2020 has been the year of the new-age artist. While existing within the same generation as most of their musical predecessors, this year has felt like a generational shift, led by artists like Redveil, Glaive, and Osquinn. While these artists have quickly found success, many other young artists find themselves on the cusp of greatness, in terms of popularity and artistic development.
Included amongst these artists is Mon, a 17 year old singer, songwriter, and producer from Lima, Peru. I had the opportunity to catch up with Mon recently, and was captivated by his background, versatility, and artistic foresight. He grew up surrounded by musicians, describing his family as “kind of famous,” in Peru. He eventually played drums for his school band, and began taking up piano and vocal lessons. In late 2017, he began making beats, and quickly became an established PluggNB producer. While he wasn’t securing a lot of big placements, he was able to make a good amount of money by selling his beats online.
Nonetheless, Mon wasn’t satisfied with this, and began to pursue more tangible connections through Twitter, where he soon found himself in the LJWorld group chat. He cites his involvement in this group chat as one of the main forces that got him involved within the SoundCloud scene.
In early 2019, he began to record his own music, cultivating a versatile sound for the next year and a half. His oldest available release is “Changes” -- a leisurely R&B ballad showcasing Mon’s talent for production, arrangement, curation, and vocal performance. With wobbly piano chords, a silky bass line, guitar licks courtesy of his father, and dreamy, alto vocal lines, the track exudes maturity, an offering that sounds like it came from a musical veteran of 20 years. The sound found on “Changes” coincides with Mon’s variety of musical influences, including but not limited to, Bryson Tiller, Giveon, and Daniel Caesar.
One of the most impressive qualities Mon showcases is his pensiveness and poise. He strives for productivity and growth, but abstains from forcing musical ideas. He wants to influence others in the same way his favorite artists influenced him, hoping to create individual soundtracks that last a lifetime. All in all, Mon’s willingness to grow, abstinence from drama, undeniable talent, and bevvy of resources will all contribute to his growth, and eventually, his inevitable success.
How old are you and where are you from?
I just turned 17, and I’m from Lima, Peru.
How long have you been making music?
Since late 2017, not posting though, just making beats. I’ve been surrounded by music my entire life since my family is full of musicians. My great grandpa played trumpet... he’s kind of a big deal in Peru. But I know how to play drums, piano, and I had taken vocal lessons before. Now I just make beats in FL Studio.
How did you connect with the scene?
I was originally connected through Cole Bennett by looking his videos up, and then I started posting beats on YouTube in early 2018. I saw Pluggnb come up before my eyes, and then I went on Twitter and connected with people through LJWorld group chat. Eventually I got a Rewind placement, and I was just getting decent money off of the sound.
Who are your biggest influences?
For more mainstream people it would be Bryson Tiller, Giveon, Daniel Caesar, Joji, and Summer Walker. In the underground it would be people like Endoh, ericdoa, Summrs, and many more.
Your versatility is impressive. The difference between “Changes” and “Ride or Die” is like night and day. Do you see yourself embracing a more trap-influenced sound from now on? Or are you just experimenting with it?
I really just love all things trap, r&b, and everything else. My long term vision is making r&b, but I don't want to put myself in a box. I feels like my voice isn’t in a good spot to make r&b, but I’m working on it. Rapping is fun for me though but its not something I really feel like I want to pursue. I am working on an album right now though, and I’d like Guami to produce on it, but my dad has actually been helping produce a lot of it himself. We both know a lot of instrumentalists in Peru, and I really just want this album to feel very real.
When did you join Iced Out Angels? How have they influenced your growth as an artist?
I joined this June. I really just love everybody in it. They’ve all helped with my confidence a lot... so much mutual respect and love. I actually linked with Guami through IOA, who’s really the homie.
Does your culture have an impact on your music? If so, how?
It definitely influences my music. I really love Peruvian music, but it's not a direct influence, moreso subliminal. The ambience of it influences me a lot.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I just want to see myself in a productive place where I can make music with a bunch of talented folks. I want the comfort of a musical team and people that can bring my visions to life. Hopefully then I’ll have enough money to buy a bunch of clothes and a dog. I really don't think about where the music will be, because I'm still working and learning so I can be the best person I can be.
Anything else you'd like to say?
I want to see way less drama on Twitter. I want to see people be better and stop making people look bad. Our priorities are fucked up and we should help each other be better.
Stream Mon on Spotify