Monica Sliwa Plucks At Our Heart Strings With Her New Single, “Confessions”

Monica Sliwa is a first-generation college graduate, an instrumentalist, a singer/songwriter, and a refugee from Baghdad, Iraq.

Monica fled her home due to the war and other life-threatening circumstances. Her love for music was instilled in her in Syria, where she lived for four years as a refugee; and in 2010 she arrived in the United States where the doors of opportunity opened up for her.

This is where Monica taught herself how to play guitar, piano, and the ukulele all while working, volunteering, and earning a bachelor's degree. She is set to graduate from UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy as the first doctor of pharmacy in her family.

Music has helped Monica fight through her darkest and most challenging days. She embodies the journey of those who have walked a similar path while positively influencing those who simultaneously aspire to pursue music and higher education. Monica’s goal is to be the voice of young refugees such as herself. Her new universal single “Confessions” displays her passion and deep understanding of music and emotions.

“Confessions” feels like a coming-of-age film in song form. The first enchanting guitar strings of the record instantly relax the senses and take you into this blissful, yet emotionally driven journey. Each pluck feels like a piece of a story unfolding. It has a romantic and youthful tone. The fire crackling throughout the song gives it a warm and intimate texture. The piece breathes an air of beauty and patience, allowing the listener to let their guard down and drift back and forth to Monica's sensationally hypnotizing notes that sing a soulful song of trial, tribulation, love, and freedom.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Monica Sliwa, and congratulations on the release of your latest single “Confessions." We adore the honesty, vulnerability, and optimism that emanate from this song. What moment or story inspired “Confession” to be created? Thank you, BuzzMusic! Every bit of "Confessions" was made during a time of distress. I can say that I’ve been creating little pieces of this instrumental throughout the past few months unaware of it being my very first published song! I can point out the exact month of when I decided to put it all together though, November of 2021! The first few months of my final year of pharmacy school were a little challenging for me. Not so much with the hands-on work, but the fact that I had to choose between pursuing a residency program after graduation or sticking to my original plan. A lot of back-and-forth conversations I had to have with my caring mentors. Anyway, the month of November was the breaking point. That’s when I was doing extensive research to learn how to publish songs on my own and take my mind off of pharmacy for an hour or two daily. It all worked out! Confessions is such an expressive composition. Is there a specific message or feeling you wanted to get across to the listener? This piece is very similar to what I regularly listen to when I want to de-stress or study for an exam. You know the relaxing instrumental songs on YouTube, right? Those songs got me through some tough classes. I hope that students find my music relaxing and play the songs when they work on their homework or when they’re stressed (or whenever!). The specific message would be this: relax and pause for 2 minutes! How did your love for music transform into your desire to start playing music? What inspired you to start writing songs? Most, if not all, of the activities that I was ever interested in, were impossible for me to pursue as a young refugee in Syria. I fell in love with guitars in 2006, at a local music shop in Damascus. I used to find excuses to walk by and stare at their guitars - they were gorgeous! Fast forward to 2010, when my family and I were accepted as refugees in the US. Later that year, I asked my parents for $100 when they got their tax refund. Got the $100 and went straight to Swap Meet, where I got my very first guitar. I did not let anything stop me from learning how to play my favorite instrument. I used all the free online YouTube videos and taught myself how to play the guitar. Once I love something, I never let it go. Consistency, patience, and love got me to where I am today. I do not read music sheets, I just play from the heart. People said that it was never going to happen without a teacher, so I taught myself, improved, and now write songs! You are a soon-to-be graduate and just released an amazing song. What advice would you give to others who are pursuing school and music at the same time? How difficult is it to find that balance to do both? Students need to find their stress-coping mechanism. No matter how much you love what you do, there will be times when you’ll feel down. You’ve got to find a hobby or a healthy activity to keep you motivated and set your mind free for a few minutes. School kept me busy. I felt behind, overwhelmed, and stressed. Worrying didn’t get me far. Taking those 10-15 minutes off helped me return to work with more energy, a clear mind, and a positive attitude. Once you find your stress-coping mechanism, fit it into your schedule. Modify your lifestyle. Your mind deserves a break too! What's next for you? I’m about two rotations away from earning my doctorate in pharmacy. The 8-year long journey is coming to an end! I’ve already signed a job offer (back in December of 2021) so I’m all set for now. It’s about time to settle and find time to create more music to share with the world.