Monica Boyd Interview

Monica Boyd had dreams of pursuing an acting career that is until she met up with Trisha Hunter and Julia Roberson. The 3 formed a teen group called “Petite” and enjoyed some success in 1986 with the Top 100 R and B single “So Fine”. Returning to school, the trio picked up where they left off in 1989.

With the addition of Stacy Francis, the quartet became “Ex-Girlfriend” and eventually landed a recording contract with Forceful/Reprise Records.

Monica Boyd spoke about “Ex-Girlfriend” and her new release at the time, “It’s A Woman Thang”.

Q – Is it true that you spent most of 1993 in the studio recording this CD?
A – Half of that time of course in the studio and the other part just trying to battle out our contract differences with management and everything we were going through as far as trying to switch management.

Q – How many songs did you have to listen to before you found the right material for this CD?
A – I’m gonna be really honest with you, more than a thousand songs. We had like more than 500 tapes, loaded with songs from producers. So, you have to go through those songs like demos of 6 to 7 songs, picking one song or how ever many you like from that producer. We all listen to it, but we leave a lot of our musical things up to Tisha, ‘cause she’s very musical and she really knows what’s gonna happen in the next couple of months and what’s gonna be a good beat to dance to, or what ballads are gonna be good to groove to. So, Tisha has a great ear for music.

Q – But, you all pretty much have a say in which song gets on the CD.
A – Oh, yeah. We tell her what we like, and she narrows it down and then we have to approve. I mean, we just don’t give her complete say so. It’s a group thing. We all agree.

Q – That’s a lot of tapes to have to listen to though.
A – That’s not a lot. Take a group like Boyz II Men or somebody. You know how many tapes these people get a day? It’s amazing. I never knew that that’s how it worked in the business. Full Force still handles our production, so they pick the most important producers and you know we have to really listen to them. We can’t just run through these songs. They’re like, ‘Take a real good listen to this’. Usually all we have to do is listen to a song once and if we like it, we’ll go with it. But, sometimes you can overlook things, and that’s not cool. You mess up. You miss out like that.

Q – I would guess a lot of the tapes coming in the mail are a lot better than what the famous producers are pitching to you.
A – A lot better. And let me tell you, to be honest with you, that’s mainly the case these days. There’s a lot of basement producers that will kick ass over these producers. But, you just gotta have the power, the pull, the respect.

Q – How did “Ex-Girlfriend” get a record deal? Did you put a demo tape together?
A – No. Years ago, I’m 26, I’m the oldest, everyone else in 25. Trisha will be 26. We’re just like one month behind each other. We started singing and this guy by the name of Dr. York from Yorker Records in New York was holding auditions for a girl group, Soul. Tisha, myself, and Julia went down. We were just playing. We just wanted to see what was gonna happen. So, we went down to an audition in Brooklyn, New York. And, he loved us. We were the youngest 3 girls. He kept us together. It was just like a promo thing. He was just trying to promote his new label. We recorded some tracks there. It was sort of like a record deal, but, nothing really big, because we had to go and finish high school. So, when we finished high school we kept singing. We kept our voices in tune. A lady by the name of Yvette Shure, she was the editor of Black Beat magazine, she knew the guys of Full Force. They heard about us and at the time they were looking for a girl group. So, we went down to the guys at Full Force and we auditioned and it was all good. They were getting their production deal and label deal with Warner Bros. /Reprise. So, that’s how Full Force signed us on Full Force/Reprise. That’s how it all happened.

Q – Do all of you play instruments?
A – None of us play instruments. (Laughs). We have our certain instruments that we would like to learn, but, it just takes time. We’re more focused on our voices and our show and getting our record, that we don’t have enough time to put into it.

Q – Do you write?
A – We all write. We have a publishing deal with Warner-Chappell and we have to write now!! (Laughs). We wrote a song on the album called ‘Takes Me Away’ and co-produced it, which we’re extremely proud of. We co-wrote a song with, Full Force called ‘Yes, I’m Ready’.

Q – Do you take your own band on the road with you?
A – Yes. On the last album, ‘X Marks The Spot’. We never performed with a band. Actually, 3 weeks ago was the first time we performed with a band, on our ‘live’ listening party in New York at B. Smiths. We want to really have a strong stage performance and se we’re gonna have to have a band. So actually, we’ve never gone out yet with a band, but, we do plan to.

Q – Did you have a band with you when you went out on tour with Marky Mark?
A – Oh, no. We just did tracks. Marky of course had a band. That band wanted to play for us, but, it’s a whole bunch of political stuff that you just can’t do that and we couldn’t pay them. (Laughs). So…..

Q – When did you embark on that USO Tour?
A – That was in ’91, actually before ‘X Marks The Spot’ came out. We went on tour with Keith Washington, David Peaston, and-----us. We went over to Okinawa and Japan. It was crazy. That was the first time as ‘Ex-Girlfriend’, that we went out of the country which was cool. It was nice, because there are more men in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. We had like a phenomenal response. You know how men are. (Laughs).

Q – Right-----and aren’t military audiences the best audiences a performer can play to?
A – Yes. I would say military audiences and Japanese audiences. They appreciate music. They don’t even understand what you’re saying and they just love Rhythm and Blues music. It’s great ever there.

Q – Who came up with the name “Ex-Girlfriend”?
A – B. Fine of Full Force. We started recording the first album and would sit in the studio some time and they would keep the mike on our conversations, and they would be in the control room listening to what we were talking about. We have a lot of friends and relationships with guys. We were like, you should drop ‘em, cut him off. Stacy was like getting ready to cut this guy off. He came into the room and he said, you know what? You talk about cutting off guys so bad, I’m gonna name you guys ‘Ex-Girlfriend’. And we were like, what? Don’t even try it!

Q – I thought you might all have been ex-girlfriends?
A – No. Ex-Girlfriends is an attitude. It’s an edge. You understand? It’s just a ‘tude. It’s just like a vibe. Ex-Girlfriend. A lot of people took it negatively, ‘cause you say ex-girlfriend. Who wants to be an ex-girlfriend? But, it’s about women who are able to be independent without the help of a man, and it can be that. You can just handle yourself. You can be an ex and still take life as your own. You don’t need anyone.

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