GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Janelle Monáe visited The Recording Academy headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., on July 13 for a special performance and participated in 5 Questions With…, The Academy's new series designed to engage recording artists and professionals on a variety of topics.
Monáe performed two songs, "Sincerely, Jane" and "Smile," before taking time out to answer questions regarding the importance of membership in The Recording Academy, the influence of musical theater on live performance, and mentoring.
Asked about what it was like to receive a GRAMMY Award nomination, Monáe said, "I was very appreciative and just humbled and encouraged; most importantly, encouraged.” Monáe added how receiving a GRAMMY nod gave her the fuel and encouragement needed to complete her debut album The ArchAndroid, released May 18.
Born Janelle Robinson in Kansas City, Kan., Monáe started her career in musical theater. After performing in a few off-Broadway shows she moved to Atlanta where she joined a band and began touring the local college circuit. That's also where Monáe met OutKast's Big Boi, who placed two of her songs on his 2005 compilation Got Purp? Vol. 2, and then again on OutKast's 2006 release Idlewild. She released her first EP, Metropolis, Suite I: The Chase, in 2007 and the following year signed with GRAMMY winner Sean "Diddy" Combs' Bad Boy Records. She received a Best Urban/Alternative Performance GRAMMY nomination for "Many Moons" at the 51st Annual GRAMMY Awards.