Fusing R&B conventions with dancehall cadences, North London’s Monroe X is a master of wordplay, smoothly dropping creative bars across slick production…
What five words define your sound?
The first word I would use to describe my sound would be “rebellious,” because it goes against the grain, it’s unexpected and I use my cultural influences to make it ‘iconic’, ‘raunchy’, ‘rebellious’ and a ‘hybrid’ ‘fusion’ of all Hip Hop and Dancehall sounds.
Tell me something unique about your creative process?
Every song I write is a sneak peak into my life, it’s like a diary. I could express the high moments or even the low moments, so when I do hit the record button I run three or four different melodies and choose the right one that resonates with my emotions at that time, whether it’s about love, relationships or even painful times.
Which song of yours would you like people to hear first?
Oh.. ‘Skin Out’ without a doubt! It’s my first breakthrough track, where all my peoples and the listeners have shown me so much love from the jump. It’s a riddim that gets you up, ready to dance or even skin out. It represents me breaking boundaries and being the one to start a new wave where it doesn’t matter what genres you blend, if it’s a vibe, then it’s a vibe and I want everyone to feel the maddest joy when they hear it play.
What inspired you to make that song?Well… I have the worst luck when it comes to relationships and the only way I fully express myself is through my music. Let’s just say I linked up with my first love, after being blocked for five years and once rekindled, ‘Skin Out’ became a reflection of what happened that day.
What’s the most vulnerable you’ve allowed yourself to be when writing/making music?
A tricky one… but this would have to be my unreleased track called ‘Trust Nobody’. This song is about wearing my heart on my sleeve and trusting too much so when I put a pen to paper it’s like relieving all those emotions again. But that’s why I keep it 100 and continue being myself, I’ve always been a little bit cheeky which is why the beats in my music can be jumpy but the lyrics are very representative of the painful truth. So yeah, ‘Trust Nobody’ is due to drop so watch out for that one.
What’s the best/worst experience you’ve had on stage.
Hmm my worst but best experience I’ve had on stage was when I performed ‘Skin Out’ to a crowd at a university event in Birmingham. This was before the song dropped but the crowd gave me so much energy and nobody even knew the song, it was kinda nerve-racking but a sick experience, bring on the next one.
What is your favourite song to perform?
‘Skin Out’ of course, issa must. I feel the love when I see fans dance and love off my track, it’s definitely one for the ladies to skin out and have a good time too. They need to feel themselves so I’m here to make them feel special with my music.
Which artist/song/album made you want to make music?
I could speak about all my favourite artists all day but the one who influenced me the most, is the one and only Popcaan. His lyricism and his sound comes from a familiar place and coming from a small island I love how he hasn’t forgotten his culture. The way he has managed to transcend around the world, is exactly what I want to replicate, let’s take this sound global baby.
What’s the meaning behind your name?
Monroe X: X represents the ten years I’ve spent working on my sound, my craft and my dream but it also represents my rebellious nature.
If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing instead?
Food is my second love, so I would definitely be cooking it up somewhere and would be a Head Chef at Budakhan. Who doesn’t want a man cooking for you?
What’s success to you?
Success to me is being able to change lives with my music for the better and be a part of a new cultural generation. I want people to feel what I feel when they hear my sound, it’s a vibes ting and hopefully they’ll be running up my music 30 years down the line.
What moment in your life/career forced you to change direction?
Seeing peers from my area like JayO, Nippa and KWN doing crazy things for the culture inspired me to believe in myself more and push myself towards my dreams.
Where can people keep in touch with you?