I thank God Almighty for blessing me with the opportunity to give praise and to give back to my friends, fans, and loved ones with these good, old traditional gospel songs. Sharing these songs, some written and arranged by the great Mahalia Jackson, Rev. James Cleveland, Mavis Staples and the Staples Singers and Dorothy Love Coates brings back so many wonderful memories of my childhhood in Gary, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. I trust they will be a blessing to those who hear them.
Monica Parker (affectionately known by her friends and fans as Sista Monica) is one of the hottest contemporary female Blues, Soul and Gospel singers on the international music scene today. On June 23rd, 2002, Sista Monica received the prestigious "Artist of the Year Award" from the 17th Annual Monterey Bay Blues Festival 2002. They call her "The Lioness of the Blues".
"She has the soul of Aretha Franklin, the vocal power of Etta James, the gospel roots of Mavis Staples, the sass of Koko Taylor, the funky groove of James Brown and the
fun-loving spirit of Katie Webster"
Mac McDonald - The Monterey Herald
Born in Gary, Indiana, Monica Parker started singing in the church choir at the age of seven. She spent several years in the mid-west between Gary, Indiana, Chicago, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan soaking up the rich melodies of soul, rhythm & blues and gospel music. After high school, Parker enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years to get the GI bill for future education and business purposes. During her short stint (between 1977 and 1980), she became a Recruiting Sergeant. After receiving a honorable discharge and marketing education, she garnered some corporate experience and started an executive "headhunting" firm in Chicago specializing in engineering recruitment. Her musical influences growing up were Otis Redding, Gladys Knight, Sam Cooke, Mavis Staples, James Brown and Aretha Franklin.
"For years, I sang in private, mostly in my shower and while driving in my car. I'd sing out loud - songs like "Midnight Train To Georgia", "I Been Loving You Too Long", " I'll Take You There", "Sex Machine" and
"Dr. Feelgood" from my favorite soul singers"
Sista Monica Parker
In 1987, Parker hailed from the windy city of Chicago, Illinois and relocated to California's Silicon Valley continuing her technical recruiting career another 15 years. With a gift for the gab and a keen business sense, she developed well-established clients such as Apple Computer, Hewlett Packard and Pacific Bell. Finally in 1992, she transitioned from headhunting exclusively to singing professionally in Santa Cruz, California in a small nightclub - Emi's Bar & Grille. Always said to be a high achiever, within ten years Sista Monica Parker has become known as a songwriter, performer, record producer and worldwide festival favorite! Between the years of 1992 and 2002, she has had lead her band into a whirlwind of recording and touring experiences.
Sista Monica is one of the few (if not only) blues women who writes, produces, releases and tours in support of her original CDs. To date, she has been the executive producer for each project, and recorded five full length CDs on her independent record label Mo Muscle Records Entertainment located in Santa Cruz, California. City Hall Records of San Rafael, California distributes these releases. A sixth more soulful CD release is coming the summer of 2003.
The strength of her songwriting, her rich contralto voice and her dynamic stage presence has offered her numerous performing opportunities at major festivals in Europe, Norway, Canada, Mexico, Turkey, Romania and all parts of the United States. She has shared the stage with legendary artists such as BB King, Buddy Guy, Gladys Knight, The Neville Brothers, Etta James, The Temptations, George Thorogood and many others. Because of her high spirited energy, she was asked to headlined the Saturday night Montreal Jazz Festival in Quebec after Ray Charles and Taj Mahal, then at the Moulin Blues Festival in Holland after Dr. John. See www.sistamonica.com for performance highlights and details.
In 1995, her debut CD "Get Out My Way" with the leading song "Windy City Burner" hit the airwaves on public, triple A and commercial radio, launching her international recording and touring career. Her Blues & Soul CDs "LIVE In Europe - 2001", "People Love The Blues - 2000", "SISTA MONICA - 1997", Get Out My Way - 1995" and one traditional Gospel CD "Gimme That Old Time Religion - 2001" has captured the attention of CNN TV news, The Netherlands TV network media, Bay TV and international radio, magazines and newspapers. She performed for the President of the United States and thousands of delegates at the Democratic National Convention in 2000. Recently, she performed at the Venezuela Blues Festival 2002 for the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. Afterwards the U.S. Ambassador in Caracas invited Sista Monica and her band to a private gala reception at his estate.
