Born and raised on a small farm in southern Poland, Scarlet grew up full of MTV dreams, while being followed around by her pet lamb, Kopytko. At the age of 12 she was thrown into the center of urban American culture when her family relocated to Chicago. Scarlet Monk’s music is a prism of experiences, cultures and genres, and although her style cannot be easily boxed in, the names “Portishead”, “Sade” and “Phantogram“ are often heard when describing her sound. She has always combined performance styles in new and exciting ways, by searching for the common ground between each form and carefully preserving what makes it unique. She has the ear of a musician tuned to textures, nuances and timbres, with the heart of an emotionally charged dancer. As a classically trained vocalist who delved into the electronic music world, she is endlessly passionate about the place of the human voice within current technology, and has mastered creating multi-layered vocal harmonies so that they blend seamlessly with electronic beats. A vocalist, songwriter, producer, performance artist and dancer, Scarlet Monk is a power house with her finger on the pulse of society.
She attributes her style to the years she spent honing her craft in Chicago, where she received a BFA in Vocal Performance with a Minor in Dance from NEIU, performed and recorded in the underground hip hop and downtempo scenes, developed her improvisational skills in Theatre and with the Laboratory Dancers dance company, and developed her ear for harmony and vocal layers in several choirs beginning with the Whitney Young H.S. Concert Choir. Her recording career began with Garageband, the tiny built-in microphone on her Mac, and of course Myspace. Her home-made recordings drew the attention of a London based producer, Ekiti Son, and they collaborated on two songs for his album “Sacred Science” in 2009. Her first solo album “AnnaBella” was released in 2011 on the NYC “Global Vortex Records” label, followed by “AnnaBella Remixed” the following year, with the remix of “Ring” by Brooklyn-based producer KRTS drawing attention from the downtempo community. In the following years Scarlet Monk recorded and toured with MC Phillip Morris, was featured on Qwel and Maker’s “Beautiful Raw” album (Galapagos4 Records), Tensei’s “One” album (Plug Research Records), performed in “oddity()” by Lee Blalock at Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago) as part of the “David Bowie Is” programming (2013), and in “Dissecting Adam: an improvised opera” by Julia A. Miller (2014). She also composed and recorded an original 25 min. sound score for Emily Miller’s GET DOWN/PICK UP Modern Dance Company at Dixon Place, NYC. Following the 2013 death of her son Elliot, Scarlet retreated from the public eye to heal and refocus. She left Chicago and moved to LA, and shortly after she relocated to Las Vegas where she currently lives.
Her second solo album is called “BAJKI” (pronounced “Bye-Kee”) which in Polish means “fairytales”. The word is also commonly used in Poland as “a story which isn’t all the way true”, i.e. “you’re making up stories”. According to Scarlet, there is a blurred line between a story and a fairytale, the definition being influenced by how much time has passed, who remembers it and who is telling it, and how much truth there is in it. Music and art have always served as a means to tell stories by those who were not granted the time or place to speak. Currently in society we are experiencing the power of individual stories coming to light and starting to embrace different voices and points of view. Stories, fairytales and myths allow people to dream, express, and preserve, and are at the heart of most performance styles. Scarlet uses the album as a means of telling her stories, and on the last track she passes the mic to two Chicago MCs, Rita J and Dee Jackson (80s Babies), to tell theirs on the title track, “Bajki”. She plans on releasing the title track without the MCs as well, so that others can also record their stories on audio or video; it will be open to anyone from MCs, vocalists and instrumentalists, to dancers, circus artists and sign language poets. The album is produced by Scarlet, with the help of Chicago-based producer Maker on “Work and Shake” and Chamere “MinusOne” Orr on the Juke-inspired “Get Off”, and features jazz guitarist Jeff Parker (Tortoise) on “Short Film”.