Kansas City, Missouri isn’t really known for its Hip Hop and R&B acts and the ones they do have, haven’t really broken through to the mainstream. While I’m sure there’s plenty of other acts but none of them are as big as these two or even close, the only two major artists I personally know coming out of Kansas City is Tech 9ne and Jonelle Monae.
So with all that said, let me introduce you to the rapper, singer, and producer Navé Monjo one of the premiere up and coming artists coming out of Kansas City. And although, the name probably doesn’t ring a bell yet, but just trust us as it will soon.
At a pretty impressionable age, Navé developed a passion for music and began producing and eventually stepped behind the mic. As early as 7th grade, he started mixing his own music, making himself a triple threat and building the foundation of what was to come.
After spending the past few years perfecting his craft and finding his sound, Navé released his first hit with the self-produced single “Royal Blue” in 2015. The song which was inspired by his hometown and the Kansas City Royals winning the World-Series, showed off his versatility with him rapping, producing and even doing a little singing on the track. The single caught the attention of 300 Ent. and led to him inking a deal with them in September of last year. Since signing with 300, Navé has released the singles “Collect My Pay,” “Stole Yo B*Tch,” & “L.T.B.D”; and with each, he shows the depth of his abilities. He is now gearing up to release his debut EP ‘Hypnotherapy‘ which has no set date at the moment, but is slated to drop in the next few months.
I had the opportunity to speak with Navé Monjo about his influences, singing with 300, touring with T-Pain, Hypnotherapy and much more. Get familiar with the fast rising multi-talented artist in our interview and listen to the compilation of his most recent singles below.
1. At what age did you start making music? And who were some your influences that really inspired you to this point?
- I wanna say I started making beats in about fourth grade and really recording when I was about 12-13 years old. Some of my influences are Micahel Jackson, Usher, Omarion just to name a few and Chris Brown, of course. Producer wise, Timbaland and Pharrell were some of my major influences.
2. You write, produce and you engineer your own music which is almost unheard of; which of the three did you start doing first and do you prefer one over the other?
- I really started producing first and as I progressed as an artist, I started mixing my own music early on around 7th grade. When I got to high school, I really started working on my craft a lot more. I kept doing it from that point on because I really wanted to get better at it, so it took me in the direction I’m in now.
3. Along with writing for yourself, you also lend your pen to other artists. Did you start writing for other people first and who have you written for?
- I haven’t really written much for any majors, but I was definitely in a lot of sessions that had some potential to go places. Besides writing for other artists I did a few collabs early on with Red Cafe and Audio Push. Back in 2015, I was doing a lot of songwriting in Atlanta up at Atlantic at DJ Drama’s studio. Like I said I was doing a lot of writing, but I didn’t really get any placements.
4. In 2014, you joined T-Pain on his “Drankin Patna Tour,” explain what experience was like, and did you take anything away from it?
- The “Drankin Patna Tour” came along through my partner Mykell Vaughn, he is a rapper from Kansas City as well and he was on the T-Pain tour so he brought me along with him. It was my first major tour and I was on a majority of the tour dates. It was fun, we were all hopping in the car just moving from city to city.
5. You’re currently working on your debut EP “Hypnotherapy,” what has your creative process been while recording the project and will you be producing the entire project?
- Yes, I will definitely be producing the entire project for sure. My process in that is I wanted to give fans a different side of me musically that they really don’t know about. I’m not doing my hip-hop thing on this one as I’m really into creating R&B, so I wanted to show that on this project. It will show my versatility as an artist for sure and I think pretty soon people will understand the potential I have in this industry and where my music can really go. It’s done already, so now I’m just focusing on mixing it and making sure every record sounds at its full potential. I also will be mixing and mastering it myself.
- I think that’s one of my biggest tools as far as making music, I’m into the whole engineering thing. Out of high school, I went to this school called the Recording Connection for about a year and I got my degree in audio engineering. If I wanted to I could technically say I’m a professional audio engineer.
6. When can we expect “Hypnotherapy” to be released?
- We don’t have a date yet but right now it’s slated to drop around Memorial Day. The EP is pretty much done already we just have to wait on the things on the business side.
7. Talk about inking that deal with 300 Ent, how did that come about and what made you choose them?
- Me and my manager Reno, we started getting the “Royal Blue” records out to a lot of markets around the world. So back in September when we were pushing “Royal Blue” really heavy on the radio, it had just sparked some interest at 300 mainly with AZ Cohen. From there we went to New York sat down had a little conversation, went to the 300 party, vibed-out and around November I signed; and we just been building from there.
- We chose 300 because they were some of the first people to reach out and it was something that just kind of happened organically, it was really unexpected. With AZ (Lyor Cohens son) being so young and me being so young it just felt like something that would fit. Kevin Liles was really excited about it and I got a chance to meet Lyor even though he’s not part of the company anymore. It was one of the best moves as far as starting off my career and we’ll see where it goes.
8. So you frequently use that hashtag “Monjo Land“, tell us about that, what’s the story around it?
- Well, Monjo means you are a visionary on your own path. It’s just me explaining through determination, passion, and hard work that I can get to where I’m trying to go as an artist. So, Monjo really represents those things, my vision, my path as far as music and everything that comes with it the good and the bad, but mostly about me staying focused and getting the things I need to get done to become successful. It’s really deeper than that, but that’s the best way to sum it up.
9. What else do you have lined up for 2017? What can your fans expect for the rest of this year?
- You can expect some new visuals, I have an album coming once the fanbase grows a little more, but I’m going to call the album ‘Written By Evan.’ The reason I’m going to call it that is because that’s my real name, and that’s how I got the whole Navé thing because Navé is my name backwards, and I added the Monjo to it. I’m definitely excited about this year.
- I’m excited about the new music coming, and I just hope everybody else feels the same way.