Kathleen Lawton "Crazy 'Bout The Blues" - KCSM-FM 91.1
San Mateo, CA wrote:
"She is a fierce force of nature on the modern blues scene- -alternately attacking and caressing, dynamic and seductive. She rocks as powerfully as the great vintage blues divas and rolls you with her devastating wit. She can scorch you - and move you to tears. A blues hurricane of emotional intensity...
Look out for Sista Monica!"
The Associated Press and major local news sources reported that "Sista Monica came to the Rockin' Rescue" when she was asked to stand in and perform at the San Jose Americas Festival in the absence of her idol - Etta James. Parker had opened the festival, Chris Cain followed and Ms James was the headliner. When Ms. James became ill and was hospitalized the day of the performance, Sista Monica was asked to calm 15,000 ready and rowdy fans. On a separate occasion, at the Milwaukee Summerfest, Parker was asked to stand in for Koko Taylor who took ill. Again, she was the opening act.
Her ability to connect with the audience has reporters, critics, promoters and fans alike suggesting that Sista Monica is be one of the main women who will carry the baton for the next generation of great blues women.
At the Long Beach Blues festival, Parker was standing in the audience watching Mavis Staples perform. From the stage, Ms. Staples acknowledged Sista Monica's performance at another festival in which they both performed and shouted to the crowd "that woman can sho nuff sang".
In 1997, her self-titled CD "SISTA MONICA" won the coveted California Music "BAMMIE" Award for "Best Blues Artist" in Northern California. The 13 track release features favorite originals such as "Never Say Never" and "Stop Talking 'Bout Me Stalkin You". She ends each CD with a traditional gospel song. This one features "Amazing Grace/Motherless Child" acappella. She was also nominated for a W.C. Handy Award for "Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist".
Bill Milkowski of JazzTimes magazine wrote about her third CD
"People Love the Blues" released in 2000
"An explosive singer, she smokes all the competition with the possible exception of Koko Taylor. This excellent CD, featuring It's A Shame, It's A Mystery" "The Walking Wounded" "You're Only Good For One Thang Baby" has some great guitar work done by Jimmy Thackery, Larry McCray, Sam Varela Jr., and Dan Caron. It should be in strong contention for a blues Grammy.
Sista's got my vote"
Sista Monica has recently produced her first ever live CD "Live in Europe" released in 2001. It was recorded in front of 16,000 screaming blues lovers in Peer, Belgium at the Belgium R&B Festival 2000. This spectacular CD recorded "The Sista" singing her James Brown/Sista Monica funky tune "Put It In The Crock Pot" and the story behind her classic slow blues "Never Say Never".
The performance was captured on the front page of the Het Belang Van Limburg newspaper with an 8x10 color photo of her dancing while performing. The headlines translated to "The women stole the show" referring to Sista Monica and her lady friends Shemekia Copeland and Candye Kane.
"Live In Europe" is filled with the huge sound and energy of "The Blues Lioness", her world-class band and an enthusiastic crowd. Her band consists of veteran piano/organ player and co-writer Danny "B" Beconcini, tenor sax man Noel Catura, Sammy Varela Jr. on guitar, with a competent rhythm section from Oakland and San Jose, California. It has been compared to the late great "Albert Collins & The Icebreakers - LIVE".
About.Blues.com reviewer John Babich said "This powerful band was the perfect pedestal for one of the strongest voices in the Blues".
Also released in 2001 was her long-awaited traditional gospel CD "Gimme That Old Time Religion". It is a compilation of songs such as "When The Saints Go Marching In" a New Orleans style" and "Didn't It Rain" previously recorded by the Mahalia Jackson, "You Don't Knock" by Mavis and Pops Staples & the Staple Singers and "Walk Around Heaven All Day" by Rev. James Cleveland. Monica vividly remembers listening to these songs on the radio and singing them on her way to Sunday school each week as a young girl.
Sista Monica reflects:
These songs have offered me a great source of inspiration, a chance to visit my roots and heal my heart after the loss of so many special people in my life, particularly my tenor sax player Ken "Big Papa" Baker.
In 1999 and 2000 Sista Monica was nominated for the "Best International Female Performer" in the United Kingdom (UK)" sharing the category with Irma Thomas, Angela Walker, Etta James and Koko Taylor.
Sista Monica Parker and her world-class band will be touring this summer from Italy, Belgium, and The Netherlands to major festivals in the United States. Be on the look out! For interviews and booking information call 831-425-3192 firstname.lastname@example.org or Susan Beer - Artist Management at 831-458-3328 email@example.com.