"It was intentional for me to take that time off," Monica, 28, says from the make-up chair of her upcoming video, "Everything to Me." "My children needed me and I didn't want their early years to be consumed with traveling and all of the things that I need to do as an artist. I just wanted to be their mom."
Now that Rodney ("Lil' Roc), five and Romelo, two, have enjoyed having a stable foundation, Mommy is ready to get back to business, starting with her first single. Produced by Missy Elliott and penned by Jazmine Sullivan, "Everything to Me," is a sweet song [with hints of the Deniece Williams' classic, "Silly"] about the enduring power of love. That's exactly the sentiment she wanted to express in the video, helmed by Benny Boom. In short, the clip tells the tale of boy meets girl, boy marries girl and has a family...then boy gets stalked by the next chick. The "boy" is NFLer Ocho Cinco, Monica is his "girl" and she's not having the nonsense.
"We see all of these statistics about who cheats, who gets married and who doesn't," she says, "and I hope the video is a reminder to everybody that love can still happen. That's what the song is about."
Just as she's called back to set, I catch a glimpse of the slender band that's on her left, ring finger. When she notices my raised eyebrow, she bursts into a laugh. "No, I'm not married yet," says the currently-engaged singer. "This is just for the video!"