Interview: Jake Whitworth
Photography: Owen James Vincent
Necklace made by Tisha Monique (@withinbynaturaraw)
Hello everyone! I have teamed up with ReVamp Magazine to bring on a special guest this week. She’s spent most of her career on our TV screens playing in CBBC’s Kerching! and The Basil Brush Show and also appeared in the girl group The 411. It’s the gorgeous and talented Tisha Monique.
Now let’s start at the very beginning and let’s talk about music! Did you have any inspirations growing up?
Well yes! When I was younger I always loved to sing. I’m an only child so I liked being the centre of attention at every party I would always be up there with a hairbrush or something in my hand singing and trying to entertain. It kind of runs in my family with my Mum as she use to love to sing and I think that’s where it came from.
With influencers, I would say I remember hearing a lot of Soul music growing up like Diana Ross, Barry White, Mariah etc. Then I sort of branched into Pop music N-Sync, Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys. Then as I got older I fell in love with R'n'B and Neo Soul. My inspiring artists would have to be, India Arie, Sade and Lauren Hill, so I had a collective of influential artists.
You were in popular TV shows such as Kerching! & The Basil Brush Show. How did that all happen?
I went to Sylvia Young Theatre School and I had a cousin who went there and I remember pestering my mum telling her I wanted to go there as they taught dancing, ballet, jazz etc. You had to audition to get into the school as it was a private school; a year later my Mum gave in. I went for an audition and I got through!
At the school, there was an agency where you would go for auditions for mini-series or adverts etc and I went up for The Basil Brush Show and Kerching. I got both, that’s how it started!
Now let’s talk about The 411! Such an incredible group! How did The 411 happen?
I was at Sylvia's and Sony Music were looking for girls to audition for a new girl group that they were putting together, they were doing open auditions and also going to certain theatre schools and mine was one of them. It took a few weeks for the process as it started with thousands of girls to a handful of girls where you had to go through stages. Sony knew what they wanted with the look and who they wanted in the band. They got down to the last ten girls and it was myself and Tanya originally and then Carolyn and Suzie came later on.
The 411 released three singles which were ‘On My Knees’, ‘Dumb’ and ‘Teardrops’ if you could have released a fourth single which one would it be?
Ooh! I love all the songs from the album but two songs I absolutely love are ‘Forever Begins’ (I know it’s not everyone’s favourite song but for me, I really love Forever Begins) and Between The Sheets. The reason why I choose those is that I really love R&B, I feel like I’m the R&B girl from The 411. The other girls love R&B but I love R&B the most!
In 2004 you girls decided to end things for The 411. What happened?
There are two reasons why we spilt. One was because with the record label we had to sell a certain amount of records or a number to consider another album. Also, the merge between Sony & BMG. There were now people at the top were different from who was looking after us at the time. They made decisions that were not in our favour, so from there we had to go our separate ways which was very sad.
There were other options but they weren’t the best for us. We did try to re-group and take it somewhere else but as we weren’t the original four, it just didn’t feel right and our heart wasn’t in it.
Also, I think the record label didn’t know where to take us after the first three singles. We were very new and very urban and I feel like they didn’t know how to properly market us or fit us into the gap in the industry.
After The 411 things went a bit quiet for the four of you. In 2020 you decided to venture into your own music releasing your debut single ‘Leave Your Mind’. How did that happen?
There was a massive gap between singing in the band and me doing my solo music. Singing is a part of me, singing is in me and I always want to sing. I’ve always wanted to go down the solo artist route so I decided to release my first single in 2020 called Leave Your Mind. It was a bittersweet single and being an only child I was close to my Mum. She was quite unwell a few years before, so I was really focusing on her and my family.
When I finally decided to release I wanted it to be something very personal to me as it was the first song from me and it was basically about what I was going through after I lost my Mum. It was about my partner and how I was feeling. I went into depression and I was very anxious all the time. But it's real!
Leave Your Mind is a track that moves away from showcasing beauty or who I am, it’s basically very raw and a very uncomfortable song for me to sing and express to everyone.
You’ve announced on social media there’s a second single coming! Can we hear a sneak peek of the single? What’s the genre like? Who inspired you with this track?
Yes! I have the second single coming out next week. The genre I would say has an R&B and Reggae feel and who inspired it? The man of my life! My husband and I do music together, he inspires me to do music and has been by my side since losing my Mum, so you always have hold on to something positive, true, real and loving.
What advice would you give to upcoming artists?
To be yourself and not worry about what other artists are doing. Be true to yourself! Be true to your music!
Last year I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a promo poster for the Mighty Hoopla with The 411 on it! The 411 are back! What made you reunite for this event?
Since the band went their separate ways we had offers where people asked us to regroup but it wasn’t the right time for anyone because people get busy, they have families, they have their own lives etc. We kept on getting all of these requests and we just thought ok maybe we could do a show and just get back out there and relive this moment as we do miss it and we miss the fans and just performing in general.
Then Mighty Hoopla reached out and they asked for The 411 and we said Yes! It’s always been something that has been in the back of our minds and a long time coming that we thought this is the time!
Now with the other girls, our lives have settled down a bit! So now is a perfect time!
What does the future hold for The 411? We know you’ll be doing Mighty Hoopla in the summer but is there any chance of new music?
Oooh! Well yes! There are some other things in the pipeline, I can’t say exactly say what yet but I feel Mighty Hoopla won't be the only performance.
Check out the music video to Dumb by The 411 to get you ready for Mighty Hoopla!