Early last month, the innocent minds of music executives, journalists, and entertainers were galvanized by the effervescent singer Janelle Monae’s debut album, entitled The ArchAndroid. Loud shrills of excitement, and anticipation seeped through the cracks of the Rubin Museum of Art in downtown Manhattan, as Diddy’s coveted artist delivered a slew of tracks from her long awaited debut.
The 25-year-old crooner, known for her eclectic and artistic savvy, transformed the venue into her own personal playground for the night. Posters and postcards of the singer were scattered throughout the room, and even pictures of her were plastered on the doors of the main entrance.
“Wow. Atlantic [Records] definitely knows how to treat their artists. We haven’t even walked inside, and all I see is Janelle this, Janelle that. No hate. I’m just saying,” rapper J.Whizz told us entering the venue.
After people walked in, and checked in their coats, many quickly gazed at the little bar that sat discretely at the corner in hopes of alleviating their stressful work day. “Janelle is already doing a great job. She must have been reading my mind, because I’ve been dying for a shot of vodka. And then to find out I don’t need to pay? Kudos to Janelle, I needed a shot of vodka, before we even got loose”, said an industry acquaintance.
To make the situation even more interesting, a group of actors dressed in all black attire were ubiquitously swarming the room as their appearance rivaled characters from the movie, Star Wars. From first glance, many people seemed a tad bemused by their presence, but as time progressed, the meaning behind their attendance would later be revealed.
As people continued to marvel at the actors and parlay during the cocktail hour, notable music executives began making their way into the building. CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group, Lyor Cohen (who has been influential in the signing and development of marquee artists) was found side by side with Bad Boy Records Vice President Harvey Pierre, and Founder of the now defunct Uptown Records, Andre Harrell.
“Honestly, unless someone has a lot of hype, or a huge following, you most likely wouldn’t see these huge heavyweight executives at an album listening party,” hip-hop Journalist Juan Pierre said. “Janelle obviously has something that everybody is intrigued to see. If she wasn’t talented or had a significant buzz, none of these huge titans would even consider coming. That’s just the truth.”
Before Juan even had a chance to utter out his next word, his eyes steered towards the stairs. Walking up the stairs was the gracious Janelle Monae, laced in an all black tuxedo. An ordinary person wouldn’t be able to tell Janelle had superstar credentials, because her aura was simply enough to refute such thoughts. Light hearted, and full of fervor, Monae embraced the celebration as if she was a 16-year-old surrounded by her longtime friends and family. As she walked onto the stage, she hugged everyone who accompanied her, and grabbed the microphone as if she was ready to perform.
“First off, I wanna thank everyone for making it tonight. This truly means a lot to me,” she said. “Thanks to my label, Atlantic Records, and Diddy for allowing me to have his chance, and providing me such a platform.”
Claps and shouts paraded the air as Janelle waved humbly. After she was flooded with a round of applause, she then instructed, “Now, I want dancing. Get up, and act a fool”.
Before everyone was able to begin practicing their new dance moves Diddy abruptly popped on the screen. All eyes were glued towards the screen as Diddy sincerely apologized for his absence, and explained how he was in Paris handling business.
As for Monae’s talent, Combs had this to say: “Janelle is my most artistic signing yet. She’s not afraid to dream. I’m known for my hype, but her music speaks for itself.” And as promised, Monae delivered. For 45 minutes people were up dancing, and having fun without even worrying about having to go to work the following morning.
Track after track exhibited Monae’s innate ability to pen a song. Not only did her seamless songwriting abilities catch the attention of the audience, but her selection of beats, and instruments served as a pleasant side dish to Monae’s quest in crafting a masterpiece.
Even rapper J. Whizz was blown away.
“This is what I call music,” he said. “We haven’t had someone who could blend sounds from different eras, and still make the music enjoyable. That’s what so impressive. She definitely has star potential no doubt. I’m buying the album May 18th. I recommend you do the same. I mean, if you endorse real music of course.”