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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Janelle Monáe: One-hit Wonder or Superstar?

It was some years back, the last time I heard a song that I just couldn't get out of my head. It was called "Thinkin' About You." Who today remembers the band? You? Me neither. Lately it's been impossible to banish afro-punker Janelle Monáe's catchy "Violet Stars Happy Hunting" from my mind.

Semingly all about retro-style and sci-fi, Annika Harris blogs that Monáe's deal with Bad Boy Records gives her total creative control, which means mentor Sean “Diddy” Combs must really believe in her as a star of the future. Part musical theater, part funk, part Dirty South, her sound is a kind of psychedelic R&B. Think Judy Garland meets Lauryn Hill. And after all, didn't Art Nouveau Magazine name Janelle Monae as one of five artists we'd know by 2008?

Pre-retro Janelle! (picture at right)

But is there substance and definition that can rise above the singularity of "Violet"??? That's what remains to be seen. Some commenters on YouTube appalud the arrival of a real talent vs. the bewigged Beyonce and her ilk. Janelle is no stranger to show biz: At 16, she studied at New York’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy while also dabbling in a few Off-Broadway plays.
Janelle Monae featured in GQ
Janelle Monae interview with KUBE 93
Janelle Monae Interview with Kiwibox.com
Janelle Monae in Paste Magazine
Janelle Monae Supports Black Gay Pride
Janelle Monáe Store

boatload of links:

Janelle Monáe's Official Website
Janelle Monáe at MySpace
Janelle Monáe at Last.fm
Janelle Monáe at Allmusic
Janelle Monáe at MSN music
Janelle Monáe discography at MusicBrainz
Janelle Monáe fan site
Janelle Monáe Interview
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