Photo courtesy of Halle Moné.
This is an installment of exclusive Q+As with our Shifter Fest Vol. III performers. Be sure to check out their special performances on our IGTV channel!
Halle Moné is a 22-year-old Digital Media major who lives a double life — in her spare time, you can find her writing and producing her own music. Her range is just as impressive as she is, her style falling anywhere between alternative and contemporary R&B. With her beautiful voice and honest lyrics, Moné is destined to blow up. And soon.
Her most recent single “Anchor” debuted last year in the midst of quarantine. The song reflects the feeling of drowning under the pressure to be what others want you to be.
I met with Halle Moné virtually to discuss the latest in her music career: where it is and where it’s headed.
Shifter Mag: When did you first fall in love with music?
Halle Moné: I literally have been in love with music since I was a child. I feel like so many people say that, but genuinely from the time that I was born to, I don't even know, like three or four, I was in the church choir. My parents always kept me involved in things that I could use my voice in and I just have such distinct memories of loving music as a kid.
There are always specific songs that will take you back to a certain time, and I remember in 2003 “Hey Ya!” by Outkast came out. That was one of the first songs I think where I was like, "I'm obsessed with this. This is amazing". Since then, it's always been that way. I know people say that "I couldn't live without music" and it sounds so cliché, but genuinely I really couldn't. It's everything to me.
SM: What inspires you to make music?
HM: Anything and everything — life in general and aesthetics. I'm really big into Pinterest and I love looking at different aesthetics and textures and things. Even just colors can inspire me. It's really all a feeling for me and whatever that is will inspire me to write a song.
SM: What is your creative process like?
HM: I feel like it's different every single time. I definitely try to have a structure when I'm songwriting. I like to think about what it is that I want to hear from the song that I'm building, and then I'll find songs that are similar in feeling and structure and I'll put those down in my notes as references. And from there, I'll try to build something of my own that is inspired by those things.
SM: How do you work through writer’s block?
HM: I definitely struggle with that a lot, honestly. That's why “Anchor” is my only song at the moment. One thing that I like to do is allow myself to just take breaks. I think that it's okay to step away because if you just keep harping on it and pushing and trying to force yourself to do it, you're going to feel so drained and discouraged. And that's something that I just hate so much and I try to avoid as much as possible. And I think that gives me time to come back to it. And when I do, I'll have a fresh mind, a fresh mindset and I'm ready to work on it again.
SM: By recording and releasing “Anchor,” you've rejected people projecting their own ideas onto you and you’re not afraid to talk about your mental health struggles. That's why people resonate with your music — it’s relatable and real.
HM: I'm super happy that I got the chance to do what I did with “Anchor.” That whole process was super cool and kind of jump-started and fueled me to do even more music. This is something that I'm really capable of and if I keep going with it like I know that I can, then I can make it to where I want to be.
I think that “Anchor” was a really good starting place and I love that so many people relate to it. It’s really good for what it is, but I'm definitely moving forward and trying to develop my sound as an artist a little bit more. There are so many things and so many artists that I'm inspired by and I love really experimental music and I just can't wait until I finally get to the place where I'm like “this song is really what I want to make and what I want to put out into the world.”
SM: The whole message of “Anchor” is I’m going to do me and I’m not going to let anything drag me down. Tell us what the song means to you and how you remain true to yourself.
HM: It's just about dealing with other people who are trying to keep you down. And it's hard, I think, at times to choose yourself and focus on you because we're so connected with everybody that we're around and all these relationships. “Anchor” is kind of like “what about me?” That's literally the whole question that I'm asking: what about me and why can I not put myself first and feel okay with that? Because it should be okay to do that. It should be okay to put yourself first and care about yourself even while caring about other people.
How to be true to yourself. Honestly, that is something that is most important to me as I go forward with everything that I want to do in the future. I'm definitely someone that wants to always be heavily involved in the creative process and how I look, how I'm being presented to the world. It's just important to me that I'm being authentic to myself and to my ideas because I have been the type of person in the past to make myself small I just think that as I've been growing and especially this past year, I've found it so important to finally give myself a chance to show what I'm really made of and like make sure that it is 100% like everything that I want.
SM: What does the future look like for you?
HM: I don't know what it is about me — I think it's the Scorpio in me — I'm someone that really loves to constantly transform and rebrand myself. I've just been thinking a lot more about what I want to put out and how I want to brand myself and so I'm kind of working towards that; changing my style, changing the way I present myself and experimenting more with different genres of music.
I want to be someone who's really versatile with the things that I can do. I would love to drop a rock track and then we got an R&B track and then we got something that's like more bedroom pop. I don't ever want to be put into a genre box. I want to be someone that can really do a multitude of different things and so I'm just trying a bunch of stuff out. I'm working on some collabs right now that have really inspired me and helped me see things that I've never done before, but I really enjoy. So I think those are kind of helping me find out what it is I want my sound to be.
SM: That’s what Shifter is all about: embracing change and not losing sight of who you are. You’re going to change. You're not the same person you were when you wrote “Anchor” and that wasn't that long ago.
HM: I love that we are always changing — I think that I would never want to stay the same at all. If we're staying the same, we're not learning from experiences or growing. I'm happy that I'm not the same person that I was when “Anchor” came out. I've learned so much and I've just become honestly so much more inspired since that moment. So I think honestly, truthfully, only good things can happen from here. So I'm excited about it.
We’re excited to see Halle grow as an artist and we hope you are too.
Want to hear more of Halle Moné?
In the meantime, catch Halle Moné’s exclusive performance for Shifter Fest Vol. III on our IGTV channel:
Parts of this interview have been condensed and edited for clarity.