Ladies & Gents
( A conversation with )
Musician / Vocalist / Composer-Producer :
Wow All of these years
Hi, Sweethart !!!
Ok, I need to actually calm down cause , folks dont know that we not only Dated back in the day
( for lack of a better description )
But, weve ALWAYS had a great deal of LOVE & RESPECT for each other.
Ill never forget the nite we first met in 1987 at that jazz club in Tokyo You were just sitting there at the bar
Really taking in the music.
with Michiru in Tokyo, Japan 1987
And, I looked over at Kenny ( Garrett ) & I was like : DAMN , I have GOT TO go over & say something to her
That was almost 20 years ago ?!?!
Okay, you know you're going to get me in trouble with my Husband
So, I'll have to tone it down a bit & say we met as friends and at some point that line got blurred ..Hahaha !
Hahaha , Right ?!?!
It only really gets blurred when the parties concerned werent adults / Friends BEFORE,DURING & AFTER !!
My Wife reads all of this stuff She Loves it !
Shes actually appreciative to ALL of the QUALITY women in my life, before her
Because, she feels that they taught Me how to treat Her !
MONDAY : Okay ?!?
But, it was always great hanging with you, both in Tokyo and in New York!
Yeah , we had a Blast I was young & Tragically hip ?!? Hahaha
I was skraight outta Columbus , Ohio What did I know about REEL LIFE outside of Franklin County ?
MONDAY : Hey, I'm STILL learning, too ! Hahaha .
But, YOU were my 1st brush with getting to know : CLASS & BEAUTY !
Also , my 1st encounter with dating a Celeb ?!?
You were already in the Game ( Acting ) & your Mom was/is the legendary composer Toshiko Akiyoshi
I remember the shutter bug clicks & all of the stares we got.
But, it made a kat like me . feel like I was really doin thangz at the time.
MONDAY : Aaaaaw .Thank you , Foley !
Thank you for your compliments, as a Female, that makes me feel good to know that I wasn't just one of the thrones of gals throwing themselves at you.
Aaaaawwww, man U kidding me right ?!?!
YOU were the very distinction between "some girl
And , A "Cultured" Woman ! ( even at that age )
The Friendship we had/have WAS the primary reason for the Respect Factor ,
that still exists, after all of these years Im VERY proud of that, Michiru !
MONDAY : I too, treasure the Friendship that we had/have, and it's such a trip doing this now .
Sooooo many years later.
I KNOW ?!?!
This is CRAZY
MONDAY : Aaaaay.....I don't remember you as being tragically hip, actually quite the opposite, scowling on & snickering at those who were.
Yeah, I know We Had JOKES !!!
MONDAY : Hey, wait .A "Celeb" ?!?!?
You are REALLY creating illusions here !!
I had just made my first movie & people were still just getting to know me.
WHAT ?!?! YOU WERE EVERYWHERE !!!
All of the magazines ..you were really blowing up as an Actress !
*Why am I hearing the 1st verse of Thomas Dolbys EUROPA ?!?!*
MONDAY : But , I wasn't happy with that, as my heart lied, and will always lie, in music.
Im sure, sweetheart Im sure.
MONDAY : That bar where we first met, I remember it was the old Body & Soul and, Kenny (Garrett) came up to me with his then haltering Japanese and, now he's more fluent than I am! I floored him by responding in "American" .That still makes me chuckle.
Kenny was teaching himself on the tour bus bunks and wed walk past & hear him in there mumbling to himself....
Id say Bone, U aiiiight ? And, hed be in there with a flashlight & a Japanese language book !
MONDAY : Hahaha !! But, I have to thank you for all those times you got me such a clear view of the whole MUSICAL experience, and your playing always was beyond just a musical experience, it reached such emotional levels that were really touching.
Thank You, Michiru
Yeah, things are quite different now, tho Were Both HAPPILY married & the scene is lil different, too..
MONDAY : Yeah....
Okay, lets talk about YOUR amazing career !!
31 different releases since 91 ?!?!?
Only PRINCE has this type of prolific attack to his work.
And, the new cd Routes is Massive !!
How Do you do it , Sweethart ????
