest and most integral part of my process. I never want to start with chords because then I feel boxed in, like I have to stay in that specific key or with a melody that fits in right with the chords. I know it’s quite simple to just decide to switch to another key, it is my song after all, but I find it difficult to morph once I’ve started. I suppose my creative process is a lot of me puzzling things together. I wonder if there will be a song I write called puzzle, hm, who knows?
Tell us about your new song, ‘Fairy Tale’, and the message behind it.
- Fairy Tale is a message of empowerment. I wanted to write a song that was not only from a villains point of view, but also was a song that was saying you don’t need to wait to be saved by anyone whether that be a man, a woman, or a non-binary person. You don’t need to wait to be saved you can save yourself. I also wanted to make sure it was known that sometimes you don’t have any need to be saved. I think a lot of times society puts pressures on women on how we should act and what we should do with our lives but I think that it’s important to know for all women and young girls out there that you don’t have to fit into any sort of box. Womanhood is yours and yours alone and you’re allowed to define that however you may want with out forces of the patriarchy influencing it. I felt that having it be from the villain’s point of view was poking at the common happenstance of villainizing a woman’s negative emotions.
What’s it like being an up-and-coming artist in the US?
- To be completely honest, it’s quite difficult. I would imagine that it’s difficult everywhere, as going into an art-based field is always tough. Art is subjective. Because of this, it means that not everyone’s gonna like your art and there are so many people creating art right now in the music space, in the regular like fine art world, so it’s really hard to stand out. For me, I just wanna make cool shit and I know that if I make authentic music that I think is cool, then I’ll build a genuine audience. So it’s really tough, and there are definitely moments of feeling really hopeless and like I’m putting in so much work with little response, but I have to remember that I’m making music because I love music and it’s my creative outlet.
What has been the most defining moment of your musical career?
- In 2022 I was given the opportunity to have an interview with an artist that I look up to, his name is Thomston and he is someone that I’ve been listening to since I was really young, like in middle school, and I am really inspired by his music, his lyrics, and his production. During that interview, I really felt like I made a connection, it felt like a conversation rather than a formal interview. It felt kind of like I was chatting with a friend and he is really nice and I even got a chance to play him one of my songs. I know in the grand scheme of things that it’s not a huge moment to like have an interview with an artist, and play them my song, but I was just starting out and it felt really big and it’s something that I’m always going to look back on fondly and cherish.
What equipment or software are you using the most in the studio?
- So previously when I was recording, I was doing so through my university, Berklee College of Music, and that was happening actively in a studio. I was using ProTools to track vocals with my producer, Maya Wagner. Now things have changed a little bit since I’ve graduated and I am recording in my own bedroom with Audio Technica headphones and an Audio Technica condenser microphone. Additionally, I just dislike the ProTools interface. I find it irritating, so I’m usually recording vocals via Logic Pro. It works best for me and Maya since I can do as many takes as I want in a very smooth and streamlined way, definitely not saying ProTools can’t do the same, just I prefer Logic Pro for now.
Who are your biggest inspirations at the moment?
- Right now, it’s GIRLI, Dove Cameron, and Emeline. It would be an absolute dream to write with any of them one day. From lyrics, to production, to melody, I’m endlessly inspired by them all.
What’s your favourite way to pass the time? Any hobbies?
- Oh jeez, that is tough. When I’m not working on music I tend to be working my “normal person” job, which is at a bakery & cafe. So that takes up a lot of my time. But aside from that I absolutely love cooking and photography. I hate to do that whole, “I’m just like everyone else!” cliche, but I am. I spend time with my family and friends, go to concerts, binge watch tv shows and movies, all the regular people stuff.
What’s next for you as an artist?
- So many things if everything goes according to plan! I have a few tracks left for my sophomore EP, and once those are finished, it’ll be released into the world, and hopefully that will happen by the end of the year. I’m currently in the process of trying to obtain a work visa for the UK so I can move to London in 2024, as it’s where I see myself living and thriving, not only professionally but also personally. That’s a bit tougher of the two, the visa bit, and it’s still something I’m actively working on and figuring out.