Although Monica has a sassy image, the teen singer hasn't always had such self-confidence.

"When my father left, I felt like it was my fault," the 17-year-old told Ebony magazine. "But the older I got and the more I had to deal with, it made me realize that I can overcome any situation."Monica rose to the top of the soul charts when she was just 14 with her first album, "Miss Thang." She has just released her second effort, "The Boy Is Mine," which features the No. 1 single of the same name, her duet with fellow teen singer Brandy.

Monica says despite rumors to the contrary, there has never been any feud between the one-named singers.

"I love the work she's done, and I've never felt like she was taking anything away from me. We're definitely friendly," she said.



Birthdays: For Monday, Aug. 3

Singer Tony Bennett 72

Actor Martin Sheen 58

Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart 57

Actor Jay North 46