Indie/pop singer Monica Elief releases her highly-anticipated single, “Daddy’s Money,” the third installment in a series of singles the St. Louis, Missouri-bred songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist has released over the last two months.
Listen to “Daddy’s Money” HERE.
The ambient and raw autobiographical song, which hones in on observing entitled, wealthy girls at Elief’s Ladue Horton Watkins High School, allows listeners into some of the challenges the vocalist faced in navigating the sometimes less-appealing student years that teenagers can face.
“Although things appeared shiny and polished on the outside, these individuals seemed to be living a superficial, lonely, and sad life,” says Elief, a trained violinist and cello player. In “Daddy’s Money,” she calls out, singing, “Lucky you / You’re at home / On your throne / All alone.”
“I went to school with a lot of ‘daddy’s money’ girls,” says Elief. “I remember there was this one girl who wanted a white Jeep Wrangler for her 16th birthday. But she also wanted a pink one and couldn’t decide which one she really wanted more. So her parents bought her two Wranglers, one in white and the other in pink.”
Elief co-wrote “Daddy’s Money” with her co-producer, Curtis Douglas, who has produced and written songs released by labels, including Universal, Warner Brothers, Virgin, Geffen, 3V Method Records, Fearless, and whose songs have been streamed over 40 million times and featured in movies, video games, and television shows, including hits on MTV and Netflix.
“I met Curtis when I flew out to Los Angeles to work with Shayan Amiri, the co-producer on my three singles,” recalls Elief. Together, she and Douglas worked day and night, from 9 a.m. to midnight, writing and tracking songs. “Through this process, Curtis and I really kicked it off and became very good friends as well as I love his work.”
Douglas has worked with artists like Carlie Hanson (Warner Brothers), The Peach Tree Rascals, 19&You (3V Method Records), Tess Henely (UMPG), Jess Andrea, Soaky Siren (Latin Grammy nominee, 3V Method Records), Carly Waddell (of The Bachelor and Bachelor In Paradise), The Underclassmen, Brook Sample (of American Idol), Brian Justin Crum (of Americans Got Talent), and The Main (Warner Brothers) to name a few.
The 26-year-old songstress, who’s been writing songs since 2010, says Douglas and her build songs that include elements of drum kits, deep bass lines, and some cool guitar riffs peppered into the bridge inside the song—something she is a big fan of.
“I’m a lot of things: a New York runaway; an exceptionally hard worker; a continuous creative, and an unwavering believer in staying true to myself.”
Picking up right where her recent two releases have left off, “Daddy’s Money”—along with her debut song “Little Lover Boy,” and her August 27th single “Freak Show”—underscore Elief’s beliefs. Furthermore, a culmination of musical and personal experience, the radio-friendly offerings come laced with evoking, husky vocals augmented with tight, atmospheric production aesthetics.
Lyrical styling permeates the poppy “Little Lover Boy” with words like, “Lost what you had and I don’t feel bad / No way in hell that I’m gonna come back,” which was inspired by an unhealthy relationship with an ex-boyfriend Elief had throughout high school. On the edgier and darker alt-pop follow-up, Elief balances not being what everyone wants her to be while still being accessible and relatable to everyone that she says, “is part of this freak show we call life.” She sings, “Bring me / All the ones that weren’t invited / Tattooed hearts / The ones in hiding.”
Raised in a challenging childhood, where one parent struggled with substance abuse and the other buried himself in his work, Elief felt her parents were never really around. When her parents finally divorced, she and her older brother Brandon moved in with their grandmother to have a more stable home life. “My grandmother raised us. She was retired so she didn’t have much money. So a lot of my clothes came from Goodwill, which I got picked on for. I remember walking across the school with my cello and kids would joke around and say, ‘Oh my god, does she have a freshmen hiding in there?’”
Ultimately the divorce and being made fun of took a toll and the musically-inclined Elief buried herself in music. She moved up the ranks in orchestra, becoming first chair and competing in-state and out-of-state. “I lived and breathed music 24-7. It was my escape from the chaos.” She cites her three principal influences then, and still today, being Halsey, Frank Sinatra, and Swedish singer and songwriter Tove Lo.
After high school, Elief upped and moved to New York with just $100 and a suitcase. “I was so reckless. I drove 14 hours to stay with a guy there that I had met previously in St. Louis. We lived in a poor, tiny place where it wasn’t uncommon to see rats around.”
Elief eventually moved back to St. Louis and kept putting songs down on paper, keeping her singing private until she felt it was time to go public. “I first had to overcome fears of worrying about what others thought about my voice, if they would judge me, if I would embarrass myself. But I got to a point where I didn’t care. I was ready.”
Today, Elief embraces the journey to make music. She recently joined forces with JV Agency, a management and marketing boutique agency in Beverly Hills. Jazmine Valencia, the founder of JV Agency, is no stranger to working with some of rock and pop music’s most recognizable artists via her company and tenure as former Director of Digital Marketing at Island Def Jam/UMG. She’s handled well over 2000-plus album launches, guiding and advancing the careers of an eclectic roster of top-selling stars, including The Killers, Fall Out Boy, Avicii, Max Frost, American Authors, and Shawn Mendes, among many others.
“I’ve worked with Curtis over the years and when he sent me Monica’s music and I listened to her songs, I was instantly drawn to her voice and songwriting abilities and knew we had to work with her,” says Valencia.
As Elief continues to work on new material, the one thing she hopes fans will most resonate with is the messaging in her music. “Always be true to yourself. And never stop being curious.”
Little Lover Boy: https://go.jvagency.co/llbme
Freak Show: https://go.jvagency.co/monicafs
Daddy’s Money: https://go.jvagency.co/medm
Press inquiries, please contact Nathalie Baret –
All other inquiries, please contact Jazmine Valencia at JV Agency –