Premiere: Moneá Offers Soothing Advice On “Check In”
Great music extends far beyond a catchy melody or impressive arrangement. It inspires. It resonates. It excites. Great music plays with our emotions, making us feel the pain or joy within, and joins it with just the right chord and phrase that makes it linger in our subconscious for weeks, months, and even years to come. The music of soul singer Moneá rises to this lofty standard, though in a slightly different manner. Instead of harping on the lows of life or just relishing its highs, the Richmond local uses her strong command of songwriting to help fill the space in between with encouraging and affirming songs. This uplifting approach helps put the focus firmly on caring and loving yourself, so that we can better weather those lows and better enjoy those highs as we move through life.
Earlier this year, Moneá released 777, a five track R&B marvel that featured dreamy vocals and strong lyrical affirmations. That inspiring aesthetic carries over into her latest single, “Check In,” a dreamy comfort that inspires not just with its positive lyrics but also its dazzling arrangement. Out everywhere on Tuesday, November 8th, The Auricular is proud to premiere the song one day early with an exclusive stream below as well as a brief Q&A from the sensational singer.
Opening with lush sounds and a delicate ambience, “Check In” begins like a vivid dream that provides essential direction. “You gotta let it go, if you want your peace / Make sure you know your heart, and you will learn to see,” she croons over a rich bass line, setting the stage for the calming advice ahead. As her guidance continues, the swirling background vocals intensify, reinforcing the message with an alluring tone as they float around the melody and rhythm. As the chorus kicks in, the hazy dream becomes as clear and direct as its inspiring lyrics. “Check in / Your mind, your body, your soul / You need to check in / Let it all through, let it all go,” Moneá instructs, solidifying the soothing lyrical message of the song that is just as impressive as its radiant sounds.
Stirring and refreshing, “Check In” is a musical wonder, expounding upon the already great songs of 777 with sharpened emotion and brilliant arrangement. Compact in its runtime, there are still several layered threads to follow within the song, making us wonder more about the song’s genesis and recording. Thankfully, we were able to catch up with Moneá over e-mail about some of our questions so we can better understand and appreciate the moving genius of “Check In.”
Much of 777 was built around positive affirmations and “Check In” seems to continue this trend. Is this a conscious effort you make when writing songs, or just a reflection of your life at the moment?
This song was definitely more of a reflection of my life at the moment. I feel that over the past couple of months, as I’m figuring things out in my life and my journey through music, I realized I wasn’t checking on myself as often as I would like. When writing this song, I was talking to myself in a way, but I knew that a lot of others could resonate with the lyrics as well.
For “Check In,” was it written intended as an inner monologue or an interpersonal conversation? Or is there intentional ambiguity to drive the point home?
It’s more of an inner monologue. I definitely feel like I was talking to myself and giving myself advice when writing this song, but also, I knew I was talking to others, especially with the chorus of the songs. I have told multiple friends and people in my family about how they should be checking in with theirselves. So both!
Every piece of “Check In” seems to flow together so perfectly that it makes me wonder about your songwriting process. Do the lyrics or melody typically come first?
The melody usually always comes first with me! I love just listening to beats and writing however I feel at the moment to whatever beat that resonates.
Did you always envision this drafty, airy feel to the song?
Yes! I did envision the airy feel, especially when the background vocals [came] in. I feel like they really complete the song.
I’m interested in the background vocals of the song, and the ambience they bring with them, just like on 777. At what point in the songwriting process do you start to consider the background vocals, considering they take up so much space within the song?
I actually don’t even think about the background vocals until I start recording the song. Usually, I’ll do the background once the main vocal is finished. Then my engineer, Solomon Dixon, helps me figure out where to place them and how to make them sound amazing! We do like to spend a lot of time on background vocals because I feel like they can make a song pop out more and make it feel more special.
How did the recording process change from “Check In” to the songs of 777? I noticed some subtle differences like the bass being placed ahead of the percussion in the mix.
I think the recording process was definitely the same, especially because I work with the same engineer as 777, but I think this one I wanted to experiment more, especially with the harmonies and background vocals. I wanted this song to feel like you’re floating, but still grounded at the same time.
A stand-alone single eight months after your first EP. Is “Check In” a preview of what’s to come or was it more about capturing a song immediately as it came to you?
“Check In” is definitely a little bit of both! I’m sure this would be on a future project, but that wasn’t my intention for releasing it when I did. I really felt like with the holidays coming, and the year almost over, I really wanted to remind the world that it’s important to check in with yourself.
“Check In” is out on all streaming platforms Tuesday, November 8th. Make sure to follow Moneá on Instagram (link here) and Tik Tok (link here) so you know when the next song or concert gets announced.