The artistic journey often begins with a name – an identity that artists don for the stage and for the public. For the musician known as Paris Monroe, this crucial piece of his persona clicked into place during a late-night reflection on the life of Sylvain Sylvain of The New York Dolls, as detailed in the London Free Press. Monroe’s artist name is a tapestry woven from personal anecdotes, musical influences, and a nod to local legends. “The word ‘Monroe’ wouldn’t leave me alone,” he recounts. It was a convergence of memory and music that serendipitously aligned when a track titled “Paris” by The 1975 played, sealing his stage name.
The foundations of Monroe’s musical inspirations were laid down early by his father, a respected figure in London’s music scene. “He firmly believed in musical development and knowledge within children was fundamental,” Monroe shares, recalling his initiation into the world of music, which saw him enrolled in piano lessons at just five years old. This was not simply a pursuit of entertainment but a developmental journey his father encouraged.
The aspiration to become an artist, however, was not immediate. It was during a Christmas break, at the age of eleven, that Monroe experienced a moment of awakening. “I immediately told my dad I needed to learn guitar and that music was my purpose,” he says. This marked the transition from a music student to a budding artist with a vision.
As the child of a figure deeply entrenched in the local music tapestry, Monroe cherishes memories shared by his father. Among them is the story of Johnny Cash’s marriage proposal to June Carter in London in 1968—a tale that Monroe finds particularly touching, given its permanence in the city’s cultural memory.
When discussing the current music landscape, Monroe’s greatest fear is starkly business-oriented. “My greatest fear would be somehow ‘money hands’ dictating and controlling the art I create,” he admits, illustrating a common tension between commercial pressures and artistic authenticity.
Every artist’s path is speckled with setbacks and learning experiences. Monroe acknowledges this, recalling on-stage mishaps such as broken strings and technical issues. These incidents, however, are embraced as “teachable moments.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, a challenging time for the music industry, was paradoxically a crucible for creativity and identity for Monroe. “Paris Monroe would not exist as it does today,” he declares. The isolation forced by the pandemic allowed him to conceptualize and launch his first EP “Champagne & Cigarettes” in February 2022.
Monroe’s connection to his music is deep when discussing his song “High,” which holds a place close to his heart. The song features vocals recorded by his father and a music video with his presence, a poignant memory considering his father’s passing shortly after.
His artistry recently garnered acclaim with a win for Best Video for “High” at the Forest City London Music Awards, a moment of pride and gratitude for Monroe. “It was an honour and a pleasure to be recognized within my community,” he reflects.
As the conversation with Paris Monroe progresses, it becomes evident that his philosophies on art and creativity are profoundly entwined with his personal narrative. Monroe sees his music as a vessel for storytelling, a means to convey truths and narratives often untold. “Each song is a different story, a different vibe, a different part of me,” he explains. This multifaceted approach is reflective of an artist who does not shy away from experimenting across genres and forms, seeking a sound that is in constant evolution.
Monroe is quick to assert that his creative process is not tethered to a specific formula. “Inspiration strikes in the most unexpected ways,” he says. Whether it’s a sudden rush of emotion, a line in a book, or the hum of city life, Monroe’s songwriting springs from a diverse well of experiences.
Monroe’s observations on the music industry are piercingly acute, a mixture of optimism shadowed by caution over its unpredictability and often unforgiving nature. He acknowledges the changing tides of the industry, particularly the shift towards streaming and social media platforms. “It’s a double-edged sword,” Monroe admits. “While it provides incredible opportunities for exposure, it also imposes a relentless pressure to stay visible, to stay relevant.”
Despite these pressures, Monroe remains staunch in his commitment to authenticity. “I’d rather play to a room of ten people who get it than to ten thousand who don’t,” he states emphatically. For Monroe, the integrity of the connection between artist and audience is paramount, even in an age where digital streams measure success.
Delving into the specifics of London’s impact on his music, Monroe shares heartfelt sentiments about the city’s eclectic and supportive music scene. He finds the sense of community within the London music industry to be a breeding ground for creativity. “There’s a camaraderie here,” he says, highlighting how fellow artists are quick to offer support, whether it’s sharing gear or giving shoutouts on social media.
When asked about the role his hometown plays in his music, Monroe’s response is one of deep affection. “London is part of my DNA,” he asserts. “It’s in every chord I play, every lyric I write.”
As for the future, Monroe is both hopeful and realistic. He expresses a desire to tour, to connect with audiences beyond London, to share his music with the world. “I want to push boundaries, to take my music to places it hasn’t been yet,” he muses.
Yet, even with his eyes on the horizon, Monroe’s plans are firmly grounded. “I’m focusing on the next song, the next show,” he says, indicating a belief in the power of the present moment.
His upcoming work is hinted to explore themes of love, loss, and the human condition, with the same raw honesty that has become a hallmark of his music.
Paris Monroe is not just an artist but a philosopher of the modern music scene, a storyteller weaving a tapestry of sound and experience. In London’s bustling streets and quiet corners, he finds the heartbeat of his music, a rhythm that echoes in the larger narrative of his life and work. Monroe’s story continues to unfold, a narrative rich with potential and anticipation for what melodies and memories the next chapter will bring.
The rise of Paris Monroe is more than a local success story; it is a testament to the enduring spirit of independent music and the profound impact of a community that nurtures its artists. His journey speaks to the power of personal history intertwined with the vibrancy of cultural heritage—a blend that continues to resonate within the broader music landscape.