Janelle Monae Bio

Last year Janelle Monae burst onto the pop music scene with a new twist on a vintage sound, but this pixie-like firecracker has been working on a look and sound that’s all her own since she was young—find out more about her!

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

Twenty-five year old Janelle Monae Robinson is from Kansas City, Kansas, and has told reporters that she always dreamed of being a dancer and a singer. She often feels like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and she says the story has influenced her music. She moved from Kansas to New York City to go to The American Musical and Dramatic Society thinking that she might eventually dance and sing on Broadway , but eventually realised music was her real passion.

Georgia Peach-y Keen

Janelle moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she met rapper Big Boi from the musical duo Outkast. Big Boi quickly realised how talented the young singer was, you can see her performing on some of the songs in the Outkast movie Idlewild. In 2006 Big Boi introduced his friend Sean Combs (P.Diddy) to Janelle’s original sound and incredible vocals, and the rest is history, he signed her to his label Bad Boy right away! P. Diddy loved that she wasn’t just another pretty face, according to a Bad Boy Label Exec “loved her look, loved that you couldn’t see her body, loved the way she was dancing, and just loved the vibe. He felt like she has something that was different - something new and fresh."

An Android Is Born

By 2007, Janelle had released her first album, Metropolis, as part of a three part concept album, the last of which, The ArchAndroid, was released last year. The albums follow a story about an android named Cindi Mayweather, says Janelle "Cindi is an android and ... I believe we’re going to live in a world with androids because of technology and the way it advances. The first album she was running because she had fallen in love with a human and she was being disassembled for that.”

It’s been a slow rise to fame, but Janelle got to tour around with the band No Doubt, and had a song featured on American Idol in 2009, and last year she finally had a breakaway hit with her catchy and unforgettable single “Tightrope.”

Signature Style

Janelle is critically acclaimed for her blast from the past yet futuristic style of music, but she’s also renowned for bringing class back to the music industry with a band that’s always dressed to the nines. Janelle herself even wears a tuxedo for every performance—just like an old-timey lounge singer! She says about her tux: "I bathe in it, I swim in it, and I could be buried in it. A tux is such a standard uniform, it’s so classy and it’s a lifestyle I enjoy. The tux keeps me balanced. I look at myself as a canvas. I don’t want to cloud myself with too many colors or I’ll go crazy. It’s an experiment I’m doing. I think I want to be in the Guinness Book of World Records. "

Here's Janelle performing "Tightrope" live on David Letterman!

Fun Facts!

  • Janelle was featured in the Style 100 of InStyle Magazine
  • Janelle believes in time travel (she’s certainly doing a good job of proving it with her retro look and sound)
  • Some of Janelle’s musical influences are: Michael Jackson, Prince, OutKast, Erykah Badu, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix.
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