Janelle Monae performs during BET’s Prince Tribute!

Check out this review from Entertainment Tonight!

By Carolyn Richardson

In seven days, 25-year-old Janelle Monae, a rock & soul princess, has risen from seeming obscurity to taking on The King of Pop’s rumored favorite song “Smile” and Prince‘s “Let’s Go Crazy” — two colossal songs that helped define their respective eras. With her electrifying performances of each, her talent ensures she won’t be letting the elevator bring her down anytime soon.

The first song, Charlie Chaplin‘s “Smile,” was featured on Billboard’s Mashup Mondays last week with an intimate live performance of the song, with Monae’s sultry voice only accompanied by soulful electric guitar. While many first learned of her unique style and James Brown-esque dance moves during her “Let’s Go Crazy” tribute to Prince at last night’s BET Awards, she has already amassed accolades for her own music.

Her first album release, Metropolis: The Chase Suite, included “Many Moons,” which garnered a Grammy nod in 2009. She’s even touched “American Idol,” as the 2009 finale featured “Open Happiness,” an inspirational song co-written by Monae. With the momentum that she continues to gain, a Grammy win may be in order with last month’s release of her second album, The ArchAndroid, with its lead single “Tightrope” carrying a dance that is as entertaining and infectious as Michael Jackson‘s Moonwalk. A master in the studio and on stage, the singer/songwriter has shared the same stage as mega stars No Doubt, Erykah Badu, Lupe Fiasco and is currently on tour with Of Montreal. She’s also firing up the tube, having appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Mo’Nique Show.”

Hers was a busy weekend. On Friday, she received the Vanguard Award at the 23rd Annual ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Awards, which recognizes songwriters whose impact of musical genres helps shape the future of American music. Prince was a surprise guest at the ceremony in support of Monae, and she acknowledges he has inspired her. During her acceptance speech, she shared that her trademark tuxedo is worn in homage to her parents who were low-wage workers who worked in sanitation. She calls herself a “supporter of imagination who takes risks so that others can take risks.” Having roots stemming from a childhood in Kansas City, Kansas, an arts education in New York City, and stardom that began in Atlanta, Georgia, Monae is more than well-traveled. Something tells me, however, with the buzz she is continuing to get, she’ll be traveling much more often in her future to share her ArchAndroid tunes with the world. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so. She’s been featured in Vogue and will appear in InStyle‘s July 2010 issue. Yesterday, Monae was the No. 1 worldwide trending topic on Twitter!


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