GRAMMY-Winning Singer by Night, World Campus Student by Day

Ms. Monet on stage. Photo by Lisa Taylor.
Ms. Monet on stage. Photo by Lisa Taylor.

In your next group project at World Campus, you might be paired with a GRAMMY-winning singer.

Conesha Owens — known professionally as “Ms. Monet” — has been performing alongside famous singers like Queen Latifah, Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, and Boz Scaggs for nearly two decades.

Penn State World Campus has given her a chance finish something she started before her professional career took off — pursuing a degree in psychology.

“I’ve wanted to go back to school after being out for about twenty years,” she says. “My sister was really my inspiration. She completed her master’s degree through World Campus online, and I knew that I could do this, too. I was enrolled in a psychology program previously, before starting my career. After looking at many schools, I picked Penn State World Campus for its outstanding curriculum.”

Musical Roots in Family

From an early age, Conesha and her family knew she would be a performer. Her biological father sang with Marvin Gaye for thirteen years, and she began singing from an early age. “My mom would have been surprised if I had done anything else,” she says.

At 7, she won her first talent show, singing “It Must be Magic” by R&B singer Teena Marie. After her career was in full swing, Conesha met and became friends with Teena, who was her idol growing up.

Since then, she has worked with a host of well-known artists, some in the recording studio, some live on stage: Faith Hill, Raphael Saadiq, Patty Austin, Kenny Loggins, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Kelly Clarkson, and Barbara Streisand, to name a few. She received a GRAMMY for singing background vocals on Celene Dion’s single “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie Titanic.

On her recent tour with Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs, Conesha made a stop at someplace she had never visited before: Penn State’s University Park campus. She made plans to meet backstage with her academic adviser, Meggan Schiffhauer, who attended Conesha’s concert.

“It was so cool to meet Meggan,” says Conesha. “For the last two years, we’ve talked over Skype, and then finally getting to meet in person was amazing. I had to call my mom after the concert to tell her about meeting Meggan, because I was so excited!”

Conesha Owens meeting with her academic adviser, Meggan Schiffhauer, backstage.
Conesha Owens meeting with her academic adviser, Meggan Schiffhauer, backstage.

A New Career After Singing

Conesha sees her career taking a new direction once she finishes her degree. Getting her degree will allow her to help people, something she’s passionate about.

“I’m constantly working with people, including my fans,” she says. “When people come to see me sing, I like to give them something, like words of encouragement, using my voice.”

She has already begun applying psychological principles to everyday interactions with people, she says. “Sometimes people won’t say what they’re dealing with or going through, but having expertise behind me, I can say, ‘Hey, I understand. It’s going to be okay.’”

Her ultimate goal is to get a Ph.D. in psychology and become a practicing psychologist. ““People can become overwhelmed easily in the performing arts industry,” she says. “I often hear of suicide from people who feel overstressed in the music business. If more people knew who I was, besides my professional persona, I could be of more service to them.”