MONDAY : I have to say that I'm really grateful for the record label and the system that was and probably is still in place. My first album came out on Virgin Japan in '91 and it was a real experimental mish mash of "I can do this, and I can do that, and you won't peg me as an XX-genre artist!!" which failed miserably sales wise.
I understand but, at least they knew who YOU were ?
MONDAY : Well, I was still floundering in direction musically and, quite embarrassingly, took solace in the acid jazz movement that was coming out of the UK. I loved that the boundaries were crossed in fusing jazzy elements, soul and hip hop and a bit of latin with other stuff, and that was it for me. I began knocking on doors and showing up everywhere, looking for collaboration possibilities, and along came a compilation that a friend S-Ken was putting together, Hip Jap Jazz, and I pulled DJ Krush into the project. It got noticed and made a buzz in the UK and Japan, which got me noticed at my own company I was with (Kitty), and I finally was able to get a string of releases through Universal (then Kitty, later Polydor, now Universal).
How was it it ?
Did things seem to work better for you, moving to Universal ?
MONDAY : As companies go, they're always looking out for their bottom line, and they were in constant need of releases to keep generating income. I was happy to oblige by putting out releases often. It basically meant coming out with a full original project once a year, putting together a remix album after each one, and a single per release. In Japan, we don't tour like artists do elsewhere as the costs are too high unless you're a big selling artist, which I wasn't, so I only really did a few performances with my band a year, making me more of a studio artist than a performance artist, which was fine with me because, I preferred to be a little clam & sit at home writing and canned up in the studio figuring things out.
So, U just dove in Head first ?
MONDAY : Yeah It was really training on the job for me because I didn't know ANYTHING ! How to write .singing in the style I chose . how to arrange or produce . I learned as I went.
Thats how its done, in all actuality.
You are completely Self-sufficient Producing, writing & perfoming !
Its always great for Print to say that a Female artist does it All .etc.
But, I KNOW you would NOT be about Hype over Substance & Truth!
MONDAY : It's all about control, Hahaha .
Seriously, I started off happily just collaborating on writing tunes unless I had a whole thing worked out, and letting someone else arrange & produce. But then I began getting ideas, and was unhappy when the producer or arranger couldn't see my musical vision. So then came working out the chords myself and I got more and more into songwriting.
Good for You !!
MONDAY : Yeah .Then I hired a "Manipulator" to work my sequencer to demo the songs which later became the actual recorded arrangements. Then my boyfriend at the time (in the mid 90s) coerced me into learning the sequencer myself and it was all over.
MONDAY : But, I really love to collaborate still , as there is only so much I can do myself and there is a sense of freedom I get in collaborations that I don't in doing everything myself. It's more focused when I'm asked to do one or a couple things, rather than the whole, and there is the fun of the collision and synthesis of 2 or more minds that makes something unique that I couldn't do by myself.
I see ..
MONDAY : I don't see myself as a true programmer, a great arranger and producer, or any of that. I see myself more as a singer-songwriter. There are some songs I have clear musical vision on in terms of "this is the way it should sound and be arranged/produced" but, there are others that I feel an outside producer & arranger ( and certainly programmer ) could do better justice & bring it to another level. At this point, it's more the economic limitations that put me in the front seat on all those roles.
But it does look good on print, huh? Haha !
Right ?!?!? Hey, they shaved off a few years on MJ when he debuted in 69
Is it safe to say that Artist Share is working out for you ?
MONDAY : I guess it is, but not without a lot of work. ArtistShare while being a record label, does not take on the traditional roles of record labels, meaning the artist has to do ALL the work in addition to the creative side in exchange for their master rights.
I see .
MONDAY : I think ArtistShare is a very unique and wonderful system, a system that is still quite young and is ever developing. Their roster and Grammy win last year and nominations this year is very impressive.
MONDAY : But, an artist getting into this . would do well if they either have staff working for them on the administrative front or are highly organized and knowledgeable on that type of stuff (doing the menial work on the computer and all the administrative things, being proficient on the computer, promoting, marketing, etc. ) and it would be best if that artist would have a strong internet following already. I came from ground zero . had to put together the website as well as the launch of the project . and in that sense, it was very hard for me to get the word out & create a mailing list of fans. They're out there, but I think I've barely tapped 5-10% of them through my site. I'm still working on that end as I feel "Routes" deserves to be heard by many people and there is definitely a pocket of people who are not necessarily into the mass-listening market who'd dig this project.
