I was visiting a friend earlier today who played the Idlewild soundtrack for me and to my surprise several of the songs had a Sista on them who totally blew me away.I discovered the singer was Janelle Monae and as soon as I got home I Googled her.Listen to her song with Big Boi titled “Call the Law” ((You can hear the track on Janelle’s My Space page.)) and you will see why I instantly fell in love with her.You can also check out the article below I found posted about her on Vibe’s website.
It might be an understatement to say that Janelle Monáe Robinson is quirky. She’s been known to rock her customary beret and Uggs in the middle of a summer blaze. And you might be overreacting if you say she’s unpatriotic (“I really want to move to France. There’s something about their cul- ture that seems so free”). But one thing is certain: This 19-year-old singer/songwriter marches to the beat of her own drum. “I’m an advocate of leading by example and taking risks,” says Monáe from a sofa inside the Purple Ribbon Entertainment studios. “I have a hard time boxing myself in.”
Monáe’s maverick mind-set is no doubt a direct manifestation of not wanting to settle for a second-rate lifestyle while growing up in the rural Midwest. Even before she made her connection with Big Boi in 2005, Monáe was on a collision course with fame. At 16, she studied at New York’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy while also dabbling in a few Off-Broadway plays. Restless and starving for a larger platform to showcase her talents, Monáe ditched the Big Apple for Atlanta in 2004. “I felt constricted doing Off- Broadway,” she says. “I didn’t see a lot of roles for myself, so I figured I’d come out with an album and create my own character.”
Monáe hit the ATL college circuit and developed a cultlike following before becom- ing the first lady of Purple Ribbon. And if her two vivacious ’80s-inspired dance grooves, “Time Will Reveal” and “Lettin’ Go” (featured on Big Boi Presents…Got Purp? Vol. II), are any indication, Monáe’s upcoming album, Metrop- olis, is poised to bring an eclectic, urbane feel to today’s R&B.What else would you expect from an artist who counts, among others, OutKast, Fiona Apple, and Lauryn Hill as her inspirations? “All those people inspired me to be unique,” she says. “At the end of the day, you don’t have to sell sex.”
Maybe you won’t see Monáe running around with her T&A on display, but you can’t help but be attracted to her free spirit. “I’ll never sell out like that,” she says. “As an artist, you have to have core values that you stick to. I’m not trying to conform to fit in.” Do yourself a favor and follow her lead.
Visit Janelle’s My Space Page to learn more about her.