Welcome back to Give It a Shot! This week, we’re going to be talking about one of the few artists that embodies both old school class and new school values and philosophy. Just unknown enough to give you some hipster creed but well known enough that you can find her fans scattered around the world. If 1920s retro blended with a monochrome-future is wrong, then there are plenty of people who don’t want to be right. That artist is none other than Kanas City native Janelle Monáe.
Monáe’s music is a fusion of classics like jazz, brass bands, and blues with modern beats to back them up and give them new life. Her clothes may also be retro, with a 1920’s or 1960’s aesthetic (depending on the day) but her beliefs are all new — all about being who you are and fighting against social oppression for African-Americans, women, LGBTQ, and more. And she can rock a suit like nobody’s business, with deep and soulful vocals to match.
One of Monáe’s most beloved music videos is for Q.U.E.E.N, a song about being bizarre and disenfranchised from the rest of society, and it’s quintessential Monáe: futuristic setting, old school sound, and inspirational lyrics that urge listeners to fight back against the injustices they see in their day to day lives. Her latest album, The Electric Lady, is her most solid and has songs to fit any and every mood. If you’re looking for a new sound to rock out to, just give Miss Monáe your undivided attention.