I LOVE THIS RECORD !
Routes is hittin hard
U wont have ANY problem
btw...it's available Right Now.....exclusively on her website thru ArtistShare @ www.mondaymichiru.com
MONDAY : Thanks but, the hardest hump to overcome is the fact that it's hard to categorize the music or style into one category, as most major markets like to do. It's not jazz, it's not soul, it's not dance music, it's not world music, it's not folk, it's not Latin, it's not r&b...but it can be construed as all of the above or none of the above.
How about it just being construed as : GOOD MUSIC ?!?!
This is the type of thinking at the labels, thats got shit the way it is now .
MONDAY : As Duke Ellington said, right?
If it AINT got dat Swing ???
MONDAY : Yep. That's always been my argument and justification of doing what I do in all the mixed styles !
To me, the genre or style you take the music is like the clothes and make-up on the woman, but the naked woman is the pure song/tune. I write what I write and it gets dressed up the way it does, but that shouldn't define the song. It's only one presentation of the song. The true song lies in the melody, the lyrics, the harmony. Styles are only the representations of the now, limited by time. The song is timeless.
I agree, completely.
What was theOne Thing" in particular that made you finally head for The States ?
MONDAY : LOVE.
I was Desperately in Love with my Husband !!
We'd met at Madarao Jazz Festival & married 4 months later, and there was no doubt in my mind that in order to be together I had to move to New York so that he could continue pursuing his career as a jazz musician and it was my time to leave Japan. It's been very challenging for me to keep the music and career going in that sense, especially now with my little one who's 5 years old
Wow .thats whats up !
How is Nikita ??
: The Treasure of my life
Americans still don't know much about me, I'm a well kept secret, although I have a small but strong following . surprisingly with the house crowd . because of previous remix projects I'd been involved in.
Dont worry, theyll catch on & catch up .In their time
The SMARTALECMUSIC Burning Question :
The Underground Scene
Still Doin Thangz or Its Dead ?
MONDAY : Hmmm....I think it's pretty darn strong.
The internet has definitely helped that. In fact, it's made things MORE underground. With the economic turn on life, and Bush making it harder and harder for us Americans and putting us more in the debt hole with the war and all, the majors become more condensed & unified, almost like a spoof of themselves, and everyone else falls in the wayside, making for a healthy underground.
MONDAY : Underground movements are always interesting to me, because when a certain underground movement becomes strong, it comes out to the fore, then everyone wants to do it to be hip and say they're underground and on the edge, which waters it down. Then the new underground develops, challenging what is in the fore and questioning its relevance. The underground will never die, just goes in waves.
Im gonna throw some NAMES at cha ..
MONDAY : Mondo Grosso.
Long time collaborator .. Ex-boyfriend of 4 years ..
Heavy influence on me during those years musically & also made me aware of the difference between Empty Hype and hype with substance. Ever changing in style, but ever developing & focused in his direction. EXTREMELY talented. Has the ability to have both feet in the underground and in the majors. Well respected from both sides. A wonderful song maker and musician, but an even better producer, arranger and programmer. Great guy.
Mondo Grosso is hardcore. But, I gotta give it up to the kat that made me change my way of lookin at the whole shit... And, that was : "Satoshi Tomiie" HE was the kat who got me into House & the infinite possibilities . just like the "Bomb Squad" did for me w/ rap music early on. He's definitely my favorite kat out there & DJ DB's "Shades of Technology" had me open for weeks on end.
The shit Satoshi Tomiie did on Diana Ross' "Upside Down was the turning point for me.
And Frankie Knuckles Killed "Love Hangover"
I still play THOSE versions in my show, when it gets to the "3 1/2 hour" mark !
Knuckles freaked the Anna Nicole theme too
MONDAY : Oh, you're going to go there!!!
You know what ?
I HAVE TO !!!
This JAZZ kat is in the ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME ?!?
Only Real Artists & Musicians, & true music enthusiasts should even speak on him
I almost have to ask about him in every inner-view ?!?
