Monique McKen

BBC Gospel Singer of the Year 2021

Rachel is the owner of TEDx Lewisham and a Public Speaker, delivering talks, conversations and thought leaderships to

communities and organisations. 

Rachel is also an elected Councillor in the London Borough of Lewisham having been elected twice since 2014.

Rachel is also the owner of a brand called Onthesofa encompassing a Vlogcast (currently hosted on Youtube) and a Public Speaking platform. The overarching aim of ‘OntheSofa’ is to empower individuals to achieve their desired visions and goals. 

Rachel’s corporate career has included a combination of Politics, Government policy, Regulations, Public Affairs and Stakeholder communications / management. 

Rachel’s current corporate positions include: 

Sitting as a Non- Executive Director with the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), (a Public Body) with responsibilities that include providing high level scrutiny, challenge and direction to CCW to ensure a strong and robust corporate and financial strategy for the benefit of water customers across England and Wales. 

Rachel is also a Non-Executive Director of the newly formed organisation, the Independent Funeral Standards Organisation (IFSO), an organisation set up in 2021 to better regulate the funeral sector to protect consumers, ensure tougher sanctions for bad practice and regulate funeral arrangements and inspections to a high ethical standard. Her focus is to ensure that the Board develops a strong and evolving strategic vision for best and fair sector regulation whilst advocating on behalf of customers the principle – ‘ good service standards at value for money’

Rachel is also a Board Trustee with Victim Support, the national independent voice for victims and also sits as a member of the Lay Magistracy in two South-East London Magistrates Courts. 

Rachel is also a school governor at two primary schools within the London Borough of Lewisham.

Monique was born in Birmingham (UK), to Pastor Clement Reid and Sonia Reid. As the youngest of their six children, she joined

the family band at the age of 3 years old.

The ‘Reid Family’ performed together at church services and concerts which gave Monique a solid foundation in both the church and its music.  Starting with Monique’s grandmother, Doris Nembhard (who was the church organist and Choir Director at Life and Light Fellowship Church for over 60 years), her family is rich in the heritage of Gospel music. 

As a teenager, Monique went through a rebellious phase and at the age of 15-16 she left church and home after deciding to follow her own path.

As the years went by, her relationship with God grew increasingly distant and singing was no longer a prominent part of her life.  In her mid-to-late 20s, Monique started singing again and accompanied various bands and local groups (both live & studio work), such as Grammy award-winning reggae band- Steel Pulse, Black Voices, China Black and Michael Bolton, to name a few.  However, because of her own personal struggles, she no longer found contentment in singing and her confidence suffered.

After Monique re-dedicated her life back to Christ, her desire was to use her gift to share the gospel, but her confidence was still affected by her past.  Monique found security in singing alongside other people, groups, and choirs but felt more at home singing with her big sister Denise Wilson, who is an accomplished pianist and one of Birmingham’s best Choir Directors, and also beside her big brother Reed Bass, who is one of the UK’s leading bassists.

In recent years Monique finally submitted to God’s unique call and decided to go solo.  By putting her confidence in God instead of her own ability, Monique now boldly ministers in song wherever she goes.

Most recently, Monique was crowned BBC’s Songs of Praise first Gospel Singer of the Year 2021.

Monique is married with four children and is a member of Life and Light Fellowship Church, in Birmingham.  In 2008 she graduated from the Birmingham City University with a Bachelor of Laws degree (with honours) and practiced in Family Law for a number of years before venturing into Youth Work.

In 2014, Monique and her husband Glen started a Christian-led youth project called CRIB 3:16. The project was set up to help inner-city young people make positive choices, access education, and employment opportunities and, navigate their life with a sense of purpose.  

Monique is also currently working on her debut EP which will include both traditional and contemporary gospel songs and is expected to be released in the late summer of 2021.