Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Muni Long
Muni Long has been in the music industry for over two decades while first working behind the scenes and then becoming an independent artist, but now she is soaking up the spotlight front and center where she has always wanted to be.
This month, she is basking in the glow of a brand new studio album —Public Displays of Affection: The Album— which features eight tracks including her popular hit "Hrs & Hrs." All this comes after signing with legendary music label Def Jam which helped launch the careers of LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys. Since making her name known throughout the music scene, she has garnered a huge fanbase of support from those new to the R&B genre while maintaining loyal support from those who have been following her career from the very beginning.
She told ABC that representation stays atop of her in order to inspire younger generations who see her as a role model. "A huge part of it for me is representing. When you look at all the little girls who are singing my songs on TikTok, they are loving my music."
Since becoming a solo artist, she has collaborated with John Legend, Saweetie, and rap and hip-hop newcomer Kali. With the decision to take her career in a different direction, the "Ain't Easy" singer's story is one ripped with pain and pleasure, and with the release of a new album, she is ready for fans to see and hear the truth behind her rise to success.
Here are five things you should know about R&B's newest break-out talent:
She adopted her stage name Muni Long after pursuing her solo career
Priscilla Renea is the name that was given to her at birth, but her stage name was inspired by teachings about nirvana. While doing more research, she learned the definition for "Mooney" in Filipino means to "think within" which caught her attention, but she opted to pronounce it "Money." After sharing this idea with her husband, the light bulb went off again after listening to rapper 2 Chainz's hit single "I'm Different" and noted the lyrics "Hair (Long) / money long" to seal the deal which birthed Muni Long.
She's penned hits for superstars from Ariana Grande to Rihanna
Before going solo, Long already had over 100 writing credits to her name including songs for Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson and Nick Jonas to name a few. Long is also the mastermind behind Ariana Grande's 2019 smash hit "Fake Smile" from her highly acclaimed Thank U, Next album that ranked as one of the 50 Best Albums of 2019 by Billboard and was nominated for two Grammy awards. She also co-wrote Fifth Harmony's "Worth it" which racked up a win for song of summer at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.
It wasn't her intention for "Hrs & Hrs" to blow up on TikTok
Her widely popular track "Hrs & Hrs" became social media gold as it earned 169.2 million views on TikTok well before the spring season of 2022. But when she released the single, it was in dedication to the idea of love, not to gain steam on social media. She told Billboard that she knew the ball was in her court when it made waves made on the platform, so she "capitalized on the momentum". Since then, her social following has also increased as well as her placement on the charts as the song hit number 83 on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart.
She made her BET debut this year
Performing at the BET Awards was a childhood dream of hers that came to fruition this year. And after a show-stopping performance at the 2022 BET Awards over the summer, Long said singing on that stage was an honor and a privilege. She told PEOPLE that "it was a huge deal" for her as she paid homage to legendary showgirl Lola Falana. And although Long has never watched her performance from that night, the memory supersedes the void. Her team told her that the audience was "screaming the words and singing" along with her which made the moment even brighter. She told PEOPLE, "I really wanted [to] see what that sounded like, but I have such a great experience and a beautiful memory of that night. I don't wanna ruin it by watching what actually happened."
She's been married for over seven years
The R&B star is not living the single life as she has been married to husband Raysean Hairston since 2014. The two keep a low profile outside of the public eye.
Public Displays of Affection: The Album is out now.