JM is easily one of the interesting, eclectic and innovative artists on the scene today and incalculably superior to Lady Ga Ga imho...which is why she may never be a superstar LOL. I saw her last October in New Orleans at Voodoofest, and while I wished her song set was a bit more varied (was a tad heavy on the hip hop, wanted some more of the funk, r&b/soul and even rock she displays on her cd's), she has a great live voice and stage presence to spare (especially impressive given her size), she's also so darned cute.
I don't get why she and Lady Gaga are even mentioned in the same sentence in this thread - they're not the same genre, they're not the same talent, they're not attempting to reach the same audience. Why people do that, i'll never know -
and while i really do like her... she's just a product of Diddy's machine. I wish she wasn't, and there are parts of her that obviously aren't, but i know for a fact that Diddy - once again - put his hands in creating something that will get him a new paycheck... and then she'll be forgotten(again, as she had sort of a career before this).
But when all that is said and done, i really like the EP, and i really hope The Arch Android does well(LOVE Cold War).
Janelle MonŠe Crosses Boundaries With 'ArchAndroid'
Janelle MonŠe has no desire to define her sound.
"It's genre-less, because it has an energy about it that genres can't really live up to, so I don't want to diminish it by trying to restrict it," the eccentric 24-year-old says about "The ArchAndroid," due May 18 on Wondaland Arts Society/Bad Boy Recordings.
In fact, MonŠe's album is so genre-less that to promote it this summer she will open up for R&B singer Erykah Badu in May and June, perform at Lilith Fair and tour in Europe and North America with alternative band Of Montreal.
Although catering to diverse audiences, Atlantic Records senior VP of marketing Eric Wong says reaching these different markets won't be difficult. "Janelle's style melds pop with a mash-up of soul, funk and rock that will translate across all audiences whether touring with Erykah Badu, Of Montreal or performing at Lilith Fair," he says, adding that MonŠe has previously toured with No Doubt, Paramore and Raphael Saadiq. "Janelle proves that innovative music has no boundaries."
"The ArchAndroid" veers all over the place-ranging from "Wondaland," which describes the whimsical, artificial reality of the same title that MonŠe has created for herself and her creative team; "Overtures," influenced by Walt Disney with "symphonies, strings and horns"; "Dance or Die," a Fela Kuti-inspired track featuring Saul Williams; and "Cold War," which MonŠe says "reveals what the ArchAndroid looks like."
The first single is the bouncy, bass-driven "Tightrope," which features the album's co-executive producer, OutKast's Big Boi. The song's video was shot in an unlikely place: a sanitarium.
"It was filmed at Palace of the Dogs, which is a place where a lot of great artists have studied, from Jimi Hendrix to Prince and Miles Davis," MonŠe says. "Dancing is forbidden there because it leads to magical powers that are illegal. So, the 'Tightrope' was a very rebellious dance that I came up with."
To roll out the clip, which was directed by Wendy Morgan (Gnarls Barkley), Wong says the label "offered fans various trailers that served as teasers, with content that people have never seen before," including "scenes from the making of the record, footage of the tour and a tutorial of the 'Tightrope' dance." The trailers premiered on JanelleMonae.com as well as blogs, various online sites and social networks.
Although she offers little detail, MonŠe says her muse for this album-which is a combination of Suites II and III of her 2008 EP "Metropolis"-is Cindi Mayweather, her alter-ego. She also suggests the album is inspired by colors and dreams.
"If I say I want a song to feel bold red, or if I had a song come to me in my dreams, it usually means there was a lot of color in it," she says. "What I tried to do is make it as vivid as I was able to when I recorded it and capture as much as I could."
MonŠe, who recently wrapped an 11-city trek and is slated to make appearances on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "The Mo'Nique Show," "Last Call With Carson Daly" and "Lopez Tonight," says she has embraced her uniqueness and hopes others will continue to do so as well.
"This album has a lot of psychedelic moments and sometimes feels like James Bond or Frida Kahlo, or some of the other surrealists I've enjoyed," she says. "It also deals with self-realization and the things I've realized about myself within this project have made me unafraid to make mistakes. I coined the term 'emotional picture of the mind.' I'm just blessed for the supporters who have been waiting to finally hear the songs I've had in my dreams."
Giant Step presents SVEDKA Vodka Session #1: Janelle MonŠe with DJ Moni
Tuesday, May 18 2010
TBA (To Be Announced), New York NY
On Tuesday, May 18th, 2010, celebrating the release of her hotly anticipated album, The ArchAndroid, Giant Step proudly presents the first installment of the second SVEDKA Vodka Sessions series, with Janelle MonŠe.
This event is free, but strictly RSVP. Please RSVP and the venue will be emailed to you when announced.
A ground-breaking, genre-blurring singer, songwriter, producer, and performer, Janelle MonŠe’s inventive style melds a refined pop sensibility with an extraordinary postmodern mash-up of soul, funk, and rock ‘n’ roll.
