You're in the right place

 ....if you're looking for Scarlet Monk. I'm also Mugs from Mugs and Pockets.

My social media is limited these days, and if you're looking for info about me I'd rather it come from me, hence this blog. It may not be in the small, digestible bites we've all gotten used to, but it'll be honest and accurate. I've been doing this performance/music/art thing for a long time, so I guess I'll have lots to say (and show). I'll include unlisted videos and such to show my journey better. But before we get to that, let's get the most important things out of the way:

I am soon to release my solo album "Labyrinthine", which is the culmination of my over decade-long search and attempt to make my perfect Trip Hop album. This is the one. It is incredible, executive-produced by Swamburger, mixed and mastered by DiViNCi and Frank Cueto, and features musicians who really get it. If you want to know about me, listen to this album. My heart itself is in that album. 

My first attempt at a Trip Hop album was in 2010, an album titled "AnnaBella". You can find it on Spotify if you want to hear the first attempts, but know that it was released by a music label which is no longer active and I was not able to purchase the masters when I tried, so it's not something I really promote, although there are no hard feelings. The label owner has moved on and changed careers and the album is just "there". From what I remember, I recorded most of the vocals myself in my bedroom, the first half of the album were beats given to me or sold to me for a minimal price by people I knew, and the second half was recorded with live musicians in a studio, where I also got the mixing done. The label offered to do the mastering for free, which sounded good at the time, and released the album. It worked well because they were able to spread the word a lot better than I could have, and got me some cool remixes and fan-made music videos which you can still find floating around. One of the remixes, "Ring" by KRTS made it to Soundcloud's top 10 tracks for that month or something like that, which was very exciting for me.  Then some big life-things happened which altered everything (more on that at some point, maybe..) Although that album was the best I could do at the time, it wasn't everything I wanted it to be. And so the journey to this new album began.

In the many frustration-filled years of finding the right collaborators and producers, I learned a lot. It feels like I tried everything. I tried contacting the producer who's remix got on the Soundcloud list but didn't get any replies to my messages. I sent my music to God knows how many people. I contacted house producers in Chicago saying "I think my voice is really good for House music" but no one seemed to agree or even acknowledge me. I recorded for Hip Hop tracks and the songs were either abandoned, most of my vocals taken out, or I was mixed so low that you couldn't hear me and everyone assumed I was some old sample. At one point I met Flying Lotus' cousin (Flying Lotus was only mildly known back then) and I remember emailing him an acapella. He responded with "Pretty song" and that was that. And on and on. Met Madlib, exchanged numbers, sent music, never heard a peep. A friend was the drummer for Prefuse73 but didn't want to bother him by passing along my music. (That's a common theme- people I'm close to knowing famous people who could help me break through but not wanting to show them my music so as not to be annoying). I remember handing Quantic my album after one of his shows, not sure he ever listened. And on and on and on and on. The names got bigger over the years but the result stayed the same. I still had this naive notion that someone was going to "discover me', although pretty early on I knew I wasn't the type of artist who would win contests. I cared more about the full song, from songwriting to vocal layers to the photo art accompanying it - basically the full vision - than I did about hitting high notes. Not many people found this impressive, and I remember being told after recording for a collaboration that  "the songwriting is pretty good, but the singing is just... boring. Can you try singing that either an octave lower or an octave higher?". An octave is a lot, it would have sounded ridiculous. I actually have this theory that most people don't know what an octave is, since I often hear that certain famous singers have an octave range that's the entire piano, or more. Point being, when viewed through an industry lens, my singing is not "impressive" and I am easily overlooked because I believe to appreciate the full scope of what's happening, you have to get immersed in my world, really listen and see the whole vision. Not many people have the patience for that.

There were great collaborations over the years, of course. I met some wonderful musicians. I collaborated with MC Phillip Morris for a while and it was extremely fun and fulfilling, and we even opened for a not yet well known singer named Lizzo in Minneapolis. I knew some great producers, but somehow the vision never matched, or maybe I didn't have the words to articulate it properly. Years kept going by, projects kept failing, I was feeling more and more discouraged and drained with each month.

Little by little I started producing more, but more on that later. All I'll say for now is that I f*cked around and very eventually found out that I can produce rather well. Enter: DiViNCi, Swamburger, and Mugs and Pockets. And this is where we'll leave off this introductory post, because what you now have to do is catch up on all things Mugs and Pockets and the projects we released. I write that blog too, so really, you'll just be getting to know me from a different angle. So go here:


And lastly, thank you for reading. It means a lot. Thank you for listening. Hope you're doing ok in this crazy world. I don't think I can fully stop holding my breath until "Labyrinthine" is released. I want everyone to hear it. 

'Til next time,


*Mountains photo by Ruben Martinez


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