My New Girl Crush Janelle Monáe
Click Play. Just do it. Really. I promise you won’t regret being introduced to the latest object of my undying fangirl devotion.
Janelle Monáe has made guest appearances in the work of many other artists, has opened for No Doubt, toured with Of Montreal, and is now gaining the following she so rightfully deserves.
Originally wanting to work on Broadway, Monáe later decided to pursue music instead, and it was her first solo project, Metropolis, that brought her to the attention of big names like Sean Combs and Outkast’s Big Boi. A concept album, Metropolis is inspired by Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi silent film of the same name. It tells the story of Cindi Mayweather, an android that falls in love with a human, a crime that merits disassembly. In this installment, the first of four, she is then hunted down and the songs tell of her struggle with inequality and fear.
Now signed to Combs’s Bad Boy label, she has released her first full-length album, The ArchAndroid, combining the second and third portions of the Cindi Mayweather story, in which the android realizes that she is the ArchAndroid, a messiah sent to free the citizens of Metropolis and restore love. The album has been very well received, and her second single, “Cold War,” has remained very high on my iTunes’s Recently Played list for a while now.
Drawing inspiration from everything from 1960s jazz and blues to James Bond themes, hip hop and soul, and Bowiesque rock, Monáe creates music that is rich and powerful. Indie guitar songstresses aside, I haven’t been this excited about a female performer since Erykah Badu.
She has been nominated for MTV Music Video awards, as well as a for Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. She was also awarded the prestigious Vanguard award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers and has been working on the soundtrack of the upcoming film For Colored Girls.
I guess what I love most about Monáe is that she seems completely control of her creative decisions and her career as a whole. I mean, who else uses Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” or Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” in hip hop? She’s new and exciting, and absolutely has to come to Canada now.