.

Monica Back in Studio

R&B singer also to appear on "Felicity"

October 11, 2001 12:00 AM ET

It's been nearly four years since R&B star Monica released her last CD, 1998's The Boy Is Mine, which featured the chart-topping title track, a duet with Brandy. Her fans won't have too much longer to wait for new music. "I hope to have the record ready by the beginning of the year," she says. "I'm working with Jermaine Dupri, and right now we have three songs done."

In addition to reuniting with prolific producer Dupri (Ludacris, Mariah Carey, Destiny's Child, Lil' Bow Wow), with whom she worked on The Boy Is Mine, Monica is getting production help from Dallas Austin, Soul Shock and Carlin, Rodney Jerkins (another collaborator from The Boy Is Mine), Warren Campbell and more on the upcoming J Records release.

Another returning hand is former Arista Records/current J Records president Clive Davis, who served as executive producer of The Boy Is Mine. "I've been with him since I was thirteen," Monica says, "and I get a chance to continue the relationship, which I'm very excited about."

Monica will also be appearing on the small screen this fall, playing a non-recurring character named Sarah Robinson on an episode of Felicity that will air in November.

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Song Stories

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A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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