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.
1.1 11-20-79 Era,
2.3 Other appearances,
5 External links,
Mona Lisa was born in Union, South Carolina, later relocating to Yonkers, New York. Her exotic looks are from her African American/Native American mother and her Caucasian father. A musical prodigy, Mona began singing in church at the age of 7. She joined Ujamma Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York at 10, and began performing for sold out audiences. After performing and winning talent competitions across the state, at 12 years old she performed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Singing "Home" by Stephanie Mills, she received a standing ovation. By 13, Mona's talent caught the attention of the record producer, Narada Michael Walden. Walden recognized Mona's talent, and took her under his wing. She later began touring overseas.
At 15, she signed to Island Black Music, a subsidiary of Island Records from 1995-1998 and Def Soul, a subsidiary of Def Jam Records from 1998-1999. She met Hiraim Hicks, CEO of Island Black Music, and sung " His Eye Is On the Sparrow" a cappella. She was signed on the spot. By her sixteenth birthday she had already penned and vocally arranged half of her debut album, 11-20-79, collaborated and written with the industries top producers and artists, and became a fixture on music television and radio airwaves.
In 1995, her debut single, "Can't Be Wasting My Time" was released on the Don't Be a Menace... soundtrack. Following the success of the single (and her appearance on another soundtrack cut, she penned the chorus to "Time to Shine" with Lil' Kim), her debut album 11-20-79 (a reference to her birth date) was released, alongside a follow-up single, "You Said". Mona guest-starred on the hit Nickelodeon show Kenan & Kel. Mona also thrived in her modeling career, gracing the pages of magazines worldwide.
With the Island Black Music Records imprint being dissolved into Def Soul/Island Def Jam, their roster (including Mona, Case, Kelly Price, Montell Jordan, Dru Hill and others) followed suit, and began working on new projects. She set work on her sophomore album, Gett'n It On and the single "Peach" was released. Additionally, the title track "Get'n It On" was released on the soundtrack to the Jada Pinkett Smith/Tommy Davidson film, Woo. Mona continued to work behind the scenes, writing, and concentrating on her schoolwork. Education was always important to her, and in 1998 she graduated with a 4.0 average.
With her departure from the label in 2000, at the age of 20, Mona decided to continue with her education. With dreams of running her own business. Mona has always remained in the entertainment industry, working behind the scenes, writing, producing, and splitting her time between LA and NY working on a variety 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.