Victoria Monét's musical influences include Tina Turner, Beyoncé, and Sade.

Victoria Monét Will Always Be A Jaguar

Now that she’s king of the jungle, Monét isn’t about to retract her claws.

In Elite Daily’s series Early Influences, musicians reflect on the songs and albums that left a lasting impression on them in their formative teen years. Here, singer-songwriter Victoria Monét talks about breathing new life into her Grammy-nominated album with Meta, her R&B influences, and meeting Janet Jackson.

Victoria Monét is a sonic architect. Her lyrical charm is the centerpiece of her 2023 debut album, Jaguar II, where she flirts with romance and success to create her own version of bliss. It is the season of falling in love, after all — and she’s not keeping that sensation hidden. She’s cooing sweet affirmations to herself (“On My Mama”), flaunting her sex appeal with a winking smirk (“Alright”), and raising her hand to those who second guess her confidence (“Cadillac”). It’s always been her world, but the masses have just finally become privy to it.

“Music has the ability to touch people’s souls, and that’s super powerful to me,” Monét tells Elite Daily, her voice as calm as an hourslong ASMR video. Her words are a testament to the last decade of her career, which saw her mainly operating behind the scenes. Since 2010, the singer has written hits for Brandy, Fifth Harmony, and most notably, Ariana Grande. While co-writing Grammy-nominated tracks, Monét also independently released four EPs between 2014 and 2018.

Though those projects didn’t receive mainstream attention, there was always a riveting intrigue to Monét’s ear for music. In works like her 2018 EP, Life After Love, Monét sang with the self-assured confidence of knowing she was a hidden gem. However, it wasn’t until the release of her 2020 EP, Jaguar, that a wider audience noticed her.

Her dominance rose to new heights on Jaguar II, which she recently introduced to the Metaverse. This month, Monét joined forces with Meta for its “It’s Your World” brand campaign, a collaboration with creatives across different industries. On Dec. 16, during Meta’s Sonic Listening Party at Miami Art Week, Monét reimagined “On My Mama” using PianoVision in the brand’s Quest 3 headset.

Victoria Monét's musical influences include Tina Turner, Beyoncé, and Sade.

In the real world, too, she’s still basking in the glow of Jaguar II’s success. Last month, the album earned seven Grammy nominations. (Her 2-year-old daughter, Hazel, also became the youngest Grammy nominee with her brief feature on the Earth, Wind & Fire assisted track “Hollywood.”)

According to Monét, the Jaguar series is an ode to her hunger to be seen as an artist. This feline alter-ego not only opened the door to her generational crowning, but it also shined a light on some of her musical heroes. Below, Monét talks about her biggest R&B influences that encouraged her to make Jaguar II a moment.


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Sade’s dulcet tone has captivated every corner of music. From Deftones adding a haunting, alt-rock touch to her 1992 single “No Ordinary Love” to Drake getting a tattoo of the singer on his abdomen, she’s released enough timeless gems to be hailed as an icon. And to Monét, she is.

“I remember my grandma was watching a tape of Sade’s Live in San Diego show from 1993. And as a kid, I was only watching it because my grandma had control of the TV. It’s her world, her living room,” she recalls with light laughter. “[Sade’s] voice has become the foundation of my influence and peace. When I think about winding down for the night, going out on vacation, or even trying to relax from plane anxiety, I’m playing Sade.”

Sade’s music has an alluring undertone to it — one that’s aged gracefully and can’t be replicated. Monét has always adored her velvety lower register, especially now that her own vocals have deepened since giving birth to her daughter. But largely, she’s appreciated how Sade’s vocals feel like a warm slice of her upbringing. In a way, she’s her most comforting time machine.

“I think there’s some kind of neurological connection between how relaxed I feel listening to Sade, how relaxed I felt sitting next to my grandma, and the comfort of my home as a child. It sticks with you differently,” Monét says. “That became the DNA of who I am musically.”


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Monét fell in love with Beyoncé’s genius as a young child. “At the time, I was in a play at my church, and one of the last songs we had to learn was Destiny’s Child’s [“Gospel Melody” from their Survivor album],” Monét says. “Me and two other girls learned the song together. Actually, I guess that was my first real girl group experience.” Monét would later go on to briefly be part of the girl group Purple Reign, before she embarked on her solo career.

“There wasn’t a time where I didn’t admire or love Beyoncé, but that moment gave me so much appreciation for Destiny’s Child’s melodies and vocals. The way her voice blends with the beat, how controlled her runs are — it’s hard not to appreciate it,” she says.

Her respect for Beyoncé soared after the release of 2016’s Lemonade, an album that rewired how visual albums are now packaged for the masses. Beyoncé used the artistic release to confront the most intimate waves of her marriage with husband Jay-Z, and to hear her unleash her emotions with such raw tenacity gave Monét the chills.

“Man, Lemonade showed me a whole different beast,” Monét describes. “[That album] exposed the experiences that women have had in relationships, and she addressed it in such a vulnerable way. It gave me a whole new respect for her, especially since she made it a visual album and kept it a secret for so long? That blew me away.”

Janet Jackson

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Janet Jackson’s undeniable talent has been an inspiration to Monét for years — and not just musically, stylewise as well. “In high school, I watched a video of a choreographer who had choreographed one of Janet’s songs at the time. I remember [Janet] had on something neutral-toned, had a native-looking choker on, and her natural hair was curled,” she said, seemingly referencing Jackson’s suede, feather-detailed look she wore on her 1993 world tour.

While Monét can’t remember what song Janet performed in the look, there was something about her aura that kept her locked in. “I kept going back to that video to try and learn more about her. I kept thinking, ‘I want to be like her.’ Her sauce and seductiveness showed me a different side of what it means to own your artistry, and I’ve always appreciated that.”

Like most of the world, Janet Jackson became a fan of Monét’s creativity. During the singer’s Jaguar tour, the Velvet Rope star attended one of her November shows in London, and they met for the first time backstage.

“I was so nervous. It was supposed to be a surprise, but my security guard accidentally told me she was coming,” Monét recalls. “I asked him where the special guests were sitting for the night, and he said, ‘Well, Janet’s going to sit there.’ And I was like, ‘Um, excuse me? Janet... like, the Janet?’” Though they were newly meeting, Monet says, “It felt like I’ve known her for my entire life. I’m hoping that our relationship can grow and I’ll be able to call her one day and ask for advice.”

With the meteoric success of Jaguar, Monét’s taking in all the accolades with grace. And while the Jaguar era may not last forever, the pouncing feline will always be an extension of her.

“The jaguar will always be my alter ego,” she says. “I connect with the jaguar so much that it allowed me to unleash a different element of myself. The same way that I’ll always be connected to the color brown, I always will be a jaguar at heart, no matter what era that I’m in.”