Sista Monica Parker (born Monica C. Parker, April 27, 1956 – October 9, 2014) was an American electric blues, blues rock,gospel and soul singer, songwriter, and record producer.
Her influences included Al Green, Aretha Franklin, the Staple Singers, Jackie Wilson, and Sam Cooke. She wrote most of her material, and released eleven albums in her lifetime. Parker shared the stage with a number of musicians over her performing lifetime including B.B. King, India Arie, Gladys Knight, Etta James, Koko Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, Elvin Bishop, Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers, the Neville Brothers, and John Lee Hooker.
In 2015, she posthumously won a Blues Music Award in the ‘Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year’ category
Born in Gary, Indiana, United States, Parker began singing in her local Baptist church at the age of seven. After college, Parker joined the United States Marine Corps and after three years of service rose the rank of sergeant. Once her military service between 1977 and 1980 ended, Parker set up a staffing company, initially based in Chicago, aimed at electrical engineering professions. After moving the business to Silicon Valley she acquired clients which included Apple Inc., Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems andYahoo!. Encouraged by her then neighbor MC Hammer, Parker started a singing career in 1992 performing regularly at Emi’s Bar & Grille in Santa Cruz, California. By 1995 she had released her debut album, Get Out of My Way, on her own independent record label, Mo Muscle Records. Her track “Windy City Burner” was played on the radio and it helped promote her initial touring around the US, Canada and parts of Europe. Her follow-up album, Sista Monica was released in 1997.
In 1998, Parker was nominated for a Blues Music Award and was successful in gaining a California Music Award. Her 2000 album, People Love the Blues included guest appearances from blues guitarists Jimmy Thackery and Larry McCray.
Gimme That Old Time Religion (2001) was her first gospel release, which was followed by Live in Europe the same year. The latter was recorded in Peer, Belgium It was her performances in the late 1990s in Europe that gained her the nickname, “the Blues Lioness.” In 2002 she performed at the Monterey Bay Blues Festival, but late that year was diagnosed as suffering from the rare ailment of synovial sarcoma. She was initially given three months to live. Bouts of chemotherapy, radiation and therapy ensued before she returned to the recording studio and issued Love, Soul & Spirit, Vol. 1 in 2004. Parker initiated a 40-voice choir called the Sista Monica Gospel & Inspirational Choir, a musical ensemble comprising people of various faiths