MONDAY : Well, He IS the GODFATHER of jazz , cool, music, trumpet, integrity, intensity. A true classic & legend. Edgy. Scary. Gil Evans drew out his artistic beauty like a black swan gliding through a sea of harmonies and sonic landscapes. Charismatic. There's no one like him and never will be, but we all want to be, even just a little bit. Truly awesome.
When Gil died I did notice a change in him.
Almost like Well , who the hell else is left ?
Cause, he DID give a damn about what SOME people thought of what he was doin .like GIL EVANS !!
MONDAY : It's embarrassing to admit, but I was educated on the beauty of the Gil Evans and Miles Davis musical relationship through my husband, who really put it all into focus for me. Now when I hear a Gil Evans arrangement and if Miles isn't playing, my ears yearn to hear him. I love what Miles did before, those classics, and I also love the Bitches Brew era as well, and of course what you guys were doing was pretty cool too, but artistry on a certain level that goes beyond the genre and just eclipses everything else...you know what I'm saying.
Indeed, indeed ..
MONDAY : Hmmmmm.....that's a hard one because I never met him so it's hard for me to feel him. But obviously one of the people who brought out the late 80s UK club soul, like Soul II Soul, that really changed a generation of soulsters. In a way probably helped to propel the nu-soul movement in a way by getting the organic groove back into soul music by way of sampled drums and loops, that helped to bring hip hop and soul together.
Hes STILL my Favorite out there, Bar NONE !
I dont think folks have really caught up to the Soul II Soul stuff STILL ?!?
Madonnas Bedtime Stories (Title trk) was the baddest shit out that year
Plus, I was glad to hear HE & BJORK together again !
MONDAY : Ah, the GODMOTHER of singer-songwriters. Classic. Her writing, both melodically and lyrically, are off the hook. The gage in which all singer-songwriters are compared, whether by others or by themselves, and we all go back to the drawing board, shaking our heads, "No, not yet..." She became less adventurous lately with her music and much more grandiose with her preference of presenting herself, her voice, and her songs with those Vincent Mendosa orchestral arrangements, and her voice has lost a certain luster and juice of her former years, but in exchange her singing has developed a deeper and wiser soul. Like she grew into her songs. I'd like to hear her write some new compositions.
THIS IS CRAZY !!!
Do U Know that Travelogue has been on repeat for the last week ?!?!
U know Ive been in ICU with my Mom, the last week or so
And, I was so stressed out & I COULD NOT STOP listening
to THIS version of The Circle Game & I came in one morning
She was feelin a little better & I started talking to her about the chorus (Lyrics) And I said:
Ma, U have to hear this !
She just sat there & the biggest smile came on her face ! Then she said : Shes Absolutely Right
Something happened .cause, she's out of ICU . And, is goin home in a few days !
MONDAY : I'm so glad to hear that your Mom's better.
And, that's deep that she suddenly came out of that on the lyrics of a Joni Mitchell tune! Cool.
I dunno....Yeah, its been a crazy-ass week.
But, its so DEEP you said Vincent Mendoza
MONDAY : Again, my education through my Husband who is very aware of the arrangements. I have to admit, I used to find those type of orchestrations sorta cheesy, I guess 'cuz I was more a hardcore classical orchestral type of listener and it was hard for me to get my ears around listening to more modern/pop songs in an orchestral setting.
But he really has a knack for voicings that is just beyond gorgeous, layers of harmonies that are simple at first listen but are quite textured.
I'm Sure ...
I really like what he's Doin !
Don't forget to check him out at www.alexsipiagin.com
You HAVE done your homework! This is wild !
Pleeez , U know Im the GHETTO JOURNALIST
I gotta BRING IT , since this isnt what I REALLY DO. Hahahaha!
Who doesnt know about Basement Jaxx tho ?!?
Yeah but, I'm curious about what YOU think of them !!
They were always Londons answer to the Bomb Squad sorta
Remedy & Kish Kash was dope as hell.
Plus, they got presentation as well.
MONDAY : I bought a 12" they did back in '97 or so that I just fell in love with featuring a singer, Corrine Joseph or something like that .and loved where they were coming from. They were really unique, fusing sonics that were being used in drum 'n' bass but doing it in a whole different vein, easy to mix in with house tracks but again brought the energy into a completely different space.
