A Musical Moment with Monday Blue

Written By Chris Ogando

Miss Monday Blue hails from Jacksonville, North Carolina. She experienced formative years at college in Atlanta before coming to the east coast to New York City. 

Before mixing and maneuvering vinyls on turntables Monday Blue trained, practiced, and mastered the art of Physical Therapy. Combined with her abilities to massage minds with music, the common thread of healing is something she holds dear as she values deeply helping crowds coalesce into communal healing through communal dancing. 

As a Selector she finds it imperative to  tune in to the energy exchange and to think like a dancer. 

Tune in as we explore Ms. Monday Blue’s Musical Musings. 

Tell us of your love for music, how it started….

“I’ve loved music since I can remember being aware of myself and the world. My brother, 14 years older than me, used to play his records when he was babysitting me… Cameo, Brick, Rick James, and the Fatback Band.

I would sit and listen and examine the album covers… they were fascinating, so much to look at. My Dad (now an ancestor) used to play our town’s AM radio station when we rode around… now I know I was listening to Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, Hall & Oates… and I love those groups and that era still. My Dad used to play some reggae and Jimmy Buffett which he told me was “sailing music,” lol! I wasn’t totally into reggae (at the time) or Jimmy (ever) but I always loved it when he played Stevie, Al Jarreau, and Marvin Gaye. All that to say, my family influences sparked my love of music and my Dad told me as a baby I would bounce to whatever they played.”

Shed some light on your finding a deeper passion for music, before djing, and after ?

“I’ve always loved dancing and think that it drove or is entwined with my love of music. When I really reflect on it, there were eras of sounds and a few key experiences that really deepened my understanding of how music (and movement) can evoke emotion and memory… even transport you to someplace you’ve been before or have only seen in your mind’s eye.” 

“When I was a student at Spelman in Atlanta, I worked at Tower Records my senior year. That was amazing and transformative in ways for me because I was exposed to and learned SO much about different artists and genres; back then the buyers for the sections (based upon genre) were basically experts regarding their area. I also started to get a rudimentary understanding of how a musical product moves from artist to consumer… and this was before smartphones and social media, at the early stages of the internet, so there was a lot more involved in spreading the word about a release.”

“And dancing… always dancing. It helped me through so many iterations of my life and myself. For about 7-8 years I was a group fitness instructor. I used to teach 6-10 classes a week. A couple of years ago it dawned on me that my life had kind of come back to a similar point… when I was teaching fitness classes, I was using music and movement to help folks elevate and transform the/their energy. And that’s what I do as a DJ. Funny thing !”

Were there songs and genres that cultivated a deeper relationship/ curiosity/ excitement ?

“Oh, definitely! I spent a lot of time tracking down the original songs sampled in a lot of golden age hip hop, especially that of the Native Tongues, Digable Planets, etc. That led to me learning (and getting into) rare groove, deep funk and soul cuts, and jazz. 

Loose Ends and Soul II Soul make me feel… something different. And then that throughline went to Omar Lyefook and Jamoiroquai. Funk and 80s boogie were the soundtrack of my childhood and early adolescence… foundational. Disco is the ultimate dance music. I grew up hearing the “hits” but when I discovered rare disco, that was a game changer. And I love spinning it.

Hot Music by Soho kind of changed my life, lol… I first heard it out in a club somewhere in Atlanta. I didn’t get a track ID until some month’s later when my good friend heard some guys playing it in their car while dancing to it on the sidewalk. She told me where I could buy a copy (the now defunct Ear Wax Records). That started me down a path of tracking down more club/house music and the parties where they played it.

The Platinum Pied Pipers/j*Davey/Sa-Ra Creative Partners era is also one of my favorites… classic and futuristic all at the same time.

And then there’s Prince. Prince Rogers Nelson. My goodness… his music and artistry made me want to inhabit the worlds and dimensions he appeared to occupy. I could go on and on, so I’ll leave at that, lol”

You mentioned finding Afrokinetic, Rich Medina, Spinna and Soul in the Horn as well as dancing at empty churches in Atlanta at House Music parties as experiences that fueled your love for music and dance could you expand upon that from the viewpoint and experiences you have now as someone who creates that environment and community at places like Doyennes of Disc, and on your Follow your Bliss stream ?

“Yes… I enjoyed those parties and spaces because the deejays took you on a journey, the folks present were open to being present for and taking part in that journey, and there was space to just express who you felt while being on that journey. To me those are the best party spaces. That’s always my goal when I play a set for Follow Your Bliss or Doyennes of Disc… I want it to feel like a space where: “We’re gathered here to get through this thing called life…” I want it to feel like you fell into another part of the multiverse for the time that you’re there”

How do you like to envision the energy transference between you, the music, and the crowd during your sets ?

“I feel it more than envision it if that makes sense. I like to sit, breathe and meditate before gigs so that I’m grounded, calm, and centered, so that I feel clear on the inside. And then when I get into the gig, I trust my instincts, observe how the folks are responding (or not), and drive the energy. And driving the energy doesn’t mean that it’s boom, boom, boom all night… I think the energy should have peaks and valleys, ebb and flow like the ocean and moon. If I had to visualize it, it would look like”

Could you expand upon parallels you’ve noticed or ways influences pass between your practice as a physical healer and Sonic healer ? Has blending, weaving, and manipulating music lent itself in some way to other aspects of life when it comes to curating, selecting, timing ? 

“I’ve become very cognizant that a large part of physical and sound healing is about handling energy… channeling it, releasing blocked energy so that it can be transmuted, and helping folks remember that they have sovereignty over their own energy”

“Blending and manipulating music has taught me that some energies work well together, others not so well, and that’s not personal and it doesn’t mean that an entity is “wrong”… it just is what it is. And that’s made me much more intentional about managing my energy well so that I can direct it where I want”

You’ve mentioned thinking like a dancer when behind the booth. Speak more to that, perhaps in juxtaposition to the “Friday nights, play these hot 20s songs”. How is it more soulful and deeper ?

“Whoo, “Friday night… play these hot 20 songs” wears me out and drains my battery, lol! Dancers will find and ride the rhythm. Dancers are open to energy. Energy is sparked and amplified by inspiration and I think that’s hard to spark when you’re not being exposed to what sounds and feels good (vs what’s hot at the moment). So, yes, I think like a dancer when I play”

“Depending on the moment / mood, I may sit down and chat with someone and head nod, two step, or twirl, dip, and jump, lol”

We’ll leave off there to leave some mystique for those who find thrills in the seek. We eagerly encourage you to find yourself a Monday Blue mix or two and enjoy the tunes. Or if you can  come catch a vibe on February 9th for Soul In The Horn BK Love Fest at Crown Hill Theatre and when the music moves you, catch that groove too.