For Los Angeles-based, Mexican-American artist Monogem, music and culture are two ways of expressing herself. But, it hasn’t always been an easy journey of self-identity for the young woman, growing up in a half Mexican household in the suburbs of L.A. Feeling stuck between two worlds, never quite feeling enough of either half, Monogem has learned to embrace herself exactly as she is and celebrate a culture she feels is her own while also encouraging others with bicultural roots who might feel conflicted as she did to branch out and know that they can have confidence and be proud of who they are. With her new single, “Dame La Fuerza” Monogem steps further out into the world as herself, self-assured and satisfied to be who she is while also recognizing the advantages of her upbringing.
“Growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles in a half-Mexican family, I never knew exactly how to identify with my cultural identity,” ” Monogem notes. ”I wanted to honor my roots and continue to learn and speak Spanish, but never felt confident enough to get real about these conflicts that so many people experience when bicultural. LA Mexican culture is very different from what I knew growing up… “Bienvenidos a mi vida / una vida muy tranquila” [Welcome to my life, a very peaceful life] is a recognition of privilege that made me feel so conflicted about my identity as a half-Mexican woman.”
“Dame La Fuerza” is a song that encapsulates the strength of self love and acceptance. With lyrics that establish a credence of a strong woman and lush, dreamy synth pop instrumentals, the song is a feel good, do good anthem that is the perfect pick-me-up for anyone feeling uncomfortable or too wrapped up in intrusive thoughts about themselves. Monogem makes note of her beautiful, peaceful life while also poking a little fun at her own bicultural background, calling herself a “pinche gringa,” taking the often negative term and spinning it to capture the dynamism of her being.
The song radiates a confidence that knows how to strut with an open cadence without being too serious or too self possessed. It’s a mood reel for believing in oneself, accepting who you are and where you come from all while taking life with a grain of salt.
The accompanying music video for “Dame La Fuerza” captures a transformation of Monogem from the conflicted, hesitant person of her past to a shimmering, sparkling version of herself, one that reflects her true qualities and newfound happiness in herself. Backgrounds of the desert, cacti and colorful desert flora set the stage for Monogem’s transformation as she goes from draped in red to covered in beautiful, shiny gems.
“As the song progresses, I am able to step into my second self, covered in all things shiny,” Monogem notes. “Someone who is comfortable confronting the uncomfortable. Someone who isn’t afraid to own all of what she embodies; and confident in all that she is.”
Monogem’s Jen Hirsh spent some time developing her musical style before finally diving into writing in Spanish in 2019. Since then, she has written both in Spanish and English and has found new creative avenues to explore as she incorporates more of her full self into the music she pens.
“I’m not pretending to be anyone but myself, and this song embodies exactly that – with a side of playfulness,” Monogem says. ”Dame La Fuerza” is about owning who you are and not taking yourself too seriously in the process. For me, it’s an honor to write music in Spanish…a language that was such an integral part of my upbringing”
“Dame La Fuerza” preludes Monogem’s upcoming bilingual album, Gardenia which is set to be released later this summer.
Words: Patti Sanchez