The ArchAndroid, which will be released May 18th, follows MonŠe’s two acclaimed EPs, 2008’s METROPOLIS: THE CHASE SUITE (SPECIAL EDITION) and METROPOLIS: SUITE I OF IV, both of which received extensive critical praise upon their initial releases. The ArchAndroid was produced by Janelle MonŠe, Chuck Lightning, Nate Wonder & Sean “Diddy” Combs with co-executive producer Antwan “Big Boi” Patton. It features appearances by an array of talented artists including "Big Boi" of OutKast, who is featured on the infectious lead single "Tightrope," as well as renowned poet Saul Williams, the psychedelic dance-punk troupe Of Montreal, the punk prophets Deep Cotton, and the Wondaland ArchOrchestra.
In addition to releasing her album, Ms. MonŠe, who has developed a reputation for her incredibly dynamic live shows, will be joining none other than Erykah Badu on her "Out My Mind, Just In Time" tour in a number of cities across North America and partake in this summer’s much anticipated 2010 Lilith Tour.
She plays indie-rock festivals and the R&B circuit. She sports tuxedos and a sky-high pompadour. And her musical influences seem to include a blend of James Brown, David Bowie, Nona Hendryx and Kraftwerk.
Her musical journey began in Kansas City, where she was pained by her father's drug addiction but also pushed by a mother who focused on education.
"A lot of the people that I was hanging out with didn't really have a lot of goals," she says. "And I felt myself ending up walking dead. ... I just think my own ambition would not allow me to sit on the gifts that my creator had given me. And so that's when I realized that I could actually go away. I could go to New York and lead by example, and show that just because you come from a small little town in Kansas ó which is [in] the poorest county [in the state], Wyandotte County, that's where I grew up in ó that you definitely have a choice."
Now based in Atlanta, Monae has finished a new release: an epic, full-length concept album called The ArchAndroid. It's an extension of the imaginary intergalactic world she created in her breakout EP, Metropolis: The Chase Suite.
A Fantastic Metropolis
In an interview with All Things Considered host Michele Norris, Monae talked about the role of fantasy and magic in her music.
"I believe that imagination inspires nations," she says. "It's something that I live by. And I've always been a lover of Walter E. Disney, Salvador Dali, surrealism, Octavia Butler ... you know, science fiction in general."
Monae has gathered a crew of fellow creative thinkers ó "thrivals," she calls them ó in Atlanta's Wondaland Arts Society, an artist collective and her record label. The organization's ranks include visual artists, graphic novelists and screenwriters.
"I think it's very important that there's another blueprint to how an artist can actually break into the music industry and shift the energy ó in a very positive way, of course," Monae says. "So, yeah, we wear black and white. We wear tuxedos. And music is our weapon."
Dreaming In String Arrangements
The ArchAndroid is filled with many varying production techniques. From song to song, Monae's voice might be masked or modulated in different ways.
"This project dealt with a lot of self-realization," she says. "And in the process of me telling the story, and helping come up with the music, I just learned a lot about myself. ... So if my voice has a different texture to it, or if the tone switches up, I think the characters in Metropolis were moving through me. And I had to expose them."
Monae says that many of the songs on the record came to her in dreams. Luckily, she had her iPhone by her bedside, so she could wake up and dictate her ideas.
"I was just so anxious," she says. "As soon as I would get up, it's like, 'Oh, man. This song was absolutely gorgeous. I cannot panic, or I'm going to forget the string arrangements. I'm going to forget how my voice is supposed to sound.' So I would hop up ó if it were 6 in the morning, 9 in the morning, you name it. I had to make myself available. And that's what I think is very important as an artist: You have to listen [when] your maker is saying, 'OK, you need to say this.' "
With so many textures to The ArchAndroid, it takes on something of a cinematic vision. It's being marketed the way a summer blockbuster might be, complete with a trailer, movielike posters in cities nationwide.
"We like to think of The ArchAndroid as an 'emotion picture' for the mind," Monae says. "I do believe that it will transform you. You won't know it; you'll have to listen to it maybe a couple times. But I think it prepares your palate for more diverse music."
Of course, while the music is informed by an overarching artistic concept, Monae says that she and her team made sure to make fun songs for people to dance to.
"I also want to make it clear as well," she says, "one of the first responsibilities was to make sure that we created some jammin' music."
Does anyone except some black folk even watch BET? or this show for that matter?
Thank goodness for youtube. Saved me hours of my life.
I watch BET (mainly The Mo'Nique Show) and its sister station Centric (really likedModel City). I saw an hour of the BET Awards. I'm taping the repeat so I can see the Prince tribute and El Debarge doing his group's hits.
Love how they "conveniently" resurface to prompt you.
I saw her in concert in June. She opened for Erykah Badu. She's pretty and she can sing. I like that she maintained high energy on stage, even though she was alloted only a small portion of the stage for her performance.
