Monique was born in Birmingham (UK), to Pastor Clement Reid and Sonia Reid. As the youngest of their six children, she joined the family band at the age of 3 years old.
The ‘Reid Family’ performed together at church services and concerts which gave Monique a solid foundation in both the church and its music. Starting with Monique's grandmother, Doris Nembhard (who was the church organist and Choir Director at Life and Light Fellowship Church for for over 60 years), her family is rich in the heritage of Gospel music.
As a teenager, Monique went through a rebellious phase and at the age of 15-16 she left church and home after deciding to follow her own path.
As the years went by, her relationship with God grew increasingly distant and singing was no longer a prominent part of her life. In her mid-to-late 20s Monique started singing again and accompanied various bands and local groups (both live & studio work), such as Grammy award winning reggae band- Steel Pulse, Black Voices, China Black and Michael Bolton, to name a few. However, because of her own personal struggles she no longer found contentment in singing and her confidence suffered.
After Monique re-dedicated her life back to Christ, her desire was to use her gift to share the gospel, but her confidence was still affected by her past. Monique found security in singing alongside other people, groups and choirs but felt more at home singing with her big sister Denise Wilson, who is an accomplished pianist and one of Birmingham's best Choir Directors......... and also beside her big brother Reed Bass, who is one of the UK's leading bassists.
In recent years Monique finally submitted to God's unique call and decided to go solo. By putting her confidence in God instead of her own ability, Monique now boldly ministers in song wherever she goes.
Most recently, Monique was crowned BBC's Songs of Praise first Gospel Singer of the Year 2021.
Monique is married with four children and is a member of Life and Light Fellowship Church, in Birmingham. In 2008 she graduated from the Birmingham City University with a Bachelor of Laws degree (with honours) and practised in Family Law for a number of years before venturing into Youth Work.
In 2014, Monique and her husband Glen started a Christian-led youth project called CRIB 3:16. The project was set up to help inner-city young people make positive choices, access education and employment opportunities and, navigate their life with a sense of purpose.
Question: What first got you into music?
Monique: My mum and dad. They were both into music. My mum sang and played the guitar and my dad managed the group she was in called 'The Soul Seekers'. The band would regularly rehearse at our house in the early days, so we were always surrounded by live music. My siblings and I had no choice as to whether or not we sang or played an instrument, that was decided for us by merely being born into a family of musicians.
Question: What was the first solo/lead song you recall singing?
Monique: Walk Around Heaven (Might Clouds of Joy) when I was around 8 years old. My sister Denise sat with me for days teaching me the song, we practiced the 'I need you, I need you to be my guide.....pleeeaaaase' high bits continuously until I got it right!
Question: What was your first experience of writing music/songs?
Monique: My first attempt was when I was in Black Voices! Up until that point, I had never written a song and didn't understand the art of creating music. There was something about experiencing the raw oral tradition of singing a-cappella, and understanding how harmonies and sounds blend that gave me a new appreciation for music.
Question: Which recording artists were your earliest musical influences?
Monique: Shirley Caesar, Andrae Crouch, Danniebelle Hall, The Winans, Edwin/Walter/Tramaine Hawkins and Mighty Clouds of Joy. As much as our home was filled with gospel influences from the USA, my dad's reggae 'Tabernacle Records' was more akin to what we heard every week at church. Both my parents were born in Jamaica (mum-Clarendon & dad-St Catherine) and they came to the UK in the 60s. Reggae was one of my earliest foundational music influences. Every chorus and hymn we sang at church, no matter how traditional in design, had a reggae vibe. When I left church, I preferred listening to ragga/reggae over the more popular genres of soul, hip-hop and RnB. My favourite artists back then were Dennis Brown, Beres Hammond, Barrington Levy and of course, Bob.
My love of reggae spilled over into my choice of gospel music when I returned to church, with Papa San and Chevelle Franklin topping my playlist. More recently, included in my Gospel reggae favourites are Samuel Medas, Dwayne Fyah and DJ Nicholas.
Question: Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Monique: Easy....The First Lady of Gospel.....Pastor Shirley Caesar.
Question: What's the top 10 songs on your Spotify 'liked' playlist?
Monique: In no particular order:
*Best Thing (Jonathan McReynolds)
*Like There's No Tomorrow (Sam Medas)
*We Shall Walk in the Valley in Peace (The Aeolians of Oakwood University)
*Voice of God (Dante Bowe)
*Lord you are Good (Todd Galberth)
*Living this Kind of Life (Peter Collins/Myron Butler)
*Next In Line for a Miracle (Shirley Caesar)
*I know too much about Him (Smokie Norful)
*How Deep The Father's Love For Us (Selah)
*I will never (Dwayne Fyah)
Question: Which famous gospel artists/musicians do you admire for their contribution to gospel music?
Monique: Pastor Shirley Caesar. I love the old school, toe-tappin', tambourine-playing kind of gospel. Shirley Caesar has dedicated her life to sharing the gospel in song and in addition to her being a preacher and Pastor, her unique sound, strength in delivery and her integrity is a legacy that is unrivalled.
In the UK...... Lurine Cato MBE I first saw Lurine sing in 2015 in Birmingham (she was one of the supporting artists for Kirk Franklin). Not only was I blown away by her voice, I was moved by her resolute to worship whilst on stage rather than letting it be just all a 'show'. I love the fact that she uses her platform and her gift to share the gospel and to support worthy charitable causes, including undertaking community work.
Question: What is the best advice you’ve been given as a vocalist?
Monique: "It's not about you!"
Question: If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
Monique: Ageism. Yes, it exists in the music industry and unless you have achieved any notable success in your youth.....there's no chance of you ever being picked up by a major record label in your later years. In saying that, with the growing use of social media, it's a lot easier for everyone to get their music out there independently.
Question: What’s next for you?
Monique: I serve a God of 'open doors'. He orchestrated for me to win BBC's Gospel Singer of the Year in 2021, and I have placed my music ministry in the palm of His hands. In all things I am mindful to ensure my steps are ordered by God and that I remain obedient to His calling. So.....watch this space