This is my year! — Tonii Monroe labels 'Can't Breathe' as her breakout hit

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August 11, 2017
Contributed Tonii Monroe

Dancehall newcomer Tonii Monroe is forcing FM radio to pay attention to her breakout song, 'Can't Breathe', a pop-dancehall single with an infectious hook and crossover appeal.

Known for her bright hair colour and multiple piercings, the sinjay is also projecting the image of a star.

"I am just happy with the progress of this song. When I was younger, I used to tell my friends I didn't want to do anything too crazy because I didn't want anything to come back and haunt me when I became famous. Now, when my friends see my video on TV, they are all laughing and saying, 'Sam, how yuh know say yuh woulda be in the spotlight one day?'," she said, laughing.

The St Mary-born artiste attended Port Maria High School and Tacky High School. However, she dropped out of school for disciplinary reasons.

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"It was really tough growing up. At one point, I looked around and several young girls aged 15 and even 14 were getting pregnant. I had my own issues. My father had died when I was young, and I was angry, but music helped to soothe me and keep me centred," she said.

She got involved in music while still in school and performed at church concerts and community events.

She began to take music seriously as a potential career in 2014 after a producer recognised her talent while she was hanging out at a studio one day.

"My boyfriend asked me to sing, and the producer was impressed by my voice. After that, I decided to do some professional voice training because I wanted to be sharp vocally," she said.

Monroe then began to work with Natel Music Records and later recorded her first single, Can't Breathe, and immediately got a buzz in 2016.

"At that time, Charlie Walker of Republic Records wanted to sign me after hearing Can't Breathe, but he needed to see a live performance with me and see a video of me doing the song. But I just couldn't get it together because of the personal issues I had at the time. I couldn't capitalise on the interest," she said.

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