When you first look at a young, pretty girl with a lot of jewelry on you might think, Don’t try so hard.
That’s not the case with Monica Matocha. Monica’s look is composed with a seamlessly genuine approach. Each piece is hand-picked and even sometimes handcrafted to layer her style.
This is what Monica does- she constructs art in every aspect of her life. Her incredible perception of fashion isn’t all that makes Monica a wonderful Houston artist; she creates moving melodies that contribute to bringing you in for that second look.
And Empire Café was full of second glances when I sat down with Monica Matocha. She doesn’t stroll in like a diva, she doesn’t try to make everyone’s eyes follow her or talk loud so they will notice her, they just do because Monica entrusts an underlying level of poise in her self.
Monica Matocha is a musician making huge strides in her singing career and quickly becoming another artist to delight the nation’s fourth largest city. Releasing her first single less than six months ago, Monica has already snatched two Houston Press Music Awards, climbed the U.S. Pop Charts to the top 75, the Independent Artists Charts to number 3, landed an endorsement with Daisy Rock Girl Guitars and landed her name in various publications including Music News Nashville.
All of these achievements show how and what Monica is doing, but the real beauty of Monica’s success is why she is making music. So I sat down with her while the sunny, gorgeous weather mirrored our conversation.
“Once I began the writing process, both lyrically and musically, it was unquestionably me. I had the freedom to express my thoughts and feelings without a filter. I do music because I love it and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m not intimidated by anyone.” ~ Monica Matocha
MHL: You’ve known for a long time that singing is what you want to do- was there ever a doubt?
MM: As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to perform. I used to dance competitively when I was younger, and performing came so naturally to me; I loved it. When I started singing and writing my own music I just knew… the passion was instant.
MHL: Did you have a favorite song growing up- one you liked to belt out in front of everyone?
MM: I don’t recall singing one song a lot, but I’ve been told by my mom that I would sing “Santa Baby” at the top of my lungs with a hairbrush in my hand like a microphone over and over!
MHL: You could have auditioned for American Idol or any other talent competition- what factors contributed to you taking on a career from the ground up on your own?
MM: When I was younger, I truly did not think I was good enough. As I developed confidence in myself and learned more about the industry through different experiences, I realized how involved I like to be in every aspect of my art. I love having the freedom and the control over my work. I did receive a private invitation to audition for The Voice several months ago, and did consider it for a few minutes. Its a great platform; I just haven’t felt at this point that it’s the one for me.
MHL: And you want to be an international pop singer, right? Where would be a place you would like to perform in the future?
MM: I would love international success. There are so many places I want to perform. I have been hearing so much about Australia and it looks and sounds incredible. I might have to think about India- I have a lot of fans there!
MHL: India? That’s interesting. So you’re already reaching out overseas and competing in this quickly evolving world of music. What do you think is a signature Monica Matocha sound or way to identify your music?
MM: I don’t think I have released enough of my songs for people to really pinpoint my “sound” yet, but I think of my music as pop with an edge and a creatively crafted story. A lot of what’s on pop radio right now is dance pop and very repetitive. My sound leans more on the pop/rock side, but has those same catchy elements. Just thinking about the record right now, there is so much depth, so much of my sound that I can’t wait for people to hear.
MHL: Your songs certainly have so much substance. Did you harness inspiration from a certain artist? Is there one that you would become completely star struck over?
MM: This question always gets me because I can’t pinpoint just one artist. I love and admire so many… and I listen to everything. Dave Matthews, Katy Perry, The Fray, Avril Lavigne, Linkin Park, Paramore… I could go on and on. All of these artists and many others have inspired me.
MHL: How about in your fashion? You have a pretty unique sense of style- mixing modern and vintage- how do you put an outfit together? What do you start with- clothes or accessories?
MM: I usually start with one piece- maybe shoes, maybe jewelry. No, jewelry is last. The accessories make the outfit. I have a lot of accessories. [Laughter] I add in as I go and like to lay the whole outfit on my bed to see how it will look. When I’m putting together a special look, I probably arrange about 3 outfits before I decide on the final one. On a typical day, the process isn’t as extensive. I just throw on something easy and accessorize!
MHL: What about a typical weekend? Do you have any hobbies or activities you do on the side?
MM: Hmm.. I love bike riding. Especially right now before we get the outrageous Houston summer heat and humidity. And I love to bake [as she pulls out her phone to show me the most interesting rainbow cake I’ve ever seen]. You have to weigh and separate the batter, then tint it; it’s a process! I have a job too- I have been doing a medical transcription job from my house ever since high school.
MHL: Where are your favorite places in Houston- restaurants, shopping, or outdoor activities?
MM: Tasti D’Lite! I’m obsessed. Some of my favorite shopping is at the thrift and antique stores in Montrose and the Heights- The Guild, Buffalo Exchange. The Guild is probably my favorite; you can find some serious treasures in there and it benefits a charity which is awesome. I love Escalantes and California Pizza Kitchen. I really like just walking around the village and all the fun shopping areas… and I always love going to concerts at the Toyota Center.
You can learn more about Monica Matocha’s music and fashion at her website: www.MonicaMatocha.com, her Facebook: www.facebook.com/monicamatochamusic , look for her recipes and fashion on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/monicamatocha and follow her on Twitter: @Monica_Matocha.