Up-and-Coming: Janelle Monáe

August 21, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

If you haven’t heard, there is a soul revival happening around the world. Sweden has Kissey Asplund and in the UK there’s Amy Winehouse, Corinne Bailey Rae and Leona Lewis. Here in the US we still have Erykah Badu hanging on, seemingly the lone woman standing from the neo-soul era.

This is great news for Janelle Monáe whose soulfully futuristic style is earning her comparisons to Prince, James Brown and, her mentors, Outkast. She is arguably the most unique and creative of today’s emerging R&B artists and even drew The Purple One himself, to hold court in his limo after Monáe’s show at the Viper Room last night.

Monáe’s debut EP -  Metropolis Suite 1: The Chase - is the first in a series of four sets of futuristic sexy siren songs, accounting the life and times of an love struck android. “Violet Stars Happy Hunting!” is a hopping snare heavy tune that sets the stage for a love affair set in cyber space, while Monáe waxes operatic range on the chilling, electronic fused “Cybertroic Purgatory.” “Sincerely Jane” is dramatic and resolute, rich amalgam of orchestral composition, hip hop flavor and retro swing; while Monáe’s rendition of the classic “Smile” is poignantly vulnerable and hauntingly despondent.

Janelle Monáe is currently on tour and her debut EP, Metropolis Suite 1: The Chase, is in stores now. Visit Monáe’s MySpace page for a show dates near you. In the meantime, check out this rather enthralling performance from Monáe in Philadelphia.

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2 Responses to “Up-and-Coming: Janelle Monáe”
  1. Gina says:

    Janelle Monae is so creative and talented. I haven’t been this excited about an artist in a long time. I saw her perform at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC. Electrifying. She’s the truth!!

  2. I agree. I first saw her last summer at the AfroPunk festival and she put on a great show. Plus, she can actually sing. Her a Capella version of Smile was incredible.

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