Sacramento singer Miss Mouthpeace returns to music after a tumultuous 2020.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Monique Smith, also known as Miss Mouthpeace, built a reputation around Sacramento as a singer. She first got her start in Okinawa, Japan more than a decade ago hosting an open mic night. But life – as it does – got in the way with family and working full time to pay her bills. That is, until everything came to a screeching halt because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The beginning of this year was so difficult for me because not only were we dealing with COVID-19, but I lost my job. I had time to think about all the things I haven’t been able to accomplish because I’ve been so busy. I was being so busy that I didn’t have time to get back into my passion. So I feel like music saved me. It was a healing to me,” Miss Mouthpeace said.
Smith sang in a sultry acapella voice, “It’s crazy… lately… seeing things that we have never seen. Fighting just to be close.”
She’s one of the lucky ones to have found an outlet to cope with stress.
The U.S. Census Bureau said anxiety and depression among African Americans shot up to higher rates experienced by any other racial or ethnic group with 41 percent screening positive for some type of mental health symptom. It started right after the health pandemic and then sky-rocketed after the death of George Floyd exposed severe racial tensions. Miss Mouthpeace said, the situation can be overwhelming.
“It was like every week something was happening or every day we were getting a new story and we thought it was going to stop but it wasn’t stopping,” she said.
Looking for ways to cope on her own led her back to her love of singing, which has become her outlet.
“It was just listening at first. And then it went from listening to writing. And then to singing again. Peace comes from within. When you’re surrounded by chaos, sometimes you just have to turn off the outside noise,” Miss Mouthpeace said.
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