Siobhan Monique on Authenticity, Healing and the Motherland Experience

By Jake-ann Jones

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November 6 at 6 pm
Concert at 8 pm
outside the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum
Details here

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In a cookie-cutter entertainment field, being unique as well as immensely talented can make you an outlier in the ever-more “trending culture” performance world.

Take the case of the ultra-talent Siobhan Monique Roland – a St. Pete born and bred classically trained vocalist who honed her skills in the performance trenches of New York and Los Angeles.

The singer has lent her powerful vocal performances in tributes to legends like Marion Anderson and Billie Holiday, and covered the sounds of contemporary songstresses like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott. She served as a Creative Pinellas 2019 Emerging Artist Fellow.

Paired with powerhouse vocals, Siobhan Monique also bucks current go-to trends in favor of a decidedly afrofuturistic flair layered with opera-diva funkiness.
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Siobhan Monique – photo by Boyzell Hosey

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Now the singer is back in St. Pete and bringing her Motherland festival concert experience to the Deuces on November 6, backed by her band The Negro Ninjaz, along with performer Queen of Ex and DJ Jx Honey.

Attendees can expect numerous vendors, food trucks, fire-breathers, aerialists and a live muralist. Siobhan Monique says she’s looking for the community to not only enjoy themselves but to find healing and self-awareness.

“I think for this performance, my mission and what I’ve been taking away from this entire preparation process of the show, is really getting in touch and in tune with who I am. And encouraging other people to get in touch and in tune with exactly who they are,” shares the 31-year-old vocalist.

She noted that artists, especially younger ones, can be impressionable, and struggle to find their authentic self in the fray of today’s erratic, overly-media-obsessed culture. “For artists, you’re basically told the way that you’re supposed to act, the way that you’re supposed to sing, dance and create your art,” she relays.

Siobhan Monique cautions that while all that is supposed to help artists “get to a certain level,” there is danger inherent in this information-overload. “You can’t figure out what that is, if you don’t know who you are – or if you’re trying to mimic or be like something else.

“If I could have someone take away something from this show, it’s just to know thyself, love thyself and be thyself.”
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The recent debut single from Siobhan Monique

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She also observes that the current climate makes artists feel like there is a competition – as though they are already “running out of time.”

“It makes artists feel like you’re already behind. Especially with the new age rappers and singers that are coming up, in my field specifically. They’re a lot younger than I am and everything is so instantaneous, so they’re regurgitating a bunch of music just to stay relevant.”

However, the artist says that’s it’s been important for her to “take the road less traveled,” as she crafts a road that “brick by brick” is specifically designed for her.

And while she acknowledges that in the past she “wasted time trying to emulate other artists and other things to get to where I thought I wanted to be,” experience and wisdom have led her to create differently.

“Things take time, and there is no rush,” shares the singer, who notes that the pandemic allowed her to slow down and respect the process. Going through necessary lessons, Siobhan Monique muses, helped put her in a place where she could not only achieve, but be in a place to share “whatever it is that God has for me.”
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Siobhan Monique performs at The Studio@620 with keyboardist Alonzo Bickers in August. It was the first time she sang before a live audience since before the pandemic shutdown – photo by Boyzell Hosey

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For the artist, the term “Motherland” signifies the process of healing. “A good representation of Motherland is you heal the woman, you heal the nation. Heal the woman, heal the nation. So, for me, as an artist it is the end of a cycle and the beginning of another.”

The “ancestral funk” that guides Siobhan Monique takes over, as she describes the “cycles and spaces” artists can stay, or remain trapped, within. She shares that her sister – who is a Reiki specialist, leads meditations and specializes in crystal work and sound guiding bowls – has taught her about ending cycles and leaving “subtle bodies” behind.

“For me as an artist, the Motherland is where I’m about to be going,” she notes, adding that the concert is a celebration of shedding things that are no longer serving our spirit. “Saying goodbye to [the old cycles]. I’m opening up my arms and I’m embracing and stepping into my Motherland, my kingdom and my purpose.”

And, shares Siobhan Monique, through the celebration of the festival, the community is offered a time of refreshing through music, food and fun. For the community, she notes, it allows an opportunity to experience their own liberating process of return, renewal and release.

As a spokesperson for RaceWithoutIsm, her role is to communicate unity and love between all people. RaceWithoutIsm’s founder, Danny White, has shared that the purpose for the organization is to talk about race without the highly charged and negative connotations that normally come with the topic.
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Siobhan Monique’s “Say Their Names” video was created in November 2020 to ask,
“Are you brave enough to confront racism in this land of the free?

During the upcoming Motherland performance, there will be plenty of unifying experiences to share. Attendees will experience events on the Deuces field, as well as across the street during the concert, scheduled to happen on the site of the Black Lives Matter mural in front of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum.

The latter part of the concert will feature Siobhan Monique’s own sounds, with the release of her new album, Jane Doe. The artist describes her album as “a mixture of all those old sounds with a New Age, modern feel to it.” She acknowledges that the foundations of her legendary jazz musician uncle Buster Cooper and grandfather Steve Cooper can be found in her sound.
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Siobhan Monique and the Negro Ninjaz at Jannus Live

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“Release is a therapy – it has a healing component. And when it’s done with the right intention, and it’s done purposefully, you’re able to heal in that moment.” The release of past cycles leaves space for love for self, love for others, and love for the environment.

“That’s what Motherland means for me as an artist,” Siobhan Monique muses. “That’s what my intention is.”

The event begins at 6 pm, and attendees are encouraged to bring their chairs and blankets. The concert begins 8 pm sharp.

Children ages 12 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased here.
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You can explore Siobhan Monique’s work here
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Siobhan Monique is prayed over by her mother, Melissa Roland before she performs at The Studio@620 in August as her father Gary Rohland stands by. It was the first time she sang before a live audience since before the pandemic shutdown – photo by Boyzell Hosey

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