Music in general provides a great escape from life. Sometimes, a song comes along that truly makes you listen and take in the meaning of the lyrics. "You" by Sharlene-Monique tells the story of self-loathing which transforms into self-love. It is really important we hear such messages, so we caught up with Sharlene-Monique to find out more. 

Hi Sharlene-Monique, so tell us more about yourself. You used to teach music but have now made the transition to being a musician yourself - why the change?

Hi, I’m doing great. Yes I’ve been teaching in some capacity for around 12 years and I’m still a teacher. I teach dance in the UK & Europe and have done for the last 2 years; I go back in November. I’m still a music teacher to 500 children in my primary school every week and I love pouring into children, they are mouldable. I just decided it was time to release my music and I refused to let anything stop me. All the holidays we receive as teachers helps too. It is also great to have a husband who is very well connected and produces all your music.

Your latest single "You" explores themes of doubt, fear and in the end, self-acceptance. Tell us why it was important to you to release this track.

It was really important for me to release this track because it’s my story. From my teens well into my twenties I struggled with my self-esteem. I wished there was a song like this that I could have played on repeat. It means everything to me that women of all ages have messaged me about how impacted they are from the song.  

In the video, you see a young girl start off having a lack of direction and self-confidence, to eventually blossoming once she finds her voice; is there any parallel with this subject matter and your own life?

What’s so amazing is the scriptwriter Karla Williams some how wrote so much of my journey in the video. The opening scene shows a young girl admiring her older sister whilst she puts on her make-up and that is literally me and my sister. I never asked her to do that, it was just a coincidence. The video was produced by MsMono productions and they done an amazing job.

What kind of music inspires you to create the music you do?

Music that moves me! There are some songs that instantly place me in a reflective mood and some that inject joy. I love both, but I want to be moved, that is what I love.

If you could collaborate with any artist now, (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

I would love to work with Lianne La Havas, and I’ll forever be a Lauryn Hill fan. I would love to work with either of them. 

And finally, what does success mean to you?

I love this question. I was thinking about this other day. I really see myself as an artist and also see my work the same. There are so many singer-songwriters out there and sometimes it’s hard to figure out where you fit in. Success for me reflects in the impact that I have. If I release a song that doesn’t impact anyone in a positive way I would feel like it was just a fun exercise. I would love to make money from my artistry but I want to impact people and change lives. Bono says ‘Music can change the world because music can change people’. The idea that my music could help and enrich someone’s life fills me with glee, joy and excitement. If fame never comes and I never win any awards I would still be happy because this is my number one passion, helping people.

Check out Sharlene-Monique's video for "You" below and follow her journey: