Born: October 23, 1973 Primary Instrument: Piano
Monica Dillon is a New Orleans native and based jazz, blues, funk, vocalist, pianist, composer, and producer. Her music merges various genres of music in her repertoire including jazz, gospel, R & B, and adult contemporary. Monica’s CD, “All I Have is a Moment” has gotten worldwide attention reaching those in the USA, Germany, London, Japan, Spain, Greece, France, Hungary, and Croatia.
Often compared to the soulful political influence of Nina Simone, the sultry balladry of Cassandra Wilson, the songwriting poise of Brenda Russell & Patrice Rushen, and the chops of Joe Sample, Monica’s sound blends jazz, blues, funk, and folk. Telling stories and painting pictures is Monica’s claim to fame through her heartfelt and powerful original compositions and performances.
With her music composition, Monica Dillon uses her cultural work to advocate for women's rights, freedom, justice, and equality, with a particular focus on Black women and girls. A survivor of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, like many Gulf Coast residents, she lost everything she owned. Monica was able to return to New Orleans to rebuild and start again post-Katrina.
Sparked by her experience returning to New Orleans as Hurricane Rita approached, Monica was moved to produced/directed/edited And The Living Is Easy, a two-hour documentary video, recounting her personal meditation on life in New Orleans, six months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast.
Since Katrina, Monica has been a featured artist in the Nikolaisaal “The Voice” Concert in Potsdam, Germany, opened for legendary blues/folk singer Massachusetts, and performed as an honored guest at Odetta as part of the Hilltown Folk Concert Series in Shelburne Falls, Bennett College For Women as part of the President's Academic Cultural Enrichment Series.
Additionally, Monica has performed as a featured artist with national community based organizations such as SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, INCITE! Woman of Color Against Violence, A Long Walk Home (SOARS Program), and Ruby Sales’ Spirit House in the SisterAll ™ Concert Series featuring women of color artists.
Monica has performed as a featured artist in the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Women in Jazz Concert Series, the City of New Orleans Mo'Fest, the New Orleans Jazz Historic Park, the Ogden Southern Museum of Art, the Black Lily Women's Film & Music Festival, the Black Women's Arts Festival, and the University of the Arts.
Monica has also had the pleasure and privilege of opening for vocalist Lalah Hathaway, and legendary Grammy Award winning New Orleans artist Irma Thomas. She has performed with popular artists such as Bruce Sunpie Barnes, The Batiste Brothers, Kwest of Memphis, TN, Mother Earth of Memphis, TN, Aquamoon of Chicago, IL, the late blues legend Harry Hippolite, Mathilda Jones, Marc Stone, and Mother Tongue.
Monica Dillon continues to nurture the task of thought provoking songwriting. Creating a space for herself as an original song writer, her original song No, a powerful call to action to end all forms of violence perpetuated against women in girls now appears in the feature length documentary ”NO!” Produced and directed by award winning documentary filmmaker Aishah Shahidah Simmons, NO! is the ground breaking documentary on intra-racial rape, sexual assault, and healing in the African-American community.
Additionally, Bennett College Africana Women’s Center selected All I Have Is A Moment as the featured music for the 2007 spring semester. Her soon to be released cd A Beautiful Life, features the long awaited and often requested original song When The Levee Broke.
She is presently composing the score for the documentary Belly of the Basin, produced and directed by Tina Morton and Roxana Walker-Canton of A Sister's Eye On Media Productions, which deals with the retention of New Orleans culture, from the perspectives of those most marginalized in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Additionally she's both composing the score for and editing the NO! Supplemental Educational Video, which will feature selected in-depth excerpts from the thirty-plus hours of footage that didn't make it into the final version of NO!
Monica is a member of the American Society of Composers and Performers (ASCAP), Women Who Jam, and The National Association of Black Female Executives in Music & Entertainment.