Fantastic Freedom Concept : Janelle Monáe - Metropolis & The ArchAndroid

Janelle was born Janelle Monáe Robinson in Kansas City, where she spent her early life. Janelle moved from Kansas City to New York to study drama at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

In 2006, Janelle signed to Bad Boy . The label's chief role was in facilitating her exposure on a much broader scale rather than developing the artist and her music, because "She was already moving, she already had her records - she had a self-contained movement.  

Combs and Big Boi wanted to take their time and build her profile organically and allow the music to grow rather than put out "A hot single which everyone jumps on, and then they fade because it's just something of the moment."

In 2007, Janelle released her first solo work, titled 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. After the release of the first part of the series, Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) in mid-2007, these plans were altered following her signing with Sean "Diddy" Combs's label, Bad Boy Records, later in the year.

The label gave an official and physical release to the first "suite" in August 2008, which was retitled Metropolis: The Chase Suite (Special Edition) and included two new tracks. The EP was generally well-received by critics, garnering Janelle a 2009 Grammy nomination in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance for her single "Many Moons", festival appearances and opening slots for the indie pop band Of Montreal. Janelle also toured as the opening act for band No Doubt on their summer 2009 tour.

Janelle Monáe told MTV about her concept for her new album and also discussed her alter-ego named Cindi Mayweather, she said:

Cindi is an android and I love speaking about the android because they are the new “other”. People are afraid of the other and I believe we’re going to live in a world with androids because of technology and the way it advances. The first album she was running because she had fallen in love with a human and she was being disassembled for that."

In a November 2009 interview, Janelle revealed the title and concept behind her album, The ArchAndroid. The album was released on 18 May 2010. The second and third suites of Metropolis are combined into this full-length release, in which Janelle's alter-ego, Cindi Mayweather — also the protagonist of Metropolis: The Chase Suite — becomes a messianic figure to the android community of Metropolis. Janelle noted that she plans to shoot a video for each song on The ArchAndroid and create both a movie and graphic novel based on the album.

The Metropolis concept series draws inspiration from a wide range of musical, cinematic and other sources, ranging from Alfred Hitchcock to Debussy to Philip K. Dick. However, the series puts Fritz Lang's 1927 silent film Metropolis, which Janelle referred to as "the godfather of science-fiction movies," in special regard. 

Aside from sharing a name, they also share visual styles (the cover for The ArchAndroid is inspired by the iconic poster for Metropolis), conceptual themes and political goals, using expressionistic future scenarios to examine and explode contemporary ideas of prejudice and class.

Both also include a performing female android, though to very different effect. Where Metropolis android Maria is the evil, havoc-sowing double of the messianic figure to the city's strictly segregated working class, Janelle's messianic android muse Cindi Mayweather represents an interpretation of androids as that segregated minority, which Janelle Monáe describes as "... the Other. 

And I feel like all of us, whether in the majority or the minority, felt like the Other at some point."
Janelle received the Vanguard Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers at the Rhythm & Soul Music Awards in 2010. Her success is also due to her raw talent as a vocalist.

She inhabits each style with natural grace, nailing the subtleties of rapped verses and tight harmonies as well as she can belt out a climax or deliver a punky growl.
In an interview, Janelle stated that she plans to release two albums in 2012. In the same interview, she said that she plans to tour with some "big names" and "a big band" in 2012. 

While the tour is not yet announced, Janelle Monáe did say that she will perform at Staples Center for three nights in a row. In another interview with Forbes, she also said that she plans to release an ArchAndroid inspired film.

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