Donmonique knew early on that she didn’t have the voice to achieve conventional success in the music world. Undeterred, she turned to rapping. Her individuality and grit have won a dedicated following.
American Giant: Can you tell us who you are?
DonMonique: I’m DonMonique and I rap.
AG: And how did you get started rapping?
D: I always wanted to get into music. Growing up I wanted to sing, but then I realized I didn’t really have the voice for it. So I wanted to get into rapping but I was too young to, you know – my mom and my family they weren’t really into me being a rapper but liked music. So I had to wait until I was older to really do what I wanted to do. My first manager, JB, wanted me to do [modeling] for Karmaloop and that never ended up happening but I told him that I wanted to rap and we did that for about a year and he put me in the studio. I had a song idea and that’s when I came out with my first song We Don’t. And then Pilates and that’s when I met Seth [her current manager] and we did a premiere for the video and we just went there.
There are gonna be people that don’t believe in what you’re doing but as long you believe, just keep working – that’s all thats gonna matter.
AG: I know you’ve been working with really big hitters already like Danny Brown and Mac Miller – who else do you want to work with?
D: Right now I’m just taking it day-by-day because you never know who is gonna hit you up next week or next month, because I never would have thought that I’d have Danny Brown on my first project, you know? I’m really open to collaborating with whoever fucks with me if I fuck with them.
AG: In your music who are your big inspirations and what keeps you going?
D: I have a lot of other friends that make music, so they’ll always show me a new song they did the other day and I’ll be like, ‘Wow, this is fire. I gotta go to the studio and make something that’s fire. I gotta catch up with you.’ So it’s having people around people that’s on the same shit that I’m on that keeps me going.
“New York is a big part of what I’m doing right now.”
AG: So do you think New York is a big part of who you are? Do you find that as a source of inspiration too?
D: Yeah, definitely. Off my accent alone. I didn’t even notice I had an accent until I started meeting people that wasn’t from New York. I just thought I talked like everyone else and the way I dress and the way my music is…New York is a big part of what I’m doing right now.
AG: Do you have any advice for a young musician or rapper coming up?
D: Just keep trying. There are gonna be people that don’t believe in what you’re doing but as long you believe, just keep working – that’s all thats gonna matter. Someone is going to see you eventually. No one just puts in the work for nothing.
And I’ve been rapping for over a year now and everything is – it’s not exactly what I thought – but it’s all worth it. And this is the most I’ve accomplished at something, so I feel like this is what I’m meant to do.