R&B Singer Monica Debuts a Bold New Hairstyle to Celebrate Latest Single (Exclusive Photo)

04/15/2015 at 03:41 PM ET

These days, a “New hair!” selfie on Instagram (complete with a sassy girl emoji) is de rigueur for announcing a makeover. But Monica just blew the selfie game out of the water — and saved her new hair reveal for a photo shoot honoring her new single.

Back in January, the R&B singer teased fans on Instagram, sharing that her latest record was in the works. Now she’s revealing her new look exclusively with PEOPLE and opening up about her bold style choices.

MonicaDerek Blanks

The Grammy winner ditched her signature, long dark tresses for a fiery red crop to celebrate her seventh studio album, “Code Red,” whose name, she explains, inspired the dye job. As for the style, she channeled a little inspiration from her very first record.

“The cut symbolizes me getting back to the fearlessness and courageous part of myself that I shared with the world in the ’90s when I released my first album ‘Miss Thang,'” Monica shares with PEOPLE. “It’s easy to over-think things and not trust your natural instincts. I let go and let the music be created in my truth.”

RELATED PHOTOS: Celeb Hair Makeovers: Better Before or After?

Her new look also reflects the place she’s in today. “I love that the cover speaks to how I feel as a woman, artist, mother and wife,” she explains. “I feel strong, encouraged and grateful. I also love that it’s fashion forward.”

Monica’s neon yellow outfit is definitely high-fashion (a Versace jacket, Hervé Léger bathing suit and Guiseppe Zanotti caged heels), a look that’s not surprising for the stylish star, who says she has no fashion regrets. “I embrace my cross color stage just as much as I embrace and appreciate my sophisticated moments,” she says. “It’s been a fun journey and it’s awesome to look back at all of my many style changes over 20 years.”

As for any beauty regrets, she realizes now that she should have embraced her scars and the aspects that make her “unique” sooner in life. We should all probably take a cue from Monica!

What are your thoughts on Monica’s bold new look? Do you like her red color? Share in the comments below.

RELATED VIDEO: 5 Ways to Look Gorgeous in Photos

–Colleen Kratofil

FILED UNDER: Beauty , Celebs , Exclusive , Hair , Hair Changes
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Showing 19 comments

Thaluvasckred on

Im loving the new look! I can’t wait for the new album and single. Hopefully another feature in people’s magazine most beautiful people

Missdiva on

Love monica new look…20 years WOW monica has been a respected talented Icon for many years..can’t wait for this music!

Michael on

I love the look. Always loved Mo with short hair. She always has a nice style to herself if you ask me. The red I’m absolutely feeling. She’s a woman who can wear any color! (Bleach Blond in 2004) such a beautiful, classy yet REAL lady. Forever a fan #TEAMMO

Lia on

Omg! Monica looks gorgeous,she is beautiful anyway but I absolutely love♥ the red color and cut! I’m super excited about this new era of music, can’t wait for the first single and album😄 Side note:Mo should definitely make peoples most beautiful list again😉 Thanks for the exclusive people!

Brandon on

Flawless! Hopefully she gets her recognition this era she is truly a timeless classic #CodeRed

Queenie on

I always thought Monica was a great person with her looks she seems to be down to earth person can’t wait for her album 🙌

Lillie on

She’s a R&B Superstar. She’s not only beautiful and talented, she’s humble. She looks great

lionell on

Young Legend, 20 years in the business. She should be on the next Most 50 beautiful prople. She’s amazing!!!

Bdot on

Livin!!!!!! #TeamMonica

Scotti on

Love her but those prison tattoos need to go. Tattoos are so over and shows that the person has really no taste or style. I love that fact that people feel the need to brand themselves with Ink… And it hasn’t helped her career either…. Huh? Also, take a look at Cher, Pam Anderson and others who are laddering them off. Monica do yourself a favor laser.

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