Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Porta's Listen...Janelle Monae

"Get Yourself

...this girl is bound to spread her message like WILDFIRE!

Photos by William Kirk ; Above: Janelle Monáe

You may remember Janelle Monáe from CL’s first exclusive interview. Or you might be looking at her picture saying, “That’s the girl from the ‘Morris Brown’ video!” But 2007 is the year to look out for Janelle. She is releasing 4 albums in 2007. Expect the unexpected. With mentions in international publications, a feature as one of VIBE’s next new artists, guest appearances on the acclaimed Idlewild album, and a creative team of some of the most groundbreaking musicians of our generation, this girl is bound to spread her message like wildfire. Get yourself ready, and check Janelle Monáe out via MySpace or at She’d love to know that CL let you know about her…

Janelle Monáe is destined to be absolutely huge, and I was introduced to her by Geoff over at Pass The Feeling On and what is abundantly clear is that this is pop music made perfectly with great arrangements that are as interesting as they are catchy, none of that watered down Britney (bar Toxic, which is a tune!) shit but rather a tune with a massive Northern groove and a singer who sings the cut to perfection. She has been nominated for a Grammy this year and anybody who lists her influences as Judy Garland, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Jackie Wilson, Grace Brown, Karen O, Lauryn Hill, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, Outkast, Nona Hendryx, Bach, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Fiona Apple, Björk, Anita Baker, and The Hives is ok in my book. Check her performing in the video below for some serious delivery and dance moves - I can't wait to see what she has in store for us in the near future. (Oh, and judging by her band and the clips somebody has thrown some serious cash behind her!)

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Janelle Monae
Metropolis - Suite I: The Chase (EP) & The Audition


Janelle Monáe’s career seemed to be taking off when she was featured on Purple Ribbon All-Star’s Compilation “Got Purp? Volume 2″ in 2005. The singer whose music fuses rock ‘n roll with R&B and funk, later went on to record tracks for Outkast’s film Idlewild while developing an avid cult following (which includes ME). If you live in Atlanta or just been to Atlanta you know this girl. Visit her myspace.


1. March Of The Wolfmasters
2. Violet Stars Happy Hunting!
3. Many Moons
4. Cybertronic Purgatory
5. Sincerely, Jane

Metropolis Suite I of IV

1. March Of The Wolfmasters
2. Violet Stars Happy Hunting V
3. Many Moons
4. Cybertronic Purgatory
5. Sincerely, Jane
6. Sincerely, Jane (instrumental)
7. Violet Stars Happy Hunting (Cyber Hop Mix)

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*Sorry I could not find the cover
1. Intro
2. Lettin’ Go
3. Party Girl
4. Metropolis
5. Cindi
6. It’s Not Fair
7. Time Will Reveal
8. My Favorite Nothing
9. Warm Up (Cloud 9 Interlude)
10. Cloud 9
11. The Chase
12. Star
13. I Won’t Let Go
14. You
15. You Are My Everything

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Janelle Monae

The name Janelle Monae might ring a bell - she has guested on several OutKast songs and recently signed to Diddy’s Bad Boy label. After seeing her energetic performance at Bonnaroo a few days ago I can say that she’ll be one to keep a close eye on. Even if Sincerely, Jane doesn’t do much for you, check out some live clips on YouTube to get the whole picture.

Cindi Mayweather is a cyborg who is wanted for falling in love with a human, and she's on the funkiest run in recent memory.

She is also the alter ego of Janelle Monae, a rhythm and blues singer whose 2007 album "Metropolis Suite I of IV: The Chase" boasts clever orchestrations, dynamic vocal stylings, and a political message that transcends the world of a made-up "Metropolis" by finding parallels in ours.

"You're free but in your mind, your freedom's in a bind," Monae sings on "Many Moons," lyrics she delivers in live shows wearing a trademark white suit jacket and saddle shoes, a costume that conjures up a distinct sense of her character. Her uniform recalls the traditions of black performers and the ways in which white America has perceived them. "It's unfortunate that a lot of people think African-American female artists are monolithically R&B this-or-that," Monae recently told Interview magazine. Her album challenges not only any pre-existing expectations in its sound and its unusual, sci-fi concept.

Her highly theatrical approach isn't a surprise coming from Monae, who studied musical theater at the American Musical Academy before pursuing pop music. But shifting between the fictional storytelling within her songs, and the autobiographical descriptions of the crime-afflicted Kansas City neighborhood where she grew up, add to the diffusion between Mayweather and Monae, Metropolis and metropolitan America. Both worlds are characterized by limited opportunity, discrimination and dissatisfaction. In this way, Mayweather's rebellious human-cyborg love affair becomes an archetypical act of political resistance. And it resonates alongside Monae's call for creative, compassionate action for improving our own country. "Can we talk about education for our children?" she sings on "Mr. President," "A book is worth more than a bomb any day." In "Sincerely, Jane," which features a chorus of French horns that crescendos in peels of alarm, the narrative moves from the Mayweather on-the-run storyline to Monae's personal reflections on the urban poverty she left behind: "Left the city, my mama she said don't come back no more."

Monae has been frank about her father's drug addiction and about the relief she found in music and her imagination. After winning a scholarship to attend the American Musical Academy in New York, she moved to Atlanta, where she co-founded the Wondaland Arts Society, an artists' collaborative and record label founded by local acts such as Antwan "Big Boi" Patton of the hip-hop duo Outkast. This year she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.

After releasing her first album, "The Audition," Monae released the first of four planned Metropolis concept albums two years ago (a special edition, "The Chase Suite," followed in 2008). She intends for the serial (or "suite") format to give listeners a commercial incentive to purchase whole albums rather than single songs, but also to work on a long-term series where she can augment, embellish and experiment with her original songs, concepts and performances.

Through a flurry of media appearances, including an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh AirIII are slated for release this year. "It's a big universe," the self-described "girl from another planet" told Interview, "To stay in one tiny place is doing a disservice to yourself."

As recently posted on her Twitter page, "Lettin' Go" singer Janelle Monae recorded a new song with her production team The Wonderland Arts Society. The song is to be included on her first full length album. Monae is also looking for a drummer. More info on auditions here:


" She is
of Our Generation!!!"

the portastylistic


Jamie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jamie said...

Great article!!! I've never seen some of the picz of Janelle... she is utterly amazing from singing to story-telling... I'm so excited for the release of her new "emotion picture" or album ArchAndroid... and her new singles Tightrope and Coldwar have been on repeat in my brain since they were released... Visit her site for updates and to get the tracks said...

I loooooooooooove, love, love JM! She is gorgeous! Above all else, she is an amazing entertainer and incredible vocalist! I'm loving her two new tracks and can't wait for the album to drop!