Basement Jaxx put it Down ! ( for what they do, especially )
MONDAY : And . there was a certain Saudade to their songs that really touched me.
Damn, U breakin out da Portuguese ?
MONDAY : Actually, I have to give credit to one of my fans who is Brazilian and he taught me the meaning of the word. I'd always see it in Brazilian titles or lyrics but didn't know what it meant. But I'd always FEEL the word. I love that feeling, it's something I need in my own writing and yearn for in others' compositions.
I feel you
MONDAY : Yeah I sought them out to do a remix for me, and they asked me to do some vocals in exchange on their debut album, which I happily did. The 2 guys were really sweet. Felix was the one I dealt with more, but I liked the other one a lot, he had an air of mystery to him, like he'd gotten into a life-threatening car accident and suddenly this other side came out or something ..
I'm fantasizing here.
Lets call it Poetic License
MONDAY : Sometimes you meet people and you just fantasize where they've come from, what they've done in their life that's made them that way. I can see the whole life in a person on initial meeting, almost like an aura. It might not be real, but it sure is fun to imagine.
Yeah, it IS .
MONDAY : Mama !!!
A legend in her own right in Japan. The first to fuse Japanese traditional elements of music and touch Japanese themes with jazz in the forum she created under her big band. Very strict as a mother and I wished as a kid she'd been there more for me, but I got over it, especially after going to Japan to live and make a career for myself as a musician to imagine how hard the odds were for her to make it out of there to make a career for herself as the first Japanese (let alone female) jazz musician to make it worldwide?!?
Truly a feat..... I Love her like crazy.
That is sooo cool, man
IT DOESNT FALL FAR FROM DA TREE !!!
MONDAY : Beautiful man. Didn't grow up with him, but met him as an adult the first time at age 20 during a wedding of one of my half sisters, then many years later in '96 in Germany where he now resides. I see him about once a year now. Actually my husband gets to see him more because they end up at the same jazz festivals! It's interesting that I didn't end up growing up with him but there's so much of his essence I seem to have. I think my sensibility of fusing different cultural and stylistic elements of music comes largely from him, genetically somewhere it's infused. My mother says my melodic abilities and natural musical talent comes from him. I also have a warm humanitarian aspect to myself (if I may say so!) that I see in him. He's in his 80s and still doing it, performing and touring all the time, and sounds so young! I hope I'll be like him when I'm older.
I think Uve accomplished that already ..
My Love .. My Devil .My Angel ..
He's a tough one musically & personally, but he really pushes me to question everything I'm doing, and has upped my game in terms of my songwriting and harmonic search. Ridiculously talented. Highly intelligent as a player. Has a different perspective on jazz largely due to his Russian background. I can still feel and hear him growing as a musician and it's exciting to see this progress up front. Very unique in his soloing, and unbelievable technically, a combination you don't see often. I can only hope to enhance his growth by supporting him personally and be as good a wife as I can be for him.
Im sure, its tough to wear both hats in Creative Marriages.
Like a married couple....where they're both up for an award..... in the same category ?!?!
MONDAY : Yeah, In the beginning we didn't see eye to eye on a lot of things about each other's music: I recognized he was a great musician, but when I'd ask him to do string or horn arrangements for me, they were too complex for me to understand. He in turn thought what I was doing that touched the club music scene was not spiritual at all, and urged me to get out and search another avenue. But since then I've grown to appreciate his harmonic and melody sense much more, and he in turn has warmed up to what I'm doing and have done in the past, even likes some of it now!
Thats great, that things worked themselves out.
My Wife is MORE Brilliant, than I could EVER hope to be.
I got REAL Lucky.....
U ready to play da Either OR Game ?
MONDAY : Um....yeah .
*She says tentatively*
Acid Jazz OR Acid Rock ?
MONDAY : Neither.
London OR Japan ?
MONDAY : Both.
Underground OR Mainstream ?
MONDAY : Underground ..with a mainstream income !!
On Perfect World records & tapes
Pro Tools OR NOT ?
MONDAY : That's a rough one. In my heart ? NOT.