Janelle Monae receives Two Soul Train Award Nominations:
BEST NEW ARTIST
BEST R&B/SOUL ARTIST FEMALE
Mary J. Blige
SONG OF THE YEAR
“Everything To Me” - Monica
“There Goes My Baby” - Usher
“Un-Thinkable(I’m Ready)” – Alicia Keys
“Soldier Of Love” - Sade
“Nothing On You” – B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars
BEST HIP HOP SONG OF THE YEAR
“Love The Way You Lie” - Eminem feat. Rihanna
“B.M.F. (Blowin Money Fast)” - Rick Ross feat. Styles P
“Your Love” – Nicki Minaj
“Find Your Love” - Drake
“Shutterbugg” – Big Boi feat. Cutty
“I Got Your Back” – T.I. feat. Keri Hilson
BEST MALE R&B/SOUL MALE
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Alicia Keys – "The Element Of Freedom"
Usher – "Raymond vs. Raymond"
Sade – "Soldier of Love"
Drake – "Thank Me Later"
Erykah Badu – "New Amerykah Part Two-Return of the Ankh"
BEST REGGAE ARTIST AWARD
Jesse Boykins III
Corrine Bailey Rae Janelle MonŠe
BEST GOSPEL PERFORMANCE MALE, FEMALE OR GROUP
Youthful Praise feat. J.J. Harrison
Lisa Page Brooks
Hezekiah Walker & LFC
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Fantasia – “Bittersweet” (Charles Harmon, Claude Kelly, Michael Mentore)
El Debarge - “Second Chance” (songwriters: El Debarge & Mischke)
Drake –“Find Your Love” (songwriters: Bhasker, J; Graham, A; Reynolds, P; West, Kanye)
R.Kelly – “When A Woman Loves” (songwriter R. Kelly)
Alicia Keys – “Un-Thinkable(I’m Ready)” (songwriters: Keys, Aubrey Graham, Brothers, Noah "40" Shebib)
On April 22 (at exactly 7:54pm EST, apparently), she’ll release ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’, a single that features Erykah Badu. The queen of neo-soul has said that MonŠe is keeping her on her “A-game:” “Secretly, I feel that I have to go out and crush her. We’re best friends, though: she’ll only find that out by reading this.”
Janelle Monae: 'Electric Lady' Will Be 'More Revealing' Than Last Album
Janelle Monae performed Saturday night on Coachella's Gobi Stage -- before the show she hinted that she had some surprises planned. That apparently involved a cover of Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" and jumping onto the back of bandmember, heading out into the crowd, and surfing across a sea of fans. Prior to her set, we caught up with Monae backstage as she was prepping for her big Coachella debut. She revealed details of her upcoming album, which fans have been anticipating since her 2010 release, "The ArchAndorid."
"The Electric Lady" will see a fall release, and Monae added that she will soon be releasing a new track on April 22nd. "It's titled Q.U.E.E.N. and it features Erykah Badu."
Monae even gave a precise time that the song will be drop on the 22nd: "19:45 military time."
"I'm really excited about it," she chirped. "This song is inspired by private conversations she [Badu] and I have had and continue to have. She's a great friend to me; she's like a big sister and it's a song about private dialogue that she and I have had."
Monae explained that she looks to Badu as a musical idol, adding that they are very supportive of each other's crafts, speaking on the phone often and constantly bouncing ideas off of each other.
"We try to celebrate each other as much as possible and call one another when we've done something that the other one really admires and loves. She was one of the first female artists to reach out to me and take me on tour with her as well so I'm forever grateful for her in my life," she said.
Monae spoke briefly about the style of "The Electric Lady," referring to it as being a bit more mature than her previous material. "The album in general is more revealing. It's more personal. I'm taking a lot more risks on this album," she revealed.
In addition to Badu, Monae alluded to a few more possible collaborations, which she is keeping to herself at the moment.
"I love the element of surprise. I don't want to talk too much about what I'm going to do because I might change my mind and it will be like 'Janelle's a liar' and then I'm blacklisted from all publications for lying," she joked.
Following the release of the record, Monae plans to hit the road with a slew of tour dates.
"I am right in the middle of making all of those decisions. It will be a unique tour. I'm exciting about how we are going to release everything and the experience – the overall experience of 'The Electric Lady' campaign. I can't wait!"
Janelle MonŠe - Q.U.E.E.N. feat. Erykah Badu [Official Video]
For the past couple of weeks, I've been watching this video repeatedly. I'm, like, obsessed with both the song and the video. They're hella cool. Incidentally, generally, her videos are really well-done, which is unexpected because record companies are fronting less money for videos these days.
I really, really like the album, don't get me wrong on that front. But, for me, it's missing the spark and the unique vibe that The ArchAndroid gave me; the way she played around with electro-punk, funk, r&b, rock, even throwing in some stargaze, samba and strings - it was an incredible mesh of sounds.
On The Electric Lady, it's almost too... general, for lack of a better term. Instead of standing out towards the end of the record(aside from the skits), it starts to all blend together, and, most disheartening to me, there's no real show-stopper.
I'll give it a couple more listens, but right now, I love Suite's 2 and 3 WAY more than I do 4 and 5.