We had the good fortune of connecting with Monique Brooks Roberts and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monique, how do you think about risk?
To me, risk and fear go hand in hand. In order to truly “risk it all”, you must let go of the fear attached to the risk. I think the main thought is, will I fail if I take this risk? The answer is maybe, but you have to be okay with that. You must believe that the positive outweighs the negative thoughts taking place in your mind. I really believe that everyone who has had a level of success that you admire, and of course that looks different to everyone, has taken a risk to get where they are. I was born and raised in Louisville, KY where the music scene was not really happening at all outside of a few wedding band gigs here and there and an orchestra. A mentor in college told me I needed to leave KY if I wanted to have a decent career in music and he felt I had the talent. So I did. I risked everything and headed east and it ended up being the greatest thing I could have ever done for myself. Was I afraid to fail? Absolutely. Certain folks said I’d be back or didn’t believe I could “make it”, but ultimately, I had the belief in myself that trying was worth more than failing. If you fail because you don’t risk, you made no action, but if you try with all your might and you fail, you’ll have no regrets and I guarantee you learned something about yourself that you can apply to taking the next risk. The cool thing is, everything I’ve risked has worked out in my favor! You have to feel the fear and then let it go…do it afraid anyway! That’s my mantra every time I’m presented with fear when wanting to take the next risk in life and my career.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a violinist, composer, creative, podcaster, music lover and so much more. I pray to always inspire and spread love to others through the gift of music. This journey has not always been easy, but I knew from a young age that this was my destiny and no one could stand in my way, not even myself! Fear had been a great resistance in my life. It took years of self discovery to get through those barriers. I still have my moments but I made a vow to myself years ago that I would never say no to an opportunity out of fear. Say yes before any doubt can set in, then put in the work to achieve it. I never wanted to look back and have regrets. It’s not easy, but it’s intentional and as cliché as it may sound, we can do anything we want in this life with a simple belief in ourselves and our abilities.
Something I’m really proud of is finding my own voice amongst the noise. It can be hard to find your special voice, especially if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others in your field. I know it can be hard not to compare, but it’s counter productive! Know that you were created with a specialty that no one else can recreate or duplicate! I am Monique, simply, and that is more than enough. It’s a beautiful thing when you realize that it’s not about you, it’s about what your gift opens up in others. I love working with energetic souls who feed my creativity and challenge me to be better.
I’m really excited about my new ventures these past couple of years which have included film scoring and podcasting! I’m super proud of my podcast, The S.I.P. (Sistas in Power) Podcast where I host along with my amazing friends and two of the dopest creatives you’ll ever meet, Jazz vocalist Rajdulari and Poet, Kerrie Joy! We focus on giving a voice to Black women world wide to share their stories with our viewers and listeners. Black women have been censored for far too long and we’re taking our power back! It’s been amazing to watch it unfold and the pandemic caused us to shift in a way that actually took us to the next level. Super grateful for the work we do and the ability to create the change we want to see in the world. I hope you’ll check it out!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First I would take them to have brunch at Tea Lee’s Tea house for some amazing quiche and tea! Then maybe we’d head out to Golden for a hike at Mayhem Gulch Trail and afterwards, we’d sit by the creek and talk about any and everything! Then we’d go have a nap cause naps are LIFE! ha! For dinner, I’d take them to D Bar for some amaaaazing food and dessert! I’d love to take them to a cabin in some really cool part of CO for a few days just to hang and take in the beauty of this state! Maybe we’d catch a show at Dazzle or some really dope outdoor festival at Red Rocks! Lastly, they wouldn’t be able to leave town without getting some tacos from North County in Lowry, some of the best taco I’ve had since moving here!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I love this question! None of us have gotten where we are solely on our talents and good deeds. I have had a tribe of folks who have helped me along my journey. So much love and gratitude goes to all the incredible violin teachers I’ve had across my career, but one especially; Professor Jeremy Mulholland. When I expressed to him my love of jazz and improvisation, he welcomed it with open arms and allowed me to create a different path for myself outside of classical music. I have to shoutout all my amazing friends and family who have supported and believed in me wholeheartedly. To my #1 fan, my husband and producer J. Aaron Brooks Roberts. None of us are on this journey alone, we’ve been inspired by the greats that came before us. To Regina Carter, Diane Monroe, Karen Briggs, John Blake Jr., Ginger Smock, and the list goes on; I honor and thank you for paving the way! Every person who has told me YES, thank you. Everyone who told me NO, I thank you too because it taught me to never give up.
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Please credit all photos except the Lizzo photo to photographer Ryan Landell.