into a family of musicians on 18 May 1975, it was inevitable that Mónica
Capel Cruz would have a love for music. Her grandparents were flamenco
singers, while both her father and uncle were musicians. Growing up, she
loved listening to her singing-idols like Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin.
Such a rich creative environment fuelled the Madrid beauty's desire to
realise her biggest dream of one day becoming a singer herself.
:: the first session
During 1991, Frank Peterson was at Ibiza when he saw one of the programmes featuring Mónica's voice. Recognising her talent he was put in touch with the then-16-year-old and an impromptu recording session was arranged for her in Madrid. A couple of demos were made and, impressed with the results, Frank committed himself to producing an album for her. A few months after that meeting though, Frank teamed up with Sarah Brightman and started immediate work on an album for her. With Peterson's efforts completely focused on Dive, Mónica's album had to be put on hold for nearly two years — but her patience would be rewarded.
:: meeting the team
Immediately after Dive was completed in early 1993, Mónica was off to Germany to visit the newly-built Nemo Studios. There she was also introduced to Thomas Schwarz and Matthias Meissner, who had been working with Peterson for a couple years already. The rough arrangements for her album were ready and she just needed to lend her voice. During this studio work Frank, who knew a few words in Spanish, started calling her 'Princessa' because he felt her ponytail made her look like a fairytale princess. The nickname stuck and when it came time to deciding on her stage-name, it was the perfect choice. Because Princessa was at that time more comfortable singing in her native Spanish language, all the lyrics for the album were written by Susana Espelleta. The two became good friends during the course of recording the album, and Espelleta eventually became Princessa's manager.
:: princess of pop
Rojo Y Llanto was the first single and released in parts of Europe and Mexico. This was followed by an album in 1993, simply entitled Princessa. It was also the first time Frank's songs were published and represented by Petersongs. Unfortunately due to its limited release, this first album is exceptionally difficult to find today. After the publication, Princessa travelled in May 1994 to Mexico for three weeks of promotion, taking part there in the famous Acapulco festival. She then toured all through Spain for two months, performing at more than 40 concerts, practically one day after the other!
:: a change to English
Once Princessa returned from all the promotion and touring she began work on the next album. The debut's success had been confined mostly to Spanish-speaking countries, so Frank decided it was time they tried breaking into more international waters. This necessitated a change to English singing and also a stronger dance-feel for the music. By that time Peterson had already worked a few times with techno-maestro Alex Christensen, whom he now invited to help produce the lead single. This track proudly proclaimed that it was a message, a message from Love City and released in April 1996, the infectious melody and lively beat of Calling You ensured enormous success.
:: queen of dance
The move to a more upbeat sound was a good one, as it exposed Princessa to countries she had been unknown in previously, such as Finland and Japan. To capitalise on this success, her new album Calling You was released a few months later on 25 October 1996 in the Netherlands. Sarah Brightman's involvement also became apparent with her co-writing some tracks and providing backing vocals. It was also important to ensure that the album was still accessible to Princessa's loyal Spanish-speaking fans, so also included were Spanish-lyric versions of the six major songs. In Finland especially she became hugely popular, visiting that country all-in-all sixteen times for promotion with television interviews, print-articles and concerts. This success prompted a wider distribution of the album, and it was re-released on 30 May 1997 in other areas. Because it was her first major international success in many countries that had previously never heard of her, effectively her 'debut' in these, this re-release was also entitled Princessa but is not be confused with her 1993 release.
:: third style
Although she enjoyed dance music, from hearing it at clubs to listening to drum'n'bass at home, Princessa still preferred to perform pop music. She loved everything from Toni Braxton to Alanis Morissette and so for her next album, the dance sound was lessened. The record label's executives were at first hesitant of such a change, as it meant it would be more difficult to succeed in her big hit-markets, like Finland, who were expecting dance music. But after hearing some demo tapes they appreciated the new direction. This was also spurred on by the fact that one of the most popular German television series, "Marienhof", began using Princessa's ballad Snowflakes regularly on the show.
:: empress of rock
Ultimately the change to a rock-pop sound coupled
with the increased flighting of her song on television, meant Princessa
would finally have success and recognition on her home turf of Germany.
Two weeks after that single's release, it appeared on the German national
charts — her first single to do so there. Months later, the producers
of "Marienhof" asked her to star in an episode and perform the
song. The new album I Won't Forget You,
was released 15 February 1999 containing all new tracks primarily composed
by Matthias Meissner and Thomas Schwarz, as well as small contributions
from newcomers Jan-Eric
Kohrs and Carsten Heusmann. As with her previous album, which allowed
her to break into new territories, the new Princessa sound made her more
accessible to places like Singapore and the Philippines, with countries
like Italy and America releasing her album for the first time. (You
Just) Believe In You was the last single released off that album on
19 July 1999.
:: the future
Yet despite worries from fans that Princessa
may have retired, she returned to the studio in early April 2002 to begin recording new material. The album All
I Want was exclusively announced first on this site and FPWeb followed its development. Frank picked the final selection of songs to record for the new album out of more than 100 proposed tracks! Besides contributions from the usual Nemo Studios
production-teams of Schwarz, Meissner, Kohrs and Heusmann, there was also
a greater involvement this time with successful German producer Axel
Breitung and Arn Schlürmann (of Blümchen fame). For her birthday in 2001,
Frank had bought Princessa some recording-equipment, allowing her to get
more actively involved in composing her own music. Peterson was quite surprised
by her 'hidden' talent for song-writing and the result is a third of the tracks on the
new album are penned by her.
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