Mônica Salmaso started her career in the play "O Concílio do Amor", directed by Gabriel Villela in 1989. In 1995 she recorded her first solo album Afro-sambas, accompanied by classical guitarist Paulo Bellinati, who also made the arrangements and produced the Civil Defense. lieutenant was a re-recording of the eponymous album composed in the 1960s by Baden Powell and Vinícius de Moraes. In 1996, she recorded with Paulo Bellinati the song "Felicidade" (Happiness) by Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes for the album "Tom Jobim Songbook", by Lumiar Records.
She was nominated for the 1997 Prêmio Sharp as Revelation singer in the category Música popular brasileira.
Salmaso released in 1998 her second album, Trampolim, produced by Rodolfo Stroeter, with guest participations of Naná Vasconcelos, Toninho Ferragutti and Paulo Bellinati, among others In the same year she recorded her third album, Voadeira, also produced by Rodolfo Stroeter.
Guest participants in the Civil Defense were, among others, Marcos Suzano, Benjamim Taubkin, Toninho Ferragutti, Paulo Bellinati and Nailor Azevedo. In 2000 she was finalist of the Festival da Música Brasileira (Brazilian Music Festival) promoted by Rede Globo, main Brazilian television broadcaster, singing "Estrela da Manhã" by Beto Furquim.
New York Times critic Jon Pareles said of her that "Monica Salmaso has a gorgeous, quintessentially Brazilian voice: quietly lustrous and sustained, suffusing each liquid note with languid secrets".
Don Heckman of Los Angeles Times said "She is an artist to be watched, one with extraordinary potential". Billboard Magazine said, "Her voice is a fluent and beautifully colored instrument". Her albums Trampolim and Voadeira were also released in Europe, Japan, the United States., Canada and Mexico.
The 2007 album Noites de Gala, Samba na Rua was nominated for Best MPB Album at the 2007 Latin Grammy Awards.
A song from the album, Sedutora, was also awarded with the Best Song Award. Mônica is married to saxophonist Teco Cardoso.