Monica Says Nashville Welcomes Her With 'Open Arms' as She's Recording Country Album

The 'Boy Is Mine' hitmaker is working on country music for her next studio installment, gushing about the warm welcome she received from the Nashville music community.

AceShowbiz - R&B singer Monica has announced her next album will be full of country songs, inspired by idols like Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.

The Grammy winner will drop her long-delayed ninth studio album Trenches on her own label, MonDeenise Music, soon, but she is already thinking ahead to the next project after that.

She already made her country music debut in June (21), guesting on singer Jimmie Allen's "Pray", alongside Little Big Town, and Monica is now gearing up to fully embrace the genre.

"I grew up loving country music and my stepfather, who raised me, is a Methodist minister, but he also drove buses and he would take us to Nashville, Gatlinburg, and Dollywood in Tennessee," the "Boy Is Mine" hitmaker told Billboard. "I became a really big fan of Dolly Parton at about eight or nine years old," said the singer. "That was my real introduction to country music."

"Shortly after, it was Kenny Rogers. I started listening to the depth of the songs and the fact that they were unafraid to say whatever it was they felt. I felt like this was a great time for me to really step into an area that I've always admired and loved."

And she admits Nashville has welcomed her "with open arms."

The "Don't Take It Personal" hitmaker was actually hard at work in the studio on her country and western outing, which may be ready for release before the end of the year, before she met her new pals in Little Big Town.

"I met Little Big Town when Brandi Carlile and I were in the studio working on my country album and I heard harmonies up the hallway," she explained. "That turned into them participating on Pray, so it was one of those real organic situations after Jimmie called me about doing the record."

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