Daily Dig: Mona Najib

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Sweden have the habit for churning out sensational pop acts whose music leaves you well and truly hooked. The latest export comes in the form of Mona Najib and at this moment in time only 4 tantalising tunes are available to stream on her Soundcloud page. These being Tankar, Calm Before The Storm, Down and the recently released Limbo.

Born to Moroccan parents, Mona Najib is an interesting individual who decided to do music at the age of 26. Back in August 2014 she released her debut EP Bloom along with Masumi Tsunoda. However things don’t start there, we begin our story when Najib was only 8 years old. Back then she joined the local football/ soccer team in her hometown of Uppsala, Sweden. That decision then resulted in a 14 year playing career and 6 of those years Mona played for Bälinge Dam in Damallsvenskan, the highest division of women’s football/ soccer in Sweden.

In her early twenties when she co-founded the integration project YoMoNe with fellow teammates Yolanda Odenyo and Nera Smajic. Through this 2 year course, the YoMoNe-team conducted hundreds of lectures at local schools in Uppsala, targeting immigrant parents of young girls.  The goal was to serve as role models and mentors for the city’s diverse and fast growing population, as well as inspire young girls to participate in a sport so heavily dominated by men. Mona considers her past career as a professional soccer player (particularly the YoMoNe project) as an asset in her approach to music.

2011 then saw Mona leave her hometown Uppsala and move to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of singing/ writing music. In L.A Najib attended a vocal program at more the Los Angeles College of Music, and was mentored by critically acclaimed artists such as Dorian Holley (Michael Jackson, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) and Tierney Sutton (six-time Grammy nominee) to name but a few. She graduated in 2012 and 2 years later she made her debut with her self titled EP. August 2014 then also saw the collaboration with Masumi Tsunoda and 2017 will see the release of Najib’s sophomore which will be incredible.

Also she has collaborated with the likes of Taboo (Black Eyed Peas),  Grammy award winning music engineer/ producer J.J. Blair (Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash and The Who) as well as former American Idol contestants Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart.

Limbo: This succulent song is the latest single from Mona and it is literally phenomenal. Now Limbo oozed plenty of electronic pop vibes which left me completely entranced. Also you had the addition of thumping synths which gave Limbo that anthem feel. This was a well written piece of perfection and Mona’s vocal tones were exquisite. Those luscious lyrics had me hooked and that chorus was rather blissful.

Bloom EP: August 2014 saw the release of the Masumi + Mona collaboration. This superb release consisted of 4 fantastic tracks. This record was self penned by both Tsunoda and Najib. Plus you also had Dorian Holley’s vocals added into the mix. Opening things up was The War and this was a chilled out number which left me in a complete daze. Both Mona’s and Masumi’s vocals were pristine and the way it had been written as simply sublime. Now those lyrics were packed with a punch asking the question “Who are we fighting for/ The people or the men leading this war/ The guilt I can’t, ignore anymore”. Anyways this was an enchanting indie pop tune. Water To My Body starts of as a stripped back acoustic cut showcasing soulful folk tones. Then the drums were introduced and the pace picked up transforming Water To My Body into a pop jam. My favourite part had to be the infectious chorus “He was my diamond he was my fire/ He was the only light in my darkness/ He was my sanity love like a family/ He was the water to my body”. Track 3 came in the form of Tänka and this was performed in Swedish. All I know is Tänka means think and even though I didn’t understand a word it left me completely mesmerised. Just listening to this song I could pick up on tinges of rock. Things then came to a close with Eyes Of An Enemy, plenty of power oozed from this captivating cut and the harmonising was pure perfection. The vocals were clear and pristine, also you had the electric guitar played in the background giving Eyes Of An Enemy that edgy feel.

On Mona’s Soundcloud page there are another 2 songs and these being Calm Before The Storm and Down. Both of these tunes were recorded at the Los Angeles College Of Music back in 2012. Calm Before The Storm was a sleek song aided by Najib’s wonderful soulful vocals. This number had been self penned and it left me mesmerised in the process. Also I adored the addition of the cello as this sent shivers up my spine.

As for Down this was an entrancing stripped back track which left me in a daze. Those wondrous vocals were extremely smooth aided by perfect story telling lyrics.

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