Melli Monaco is a whole vibe and she’s here to take over the music industry once and for all. Born and raised from Neuilly-sur-Marne, a suburb of Paris, France, Melli arrives with her own unique style, sound, and swag, bringing an eclectic approach to her art while blending the genres of hip-hop, dance music, Afrobeat and everything in between.
In describing herself, she states, “I’m a French artist, but most of my music is in English. I started doing music in 2019 and since then, I put out 11 singles and all of them have music videos. I believe visuals are really important because they show who you really are.”
Moving to the United States originally to play volleyball, Melli learned English by watching Law & Order and quickly fell in love with the music scene. Her first single ever, “War,” is an honest and vulnerable record inspired by the hardships she faced moving to a new country. Fast forward to today, her most recent single and visual “Marche” showcases her diversity and international presence, a certified anthem for any fashion or runway show.
AllHipHop: How would you describe your sound?
Melli Monaco: My sound, I love so many different styles of music so you’ll hear a lot of Afro mixed with Hip Hop, pop and EDM. Mainly, I just configure what goes well with my accent.
AllHipHop: I love your accent.
Melli Monaco: Thank you. I am always trying to create a sound that’s not going to clash with the beat or the message that I want to put out to the world.
AllHipHop: How was it growing up in France?
Melli Monaco: It was cool, I grew up in the hood. It’s funny because a lot of people think there’s no hood in France. I grew up in a modest family and most of my childhood was spent playing sports.
AllHipHop: What did you play?
Melli Monaco: I did gymnastics from the age of 3 to 14. Then I did both track and field and volleyball and later got a scholarship to come and play in the United States.
AllHipHop: How old were you? Was there a culture shock?
Melli Monaco: I was 18, there was a culture shock. I came here and thought I could speak a little English, and realized that I didn’t. [laughs] In college, they gave me regular classes like mathematics and biology. I’m like “yo, where’s the English class?” They didn’t give me English classes. I had to learn on my own to speak the language better, so I started watching Law & Order everyday on TV.
AllHipHop: Oh wow, that’s how you learned?
Melli Monaco: Yeah, because I felt like if you understood Law & Order, you can speak English. So that’s what I had—that and my dictionary.
AllHipHop: Who were you listening to, that made you want to do music too?
Melli Monaco: Booba, a well known french rapper who has features with some American artists, Saïan Supa Crew and Doc Gineco. Eventually, I started listening to artists like 50 Cent, Lil Wayne.
AllHipHop: You started doing music in 2019, what was the turning point?
Melli Monaco: I started doing music when my YouTube channel got deleted. Along with Youtube I was pursuing an acting career and it always made me feel like I wasn’t in control having to wait to be hired for roles. Music became my new outlet. If I wanted to put out a song every day, I could. I began to enjoy the process of making music and I stuck with it.
AllHipHop: Is Melli Monaco your real name?
Melli Monaco: No, my first name’s Melanie. Monaco is a rich country in Europe. And it sounds good, people can say it.
AllHipHop: Talk about releasing such a vulnerable song such as “War,” as your debut single.
Melli Monaco: “War,” wow. That was the first song of mine that got good exposure. It’s about my journey in America, being on my own with no family. I don’t have many friends.
I shared many stories with my writer, Mitch, once I found a beat that made me think about my past trials with men, friends and being an immigrant in a different country. I was inspired by artists like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, who has a message in their lyrics. My writer came back with a reference track, I went in and recorded the song and that’s how War was born.
AllHipHop: Did you come to LA first?
Melli Monaco: No, I came to Maryland. That’s where I went to school. Then I moved to D.C., then Atlanta, then LA.
AllHipHop: You just released Marche,” what inspired this record?
Melli Monaco: I began working with a new team of producers and writers in Atlanta. We recorded for a week and came up with Marche. The upbeat record fit my monotone voice perfectly. I knew this would be the next single.
AllHipHop: What was your vision with the video shoot?
Melli Monaco: I feel that the song is a feel-good song. You want to dance, and you want to also talk your s###. The video sounds really good for fashion shows. I wanted to be Tyra Banks and tell people, “okay, you can walk like this. No, you’re not good. Let me show you.” But I don’t do runway. [laughs]
AllHipHop: What is it that you want fans to get from your story?
Melli Monaco: It’s going to sound cliche, but you can do whatever you want. Anything is possible. The only time you’re going to fail is when you quit, so never quit.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio at all times?
Melli Monaco: A yellow Red Bull, some comfy socks and good energy. I like to have good people with me who can give me honest feedback while I’m recording.
AllHipHop: Talk about the Pineapple Show, I love the name.
Melli Monaco: Thank you. The Pineapple Show is a virtual dating show that I host on Wednesdays on my YouTube channel. Pretty much I find a single lady and invite men to come and court her. Once she feels uncomfortable or finds she doesn’t like the suitor she says “Pineapple” and I remove the guy from the live.
AllHipHop: Talk about having an international sound and how “Marche” plays into that.
Melli Monaco: It’s just a fashion show. It’s Paris! Right away, it’s international. It’s a mix of Hip Hop dance, EDM and Afrobeat. It’s a fun record that makes you want to let your hair down.
AllHipHop: Someone you want to collab with?
Melli Monaco: My favorites of all time are Drake, Chris Brown and Rihanna. I would love to work with them. I love Rihanna because I can identify with the bad girl who does what she wants to do. I can connect with Drake’s sound and Chris Brown is everything! I’m a big fan of all three.
AllHipHop: How is it as an independent artist?
Melli Monaco: It’s tough. You pay for everything, but then you decide everything so it’s pretty cool.
AllHipHop: How do you support yourself financially?
Melli Monaco: YouTube helps finance my career. My channel is about helping men navigate the dating scene. I talk a lot of s### on the channel and I think guys are attracted to my boldness, and my p#### mouth.
AllHipHop: What do you have planned for the year? Do you have any goals?
Melli Monaco: I just want to keep on going and putting music out. I’m releasing new music every month with visuals. I would love to be an opening act for an established artist on tour.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let the people know?
Melli Monaco: Please check out my new single, “Marche.” Look out for me, I have so much more in store.