Janelle Monae Robinson is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, and producer. She is signed to Atlantic Records, as well as her own imprint, the Wondaland Arts Society. Take a look below for 30 more fun and fascinating facts about Janelle Monae.
1. Monae was born in Kansas City, Kansas, and was raised in its working class community Quindaro.
2. She is the daughter of a janitor mother, Janet and a truck driver father, Michael Robinson Summers.
3. She dreamed of being a singer and a performer from a very young age and has cited the fictional character of Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz as a musical influence.
4. She moved to New York City to study drama at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, attending a performing arts camp called Freedom Theatre, the oldest African-American theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
5. After moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 2001, she met OutKast’s Big Boi, who served as a mentor and sponsor for the early part of her career, before founding the Wondaland Arts Society with some like-minded young artists.
6. She released her first EP The Audition in 2003. Reportedly limited to only 400 physical copies, it showcased her vocal abilities and alluded to the film Metropolis, a concept that would also figure in her future releases.
7. Monáe appeared on OutKast’s album Idlewild, where she is featured on the songs “Call the Law” and “In Your Dreams”.
8. Monáe signed to Bad Boy in 2006.
9. In 2007, Monáe released her first solo work, Metropolis. It was originally conceived as a concept album in four parts, or “suites”, which were to be released through her website and mp3 download sites.
10. The EP was critically acclaimed, garnering Monáe a 51st Annual Grammy Awards Grammy nomination for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for her single “Many Moons”, festival appearances and opening slots for indie pop band of Montreal.
11. Monáe also toured as the opening act for band No Doubt on their summer 2009 tour.
12. Her single “Open Happiness” was featured in the 2009 season finale of American Idol.
13. Monáe received the Vanguard Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers at the Rhythm & Soul Music Awards in 2010.
14. Monáe performed at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in 2011 alongside artists Bruno Mars and B.o.B; She performed the synth section of B.o.B’s song “Nothin’ on You” and she then performed her track “Cold War” with B.o.B on the guitar and Mars on the drums.
15. In September 2011, Monáe was featured as a guest vocalist on fun.’s single, “We Are Young”, which achieved major commercial success, topping the charts of over ten countries and selling more than ten million units worldwide.
16. Monáe was also featured on “Do My Thing” for Estelle’s studio album, All of Me.
17. In June 2012, Monáe performed two new songs, “Electric Lady” and “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes” – from her then-upcoming sophomore studio album, The Electric Lady – at the Toronto Jazz Festival.
18. In August 2012, Monáe was chosen as CoverGirl’s newest spokeswoman.
19. In September 2012, Monáe performed at CarolinaFest in support of President Obama, just before the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
20. Her voice is heard as veterinarian Dr. Monáe in the movie Rio 2, released in the U.S. on April 11, 2014, and her song “What Is Love” was featured on the soundtrack.
21. In February 2015, Monáe along with Epic Records and its CEO and chairman L.A. Reid announced that Monáe’s independent label Wondaland Arts Society has signed a “landmark joint venture partnership” to revamp the label, now known as Wondaland Records, and to promote the artists on the label.
22. In late March 2015, Monáe released the single “Yoga” from the album The Eephus.
23. By March 15, 2016, First Lady Michelle Obama proclaimed that she had assembled a collaborative track featuring vocals from Monáe, Kelly Clarkson, Zendaya and Missy Elliott, alongside production credit from pop songwriter Diane Warren and Elliott, titled “This Is for My Girls”.
24. On April 27, 2018, Monáe released a sci-fi film companion “emotion picture” to her new record Dirty Computer.
25. On November 15, 2018, it was announced that Monáe would receive the Trailblazer of the Year award at the 2018 Billboard Women in Music event, which was held on December 6, 2018.
26. Monáe’s signature style is her tuxedo wardrobe. She said “I bathe in it, I swim in it, and I could be buried in it. A tux is such a standard uniform, it’s so classy and it’s a lifestyle I enjoy. The tux keeps me balanced. I look at myself as a canvas. I don’t want to cloud myself with too many colors or I’ll go crazy. It’s an experiment I’m doing. I think I want to be in the Guinness Book of World Records.”
27. Monáe has been known to distribute her Ten Droid Commandments which encourages her fans to be individuals.
28. During a 2011 interview with London Evening Standard, Monáe said that she “only dates androids”, a reference to her musical alter-ego found in many of her songs.
29. In 2013, Monáe stated that she wants both men and women to “still be attracted to [her]” and expressed support for the LGBTQ community.
30. She has since stated that she identifies with both bisexuality and pansexuality.