"Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing."
— Marc Chagall
Trent Monk began his music career as the former half of Monk & Neagle, a duo formed in college. The two were fairly successful, releasing a self-titled album and a second project, The Twenty-First Time. However, after deciding to pursue different paths, the pair ended up splitting, leaving Trent unsure ofwhat to do next. Eventually, he decided to stop pursuing music, and began supporting himself by waiting tables, doing carpentry work, and going to culinary school. It wasn’t even in the picture anymore, but still Trent felt a calling back towards music.
During this transition period, Trent met Shellie, a girl from small-town Texas, and they instantly clicked. "I knew the first night we met that this was something pretty special,” says Trent. “It wasn't long after that night I knew Shellie was it for me." When he realized that music was still very much part of the plan God had laid out, Trent didn’t want to uproot by himself, and asked Shellie to marry him and join him as he toured, playing churches and living rooms across the country. Shellie said yes! Shortly after, the Monks hit the road together, feeling called to do so as a couple.
At first, Trent was playing and singing alone, with Shellie booking shows and managing the business side of an artist’s tour. In fact, the first two projects (Dreamer & Trent Monk Live) were well-received and solidified Trent’s career as a solo artist. However, as Shellie started singing background vocals and playing shaker during live performances, she naturally grew into the musical composition. “I was honestly completely content with hitting the road with him and being the supportive wife, and then it organically grew into me having more of a musical role alongside Trent on stage,” says Shellie. They felt called to transition into a different chapter, and released their first album together as We Are the Monks in 2015.
By 2017, they have released three projects: We Are the Monks, their introductory album; A Very We Arethe Monks Christmas, a small collection of some of their favorite Christmas hymns; and Hymns, covers oftraditional favorites such as “Come Thou Fount” and “Doxology”. While some of their original songs illustrate their faith and walk with the Lord, others relate to their marriage and family (“Here We Go” and “These Arms”) In fact, Trent wrote “These Arms” shortly before his and Shellie’s son Oliver was born and the couple transitioned into a new chapter - parenthood. “The first time we did the song in front of an audience, we could hardly get through it,” Shellie says. “But every night when we sing it, we see parents and grandparents connecting to the message.”
Trent and Shellie, now married seven years, still make music and tour the country, but now do so with their three-year-old Oliver and one-year-old Amelia. “We feel truly blessed to tour as a family. For the most part, traveling with two kids is a joy! Other days, it's super hard and we ask ourselves if we're doing the right thing. Ultimately, we feel we're right where the Lord wants us,” says Shellie. "It's mostly amazing!” Trent agrees. “We feel very blessed to be living this adventure as a family. There are challenges and sometimes very rough days, but the blessings far outweigh those."