Mexican-American alt-R&B artist MONOGEM is in full bloom. For the last few years, Jen Hirsh has presented music that reverberates with the freedom of finding your true self. Never shying from exploring the intimate, her music has delved into a multitude of themes around self-identity over the years. From her first Spanish release in 2019 “Soy Lo Que Soy” to “Dame La Fuerza,” MONOGEM is now candidly celebrating the confidence that comes from learning to reap the beauty in what life has sowed through navigating soulful rhythms and delicate melodies that honor her healing, self-assurance, and acceptance of her whole being.
Tending to her own personal garden over the last years has led to the fruition of a new evolution for MONOGEM, one that revels in the lush gardens of bicultural bliss. Her latest body of work, Gardenia (out September), offers the fruits of her emotional labor by stepping into her most true nature that embraces the roots that ground her, the soil that encompassses her, and soaking in the sun for what’s to bloom.
Her latest single “Magia,” sees a rebirth of MONOGEM happen in real time as it offers a declarative ballad to the undeniable power that every woman holds while also offering an intimate celebration of her own magical birthing journey. With her latest, MONOGEM is rejoicing in publicly sharing her miraculous journey into motherhood. The visuals that accompany lean closer into the thematic as she honors the nature both manifesting around her and within her by centering her soon-to-be child in the intimate setting of her backyard garden.
Watch the video premiere for “Magia” here:
Remezcla got the chance to catch up with MONOGEM ahead of the release to talk about the magic of womanhood, her surprise pregnancy announcement, and how her forthcoming album is her most honest form yet.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
The overarching theme in the song is speaking to the magic that exists within a lot of women. Can you expand on where the inspiration for the single came from?
I wasn’t pregnant when I wrote the song. I was writing about this feeling that I had been tapping into since I wrote my first song in Spanish, “Soy Lo Que Soy.” It was this kind of intangible feeling that when you connect to the most authentic version of yourself — it really does feel like magic.
Since you started working on this song before your pregnancy, how did the song’s journey transform and take on new life as you did?
When I was thinking about how to make the announcement, the first thing that came to me was the visual. The chorus has this drop — for lack of better words — that isn’t like an EDM drop, but it has this pause where it feels like something is about to be shared. I envisioned this big reveal with a slow pan-out shot of me, holding my belly, talking about “eres como magia a dentro.” It’s brand new territory for me. I’m just so happy I did it because I’m going to cherish these videos forever. It’s just solidifying that idea that when you bring a child into the world, they come into your world and my world doesn’t have to flip upside down for this baby. He’s just joining what I’ve already started.
You chose “Magia” as the last single release right before the album and it is also placed as the last song on the tracklist. Was there a specific reason for these placements?
I make my own rules and I decided to drop this as a surprise. It was just going to be an album track and we decided to make it the closing album track and drop it right before the album. It collectively gathers the entire aura of this record. It sounds magical, womanly, strong, and empowering. It feels nice to put something out that is a teaser that captures the essence of the whole project without giving too much away. I’m so happy to share this big announcement this week, it just felt totally perfect. Not only am I dropping an album, I’m dropping a baby!
Have you always planned to announce your pregnancy in this way or was it ultimately a very happy coincidence?
I decided at the last minute to share the pregnancy. It’s difficult, especially as a woman in the industry. Just privacy alone, but then also dealing with the emotions of being a young artist in the industry, being a woman, and feeling like “oh god, is my life over?” That was very real for me. But what’s become even more real for me and has trumped those feelings was the fact I’m already incorporating my son into my career. It’s been so beautiful to get to share that with everybody. It’s not an ending, it’s only just the beginning.
You’ve been very vocal in sharing your struggle with your bi-cultural identity. What influenced your choice in narrating such a powerful feeling, and now moment in your life, in Spanish?
I’ll always sing in English, but I feel like there’s always going to be a Spanish presence. Maybe it’s my amateur level of vocabulary, but my ideas are much more direct and simplified. I would get caught up with writing songs in English all the time because I didn’t think the lyrics were cool, strong, or creative enough. Then in Spanish, I really only know one way to say this and it sounds beautiful, and for some reason, it just works. I’m shifting between two voices. I’ve started to think about lyrics in Spanish. Which is so fun for me because it’s not my native language.
There’s a big perception of women with motherhood, that it suddenly becomes your sole identity. It speaks volumes to be able to do both proudly. How do you feel your story speaks to the theme of the power of womanhood?
I was really freaked out. I have been at this for a while, releasing music as MONOGEM for years. Having a baby was always kind of in the background. It happened, we got very lucky. It feels fitting because I’ve confronted so much this year. There’s no pretending anymore. That’s something really powerful —like a big pill to swallow and it feels really good going down.
For sharing something that transformed into a very intimate project, what would you hope people take away from it more communally?
I can only hope that I connect with other women, artists, and people in general who feel the same way. I mean, that’s been the most fulfilling part of this whole journey. And releasing music in Spanish. Having people reach out to me like “I’m bicultural too!” and “I never felt enough of this ethnicity or this one before,” and it’s so cool to be able to connect with people on that level. It feels like I finally have something to say now and to share, and what else can you ask for as an artist? So I’d say what I want people to take away is to be proud of where you come from and have no shame in any of that.
Your upcoming album, Gardenia, is described as “a lush garden of bicultural bliss.” What can we expect to find in this sonic garden?
I wanted to name it Gardenia because of the special connection I had with my grandmother in the garden. We were always picking roses, gardenias, it was our thing to do together. There’s something about exploring a garden, kind of this Garden of Eden mentality of innocence and being surrounded by life. With this pandemic, just being so grateful for our health and our life, and just putting that first. There’s been this emphasis, at least for me, of just being able to appreciate how lucky I am to have another day. That trickled into the writing process and each song translates the idea of some sort of life around us that’s new and waiting to be taken in.
What exploration of this new era of MONOGEM can people expect that they may not have seen yet?
I don’t feel this sense of confusion anymore. I feel so sure of myself, which is the most magical feeling of it all. To be able to feel that, to put this record out and feel so proud of everything from the past and everything that’s about to happen in the future. It’s setting up what’s to come and honoring the people and what’s happened before me. And that’s a blissful idea. Everything’s in bloom, everything’s full of life.