Sean “Diddy” Combs has announced the signing of acclaimed new artist Janelle Monáe to Bad Boy Records, via a pact with Monáe’s Atlanta-based record label, the Wondaland Arts Society. Monáe is an experience: a charismatic singer, songwriter, producer, and performer whose innovative style crosses musical genres in a captivating postmodern merger of R&B, funk, and rock ‘n’ roll.
Janelle Monáe makes her solo recording debut with the groundbreaking “METROPOLIS” project, with Antwan “Big Boi” Patton serving as Co-Executive Producer. An epic musical journey into the future, the project will be unveiled with the release this June of the “METROPOLIS SUITE” EP – which introduces Janelle’s android alter ego, Cindi Mayweather, as she lures the listener into her sci-fi inspired world of cybersoul. “Metropolis is the place I’ve been dreaming about all these years – a city inside your head,” says Janelle. “It’s an adventure the music brings to life.” Monáe’s debut full-length album will follow in September.
“Janelle Monáe is one of the most important signings of my career,” said Diddy. “Over the years, I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most influential artists in modern music – from Jodeci to Mary J. to Biggie – and there is no doubt in my mind that Janelle is the kind of artist that changes the game. She is a true visionary, with an original sound and a mesmerizing presence. I can’t wait to watch the future unfold for Janelle.”
“What I love about Janelle is that she has a magical ability to bring folks together,” stated Big Boi. “And she’s one of most inspiring performers ever. I’m proud to be partnering with Puff and the Wondaland Arts Society to introduce her to the world.”
“As one of the founders of the Wondaland Arts Society, my goal is to inspire and help alter history by bringing people together,” said Janelle Monáe. “In many respects, this unique partnership is a reflection of my belief that this is a new day, a new entertainment industry, and a world where the notion of what is independent and what is mainstream changes every day. In this new, rapidly changing environment, I am thrilled that Antwan ‘Big Boi’ Patton and Sean Combs have partnered with me and the Wondaland Arts Society to promote my music and art around the world.”
Born in Kansas City, Kansas, Janelle Monáe moved to New York City after high school to attend The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, the prestigious music and theatre conservatory. Deciding to extend her range beyond classical and Broadway, she moved to Atlanta to explore the possibility of becoming a recording artist. Upon arrival, she garnered a huge cult following by performing for college students at the Atlanta University Center (AUC). It was during one of these performances that Monáe met Nate “Rocket” Wonder and Chuck Lightning of Wondaland Productions and began work on the concept and music that would form “METROPOLIS.”
Having experienced the magic of Wondaland first-hand, Diddy calls the group “very innovative” and “an incredible group of people – not just producers, they’re idealists… definitely the future of music.”
While working on her own music, Janelle collaborated with Big Boi on the tracks “Call The Law” and “In Your Dreams” on OutKast’s “IDLEWILD” soundtrack, and was featured in the video for the single, “Morris Brown.” It was through Big Boi that Monáe came to the attention of Sean Combs, leading to her new pact with Bad Boy.
Monáe has quickly grown from new artist to budding phenomenon, earning widespread acclaim for her compelling, transformative approach. “Monáe creates this futuristic world of hers by synthesizing past inspirations: the operatic pop and hornlike sharpness of Shirley Bassey, the energetic funk of James Brown, and the breezy rock and soul of OutKast,” said Creative Loafing.
“Metropolis is a soulful, sassy, sci-fi themed debut that busts genres – not to mention stereotypes,” proclaimed Interview, while Vibe magazine noted that “Monáe’s upcoming album is poised to bring an eclectic, urbane feel to today’s R&B.” “Janelle Monáe is honing her completely individual skills as a very exciting solo artist, not only in sound but very much in style,” said the UK’s Blag magazine.
Monáe is also drawing raves from fellow artists across the musical spectrum: from “André 3000” Benjamin, who says that “Ms. Monáe has one of the most enchanting voices of our generation. She’s a living, singing babydoll. Darling… just darling. Ha.” – to Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, who describes her as being “like a female version of Prince.” Even visionary Missy Elliott is convinced of Janelle’s potential: “Janelle is fire! Puffy, Big Boi… I don’t care if it’s Obama! Whoever got this girl… she is going to blow up!”