MONOGEM is the moniker under which singer and songwriter Jen Hirsh uses to create sleek, glittering melodies suffused with the sweet aftertaste of soul. MONOGEM blends her own new wave of sultry with ethereal alt-pop, the latest of which is her next single ‘Shade’ which continues MONOGEM’s signature sound of flirtatious and exhilarating pop.
The dramatic pizzicato plucks in ‘Shade’’s intro play a pivotal role in the song’s majestic production, laying the foundation for a sonic journey through seduction and lust. The spotlight in ‘Shade’ is on MONOGEM’s mesmeric vocals, which powerfully soar above the track’s atmospheric, downtempo production.
Following the single’s release, we had a chat with the LA native about personal and professional growth and why women “still have work to do”.
SheBOPS: How do you describe your musical style?
MONOGEM: Soulful melodies with danceable grooves.
What are your favorite sounds to incorporate into your music?
I love any and all synthesizers. Most recently I’ve been incorporating piano, electric guitar, and lots of layers of background vocals.
What emotions do you hope your music conveys to the listener?
I want my music to convey powerful truths, with a layer of sexiness.
Do you have a favorite lyric from your new single ‘Shade’?
That would have to be: “I fix my hair sophisticated, to cover up what’s complicated.”
What was the biggest difference in terms of writing and recording your newest project compared to your previous music?
I am more in tune with myself and my emotions this time around. As I grow older, I am realizing how important it is to be honest and true to myself with the music I make. I am also trying to write more organically these days, just on the piano or starting with one instrument instead of a beat. Starting stripped down seems to help bring out the best work.
How important to you is it that the values you communicate through interviews and across your socials are reflected in your lyrics?
It’s very important to me that my audience understands me as an artist through all of the outlets. It’s also difficult for me to share everything as I am fairly private when it comes to social media. I’d like to let my lyrics do the talking…
If you were planning your own music festival, which five female musicians would be at the top of your list?
Tei Shi, Empress Of, Charlotte Day Wilson, MONOGEM, Emily King.
Are there any female artists you’re particularly into at the moment?
Empress Of and Emily King’s new records are on constant repeat.
How do you feel about the representation and portrayal of female musicians? Is there anything that you’d like to change?
I think women in music right now are more powerful than ever. If you would’ve asked me five years ago my answer may have been different. But I just want this movement to keep moving, it’s inspiring.
As a woman, is there anything about the music industry that frustrates you?
Yes, the fact that the 2018 Grammys awarded only two women and the rest of the winners were men. Also, why aren’t there more female headliners in the festival circuit?
What issues do you think female musicians are facing today?
Women are more powerful and present than ever, but believe it, we still have work to do to be heard and recognized. There is still plenty of discrimination even though the tides are shifting.
Do you have any top tips for other female musicians?
Stay true to yourself and always listen to your gut. A woman’s intuition is more powerful than anything.
What advice would you give to young girls and women looking to work in music?
There’s room for all of us and to just be honest.
How do you think musicians can create a sustainable income from their music?
By wearing many hats in the music business.
Which aspect of the music industry excites you the most?
I’m still excited by the fact that I get to make art on a daily basis. Also, when people sing my lyrics out loud at a show… the feeling is priceless.
What do you stand for as an artist?
I want to take people’s minds off of whatever is going on in their lives and make them feel something.
What’s left to come from you in the next year?
Loads of new music and shows, I can’t wait.