My preference will always be to use analogue styles of recording: A beautiful old Neve , two 2-inch tapes, burned onto vinyl... Aaah, the warmth of the sounds, the massiveness of everything, it just can't be replicated.
But, in my mind . knowing the realities ? Protools.
I Feel U.
Stage OR Studio ?
MONDAY : Another rough one. Unfortunately I'm probably a studio artist. I can be more creative and do more interesting things, and damn I just ain't a one-take singer. But doing stages, as shy as I am and as much as I hate standing there for all to see, there's nothing like it in terms of getting a real response from the audience from the performance that is done right there on the spot, and being able to perform with the amazing musicians I am fortunate to perform with. Heck, I feel like I'm a contributing audience member myself, my seat just happens to be on top of the stage, but I respond to the musicians in the forum that is my music.
Do I have to choose on these things?
MONDAY : Man, you've got some tough ones up in here .
Hey, I gotta keep U wanting to Spit it out
MONDAY : Damn , You're Good !!
I've had alot of interviews ....But you're hittin' it so in the Pocket !!!
Alright, hit me with the next one .
*she says, bracing herself *
L.A. OR NYC ?
MONDAY : That's a No Brainer . NYC!!!
MONDAY : But, I love LA grew up there, they have a lot of good stuff goin' on, and I'm definitely a Pacific Ocean girl, but there ain't nuthin', nowhere like NYC. It's dirty, grimy, the people are loud, the streets are louder, over-priced, the have and have nots like a Shakespeare story, etc. The cultural scene & high competition and the talent it breeds is great. I have fond memories growing up as a little one when Greenwich Village was owned by artists, and that's something I cherish.
NYC is THE TRUTH !
( in comparison )
Piano OR Sax ?
You're killing me here!! You KNOW I Love the Sax ....
Well, I thought U may have found a new love .
Cause, I wish NOW that Id found Piano as my first Love
( in Hindsight )
MONDAY : Well, hear me on this one, though...
Both my Dads play it & man do they PLAY IT !
But, I guess it's in direct competition with what I do ( Sing )
So , I'm going to say piano , Hahahaha !!
No, with all seriousness, I choose the piano because when I have the opportunity to sit at a beautiful piano with its regal voice and textures, it just brings it all home to me.
Yo ..Piano is the First & Last stop, What ?!?!
Whats your Favorite or Most Personal song, Uve written to date ?
MONDAY : Wow, can songwriters ever really choose one favorite?
It's like choosing one favorite child.
MONDAY : You've got me stumped. I'm tempted to say "No Matter What" the lyrics are very personal to me, written at a time when I was feeling very tender about life in general . as a close friend was lying in her death bed and my son was still very young and I was feeling very philosophical about life and all that I could hope for my child and the ones I love.
MONDAY : I'm also tempted to say "Star Suite" which is not so much a song but a spoken word performance I did for Mondo Grosso's project back in 2000, later made into a remix by Blaze . that endeared itself to the house audience. The words were written with many images and thoughts going through my mind, a story that is perhaps half me, and half of those I have seen through the years.
MONDAY : From "Routes" perhaps "Touch the Sky," again touching more from the lyrical aspect rather than the musical one. At this stage, I don't think I've really written THE song that says it all, that makes me feel like, "I can die now and know that I've written what I came into this life to write."
But, thats the Whole Reason for the Journey
As a songwriter right ? Even if we DO hit that mark ?
MONDAY : The operative word of "IF"
MONDAY : There are times I write songs and I'm massively happy, like I did the best I could and this represent me now. But there's a part of me, probably my soul and spirit, that transcends time and it floats there in that dimension that is not the earth or any "where" else, but just is, and it feels that there is more to be said, in a simpler way, in the ultimate way that has yet to be reached.
Thank you soooo much, Michiru !!
Its been a long time = wow =
And, I wish you even MORE success with your Life & Music !
U have Definitely been an inspiration to MOST
Youre influence will be felt for years to come.
MONDAY : Thank YOU !
I wish you the best as well, Foley.
Your inspiration and influence continues to nurture many.
One can only hope, Hahaha !
Be Well, Michiru Be well
MONDAY : Thanks again, Foley. This was Fun !!
*Wow, that was Deep for Me.... a lot of years , yall .....a lot of years*
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