“Don’t dim your light–for anybody.” – Erykah Badu to Janelle Monáe |
Janelle Monáe is an interview delight. Calm, cool, and congenial, she always seems to have the best response to any question. Her style is chic. She is electric on stage. She is an inventive multi-talented artist who thinks outside the box. Not only is she amazing at her trade, she brings a maturity that belies her age and most definitely puts her head and shoulders above most of her contemporaries. Janelle Monáe is a role model.
Originally from Kansas City, Monáe sat her parents down when she was about 9 years old, to let them know that she wanted to be an artist. With her parents support she took ownership of her career which received a boost when, after the release of her 2007 album Metropolis, she caught the attention of Sean “Puffy” Combs who signed her to his Bad Boy Records label.
Described as a psychedelic soul and R&B singer-songwriter, Monáe’s career took a leap forward with her 2010 concept album ArchAndroid which she describes as an “Emotion Picture.”
The musical series involves the fictional tale of Cindi Mayweather, a messianic android sent back in time to free the citizens of Metropolis from The Great Divide, a secret society that uses time-travel to suppress freedom and love (Wiki).
In her interview below with Jian Ghomeshi, she talks about her life growing up. They then shift to discussing the album. What I like most about Monáe isn’t actually her music or her sense of style, it’s how disarming she is when she speaks with someone.
Wanting to hear more of her views on absolutely anything, I came across another program called Game Changers. It takes on a group format with mediator, Danyel Smith, and features Monáe along with fellow artists B.o.B., Estelle, and Lupe Fiasco. They discuss their unique perspectives and how those came to form as a result of their experiences. Monáe’s words standout as she makes statements about her duty as an artist and her responsibility to people who share a similar background.
This article was meant to be less about Monáe’s music specifically and more about getting to know Monáe the person. However, included below is the ArchAndroid album:
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