Janelle Monae is gettin' fans hot and bothered with her syncretic blend of funk, rock, pop, and soul.
Janelle Monae hails from Kansas City and always desired to become a singer, dancer, and above all - a great performer. She soon moved to New York to study theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, but quickly realized that her passion lay with music. She would find her place in Atlanta, and after a chance meeting with Big Boi of Outkast, Monae would gain exposure to the industry. She was featured in the Outkast conceived film, "Idlewild", and was soon introduced to Sean Combs of Bad Boy Records. Puffy knows talent when he sees it and he was immediately impressed with Monae, her vocal ability, and her essence. Unlike other artists on his label, Combs wanted to preserve her style and promote her organically; Combs stated that "she was already moving, she already had her records - she had a self-contained movement" by the time he signed her in 2006.
With a record deal under her belt, Monae set out to produce her music, her way. She envisioned a concept album centered around the story of an android named Cindi, who is a messiah of sorts, sent to free her world. What Monae created in the studio ended up being the first of a series of EP's entitled "Metropolis: Suite 1 (The Chase)". The EP was released and garnered the funkstress a Grammy nod for "Best Urban/Alternative Performance" for the single "Many Moons". While she didn't win, it was great exposure for her music. During 2009, Janelle Monae concert dates where scheduled at several festivals and individual shows. Janelle Monae tour dates were also booked in the opening slot for No Doubt on their summer tour. All the while, she was recording her debut LP, "The ArchAndroid".
The debut represents suite II and III of her android concept, and was released to critical appreciation in May, 2010. The album featured the lead-off single, "Tightrope", which featured a cameo by Big Boi, a dance heavy video, and most importantly Monae's soulful and funky vocals. For the album, Monae received ASCAP's Vanguard Award and she was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2011. Monae performed her single at the Grammy ceremony alongside B.o.B. and Bruno Mars, where she received a standing ovation. Janelle Monae tour dates were booked on Erykah Badu's "Out My Mind, Just in Time Tour" in 2010 and she booked performances on David Letterman, Ellen DeGeneres, and Carson Daly.
After extensive touring, Janelle released her third album, The Electric Lady. The most common word used by critics to describe the album was "epic", and showcased a futuristic dance sound that astounded most critics. The popularity of the album with fans prompted even more tour dates, as well as anticipation to see what Monae will innovate next.
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