artist spotlight: Monday Was Special and the premiere of Bespoke | music
Monday Was Special is both a visual artist as well as a musician, creating both a music video and song releasing simultaneously here on Unsettled. The R&B track, called Bespoke, represents all the things that matter. It celebrates family, the struggles that can ensue when navigating love and mostly, ‘remembering what’s important’.
‘In a relationship, you forget the core reasons why you're together. And I've got a lot of people around me that have been in crazy relationships, there's always the kids getting pulled from pillar to post. So it's about always remembering the most bespoke thing in the situation, which is the child. So that could be used as a metaphor for other things in life, just remembering the most important thing of why you're doing whatever you're doing, and not forgetting that. So that's why in the visual, they're [the couple] going through this turmoil. In the end, they become this kind of Nubian power couple, and they become a unit through the child.’
The creative process means a lot to Monday Was Special, real name Reece, and this collaborative process has spawned a visual that belongs to the song, and vice versa; it lays the foundation for exactly what he stands for.
'For me, again, it's just remembering what's important, remembering how we started and then not forgetting that to keep us strong. That's the main element of it, just remembering why we're in this. And why we’re kind of together.'
Why do you think that we're in this, and what does that mean to you?
because we always forget, I think when we meet people anyway, we try to be the best versions of ourselves. And then come the cracks. You meet a guy or a girl or whatever, and you always portray the best version of yourself until like six months later when he starts to get annoyed, but remember that person back then, because that's in them as well. And remember what you liked about them, don't get caught up in it ‘cause we’re all human, just try to remember the good things and the real reasons that brought you together in the first place. Although obviously as you go, as time goes on, you start to argue and fall out, but that's just part and parcel of it. It's just remembering the foundations really.
Keep scrolling to read more of our interview with Monday Was Special and see the premiere for his beautiful music video.
Out of curiosity, where does Monday Was Special come from?
I was born on Monday and I look forward to Mondays too. Because for me, I'm at my peak. Monday has always been a good day for me.
Was both the song and video created simultaneously? Did you always envision this specific visual?
I don't always feel like the video has to connect to the song. I wanted to highlight elements of the song in the visual in an unconventional way. I wanted to tell the story, which is why I'm in the video quite sparingly, because I was willing to sacrifice myself for the actual visual, if that makes sense. To tell the story, rather than like jumping around in the camera.
It references ancient mythology, and it's separated into three acts. How did you find your inspiration through Greek mythology?
I think it was because I'm quite religious, my grandma's always been quite religious. I wanted to come with an unconventional approach. And I kind of split the video into three so people could separate each part.
I know you're a photographer as well. So these visuals I assume, are created by you. How much of that process is primarily your own work?
When you're in the creative process, you kind of need to allow yourself to connect with other people and bring other people in. So I guess it was an amalgamation of everyone involved. And we had planned it for weeks, like from casting the actors. to bringing in my mate’s son to be the kid, like that kind of stuff.
How has this transition from photographer to musician been for you?
I've always done music, before photography actually. I've never really pigeonholed myself into one category. So just like anything creative, I think photography helps to expose who I am. So the photography was kind of like an in you know, to then connect to other people and take pictures of other people, and they want to know what I do after that. So I've always done music and I've wanted to find a niche in photography anyway, I do like a lot of like 120 ml, analogue photography, really old school stuff, like nostalgic, analogue stuff, so that kind of separated me in a way because when I was doing it not a lot of people were taking the time to do film photography. So the film kind of gave me a pathway to people being aware of me.
What kind of old school r&b do you listen to?
I like a lot of Michael Jackson. I like a lot of Donell Jones. I like a lot of old school Usher and Tevin Campbell. Not disposable music, stuff that lasts forever. I want some longevity. I want a stamp. That's my idea. I don't even like being out there, I'm quite introverted in a way. Yeah, those are the kind of artists I look up to, I take little elements of each artist to make my own stuff.
Would you say as well that as a private person, you'd be happy with being one of those artists where people don't necessarily know the face behind the song?
I'd love to do that. I would love to, I mean, I think it helps in a way, if there's elements of you, but I don't want to be too in your face. There’s an artist I really like called The Hour and he wears a balaclava, he’s in indie pop rock, but he wears a balaclava. It's like loads of them, right? There's one guy but he kind of portrays himself as loads of different people. He knows who he is, but he presents himself as like 20 different people.
Would you say that that makes his music more impactful? Because you don't know who it is? Or is it just like a privacy thing?
I think I think it's a bit of both. I think people are kind of intrigued, it's like, when I grew up on grime music. Because I'm from West, and grime, what we grew up on, was poppin' off in East, but we used to lock in from West, not knowing what they look like. We didn't know who Wiley looked like a lot early on. Some of the artists now, we didn't know. We just knew the voice. And it was intriguing to think "what the hell do they look like?" It made you want to listen more, to find out.
Like you've found out a secret that no one else should know.
Right, right. Yeah, exactly.
And how, as someone who's grown up on grime, are you now making R&B music? Would you lean into other types of music that you grew up on?
Definitely, I've got other tunes. I mean, I think with the R&B for that and that style, it gives you more time. As in you can say more. Like with grime, 140 BPM you've kind of got to cram everything in to like an eight bar, but with with the R&B I could tell a story, I could do it at my own pace and I could be clear, and you get the picture. You know, that's that's the real reason why I love R&B the same way, just you get more, there’s more time to do it.
And is that why you felt like portraying a couple with a child was the best way to get that point across in the video?
Oh yeah, cuz it's I think it's portraying the only thing that's greater than yourself; your child, because once you have a child, you're not number one anymore. So that's holding something that's created anew at this moment in time. A priority.
I'm also curious at the start of the video and at the end of the video, there's a Spanish narration. What's the translation?
So basically in all my tracks I've got different women saying the same thing in different languages. So I've got Spanish, the next one I've got Italian, I've got Finnish, but basically they're saying that 'what's going on, we’re supposed to be together,' in a nutshell, ‘what’s happening? You used to be so good with me and now you’re not,' you know, like, 'you're not the same person.' But it’s the same in every single song but with different languages.
Where did that idea come from?
Because I think I always wanted it to be inclusive. So someone from Spain could relate to it, someone from Finland can relate to it. So it becomes, like an international issue, not an issue, but International. It becomes…
like it becomes like a thread that pieces it all together kind of thing.
For people who know you as a photographer, because that's what you've been doing professionally for a while, what do you hope people take from this new work?
I mean, on my socials I have kind of separated the photography and the music. So if you know me for photography, carry on knowing me for photography. If you know me for music, then I want to be discovered as that. I just want it to be like, if you know, you know, kind of vibe.
And what do you hope people understand about you as an artist when they hear your music? If they were to just discover you purely as a musician?
I'm just trying to be as honest as possible. Real good music, good values. No rubbish. I wouldn't pigeonhole myself into like one thing. So I just want to make good music that people can connect with in a different way. I don't want it to be throwaway music. I want people to be able to play it for years. I'm trying to bring back the 90s. And I'm trying to try and evolve my sound into something else based on what I'm doing now. As I make more music in this era, it could turn into something else naturally.
Monday Was Special plans to release more bodies of work that fit into this same family, 'an amalgamation of like, music, visuals and photography' as he puts it himself. 'I just want to drip feed the public really, I've got like, 11 tracks at the moment , I've got more, but 11 tracks that I'm really happy with. So we're just going to drip feed the public, to make people understand me, rather than just presenting an eleven track EP or six track EP. If I'm presenting, like bodies of work in small doses, people become more aware. I might make eleven tracks and leave.'
And here it is, that first dose of Monday Was Special and the video for Bespoke: