‘Open Roads:’ Monica talks her love of country music, making her 9th studio album

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Randy Holmes via Getty Images

R&B diva Monica is venturing into a new genre of music for her next project and she’s excited. 

She recently talked with Entertainment Tonight about the creation of her first country album, Open Roads, and being inspired by country legend Dolly Parton.

“My Dolly Parton obsession began and it hasn’t ended,” the singer said. “What it was, was that my love for family is really my connection to her.”

“I was in her park at about 10 years old and the lady working told me, ‘Well, I’m Dolly’s first cousin and she gives us a job, a car and an apartment, it’s amazing.’ So when I met her and I realized all of these people are related to her and she built all of this, it really help[s] her family and her community, that’s when my love for her began in country music.”

Monica shared that this isn’t her first rodeo with country music; she’d sing songs from the genre while growing up but was told “that’s not what you do.”

“But I realized there are no limitations to what we can do and Brandi Carlile told me, ‘Monica, stop waiting and I will help you.’ Since then we have been working nonstop,” she said.

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The “Boy is Mine” singer made her debut country appearance at the 2022 Country Music Television Awards, where she performed “Pray” alongside country stars Jimmie Allen and Little Big Town. Her presence at the country show was met with backlash, including racist comments about Black people in attendance. 

“I’ve never been more motivated …,” she said in response to Patrick Howley‘s comment, “Country music is different. It’s not Wakanda.”

That motivation is helping the legend keep pushing toward her dreams of her first country album, Open Roads.

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