- 12:01 PM, Jan 20
Janelle Monae was born December 1, 1985 in Kansas City. She's been called "a different kind of diva" by Vogue Magazine and "a true visionary... one of the most important signings of my career" by P. Diddy. Her passion for music dated way back years ago when she was still very young. The fictional character Dorothy from "Wizards of Oz" was one of her early "musical influences."
She nurtured her skills by moving to New York City for a bigger opportunity to study and work on an album. She enrolled at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, attending a Performing Arts School called Freedom Theatre, which is the oldest African-American theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In 2001, she moved to Georgia, Atlanta and met OutKast's Big Boi there. She founded the Wondaland Arts Society and released her first EP "The Audition" in 2003. Although it didn't receive a commercial success, the record gave her opportunity to showcase her unique vocals.
She was signed to Bad Boy Records in 2006 and released her second extended play "Metropolis: The Chase Suite" the following year. The EP was well received by critics and gained her a 2009 Grammy nomination in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance for her single "Many Moons".
"The ArchAndroid" soon followed in 2010 as her first full-length studio album. It blended the talents of executive producers Nate Wonder, Chuck Lightning, Janelle herself and Diddy, with co-executive production by Big Boi. The result was an epic orchestral trip enlivened with her blockbuster vocals.
The album peaked at No. 17 on Billboard Hot 200, enough to warn of her potential as a new artist to watch that year. Not one but two Grammy nods she received for her debut album. A Best Contemporary R&B Album nomination and a Best Urban/Alternative Performance nod for lead single "Tightrope".
She got a lot more attention than she had already had when Fun.'s single "We Are Young" where she's featured became a smashing hit worldwide. It dominated Billboard Hot 100 multiple weeks in 2011 and, even better, won the coveted Song of Year at the 55th annual Grammy Awards.
In between the concerts she had around the world, Janelle worked on her second album "The Electric Lady", which also served as the fourth and fifth installment of her seven-part Metropolis concept series. It is due September 10, 2013 with Prince, Erykah Badu, Miguel, Solange Knowles and Esperanza Spalding