Kimberly Leadbetter (born November 20, 1979), known by her professional stage name Mona Lisa, is an American pop and R&B singer-songwriter, actress, model and record producer. She is best known for her debut single "Can't Be Wasting My Time" featuring the Hip-Hop group Lost Boyz, which was featured on the "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood" soundtrack as well as her debut album 11-20-79.
Mona Lisa was born in Union, South Carolina, later relocating to Yonkers, New York. She is of mixed ancestry; her mother is African American/Native American mother and her father is Caucasian. Mona began singing in church at the age of 7. She also took dance lessons as a child and also entered numerous talent competitions, performing "Home" by Stephanie Mills with particular success.
By 13, Lisa caught the attention of the record producer Narada Michael Walden, who thought she had talent. Also, the 1992 Yanni album "Dare to Dream" credits the vocals on the track "Aria" to Mona Lisa. Later, in 1995, (aged 15), she met Hiraim Hicks, CEO of Island Black Music, who signed her after she sung "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" a cappella. Island Black Music, a subsidiary of Island Records, was the label that she would be associated with until 1998.
During early 1996, she was completing substantial portions of her debut album, 11-20-79, with the help of her producers and collaborators, and she gained some publicity as well, such as appearances on music television. Also, some of her songs were played on the radio. Her debut single, "Can't Be Wasting My Time" was released on the Don't Be a Menace... soundtrack during this time. Following the success of the single (and a collaboration with Lil' Kim on the song "Time to Shine") her debut album 11-20-79 (a reference to her birth date) was released, alongside a follow-up single, "You Said".
At this time, Lisa also guest-starred on Kenan & Kel a TV show that aired on Nickelodeon and simultaneously pursued a career in modeling along with her musical projects.
When the Island Black Music Records imprint was absorbed into Def Soul, a subsidiary of Def Jam Records, Mona Lisa, along with the rest of Island Black Music's roster, were transferred to and began working with the other label. She began working on her next album, called Gett'n It On, and the single "Peach" was released. Also, the title track "Get'n It On" was released on the soundtrack to the Jada Pinkett Smith/Tommy Davidson film, Woo. During this time, Lisa was still going to high school, where she achieved significant academic success, graduating with high marks in 1998.
When Lisa departed from the Def soul label in 2000, at the age of 20, she decided to continue her education, with plans of one day running her own business. However, she continued to be involved with the entertainment industry as well, maintaining ties with the music business and pursuing various projects.
In 2004, she did a series of collaborations with the Dipset camp. She appeared on the single, "Girls" with Cam'Ron which was featured on his Purple Haze album. A few years later, she collaborated with rapper Sonja Blade on her single "Get At Me" which was released in 2007.
In 2009, she signed with independent label Ontourage Entertainment and set work on an album titled Reckless with producer Jimi Kendrix. She also signed a partnership with Straight Paper/Triple Beam Entertainment.
In 2011, her collaboration with labelmate DL, "First Klass (That Lyfe)" was released as a digital single. It's the lead single for the King of Paper Chasin' soundtrack. Her song, "Once Upon a Time" (written by Dennis Cooper) appeared in the film, The Heart Specialist which was released in 2012.
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