Janelle Monáe
Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe

About Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe is an auteur who’s constantly bringing innovative methods of self-expression. Born in 1985 in Kansas City, Kansas, Monáe began singing in church, where her family members were musicians and performers. Inspired by artists like Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, and Prince, the Atlanta-based Monáe developed a highly personalized style early on, a dynamic combination of funk, doo-wop, neo-soul, pop, and hip-hop. Monáe would drop her debut EP, Metropolis: The Chase Suite in 2007, a flexible, wide-reaching collection of evocative songs that introduced both her cyborg-driven narratives, which she would experiment with for years to come, and her staple androgynous look. In 2010, Monáe released her full-length follow-up, The ArchAndroid, delving deeper into her digital world with songs like the breakthrough, energetic groove “Tightrope,” featuring Outkast cofounder Big Boi. After establishing her star power, Monáe was featured as a guest vocalist on the rousing, chart-topping 2011 single “We Are Young” by indie-pop group Fun. In 2016, Monáe played a supporting role in the movie Hidden Figures, about the unheralded Black women of NASA, which raised her mainstream profile. The film also gave her an expanded platform to release her hyper-personal 2018 opus, Dirty Computer, and come out as queer; she highlighted this revelation through the Prince-influenced “Make Me Feel,” about an insuppressible romantic desire. Monáe wrote “Turntables” for the 2020 documentary All In: The Fight for Democracy, encouraging the cultural tilt toward political engagement. “This song doesn’t mean that I’m the leader,” Monáe told Apple Music. “I am simply watching, examining, and wanting to highlight all of the people who are on the front lines fighting. This song is to keep us motivated.”

  • HOMETOWN
    Kansas City, KS
  • BORN
    December 1, 1985

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