Her success has also garnered her several Grammy nominations. In March 2012, "We Are Young", the song by the band fun. on which Monáe makes a guest appearance, reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, her first appearance in the US Top 10. In August 2012, Monáe was chosen as the newest addition to the CoverGirl spokeswomen lineup.
"There was a lot of confusion and nonsense where I grew up, so I reacted by creating my own little world ... I began to see how music could change lives, and I began to dream about a world where every day was like anime and Broadway, where music fell from the sky and anything could happen."
Monáe was born in Kansas City, Kansas on December 1, 1985, where she spent her early life. She had a step-brother, a very talented dancer and singer, named Kennedy Baah. Monáe has stated that the fictional character of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz has been one of her musical influences. She has told reporters that she has dreamed of being a singer and a performer since she was very young.
Monáe moved to New York City to study drama at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. She attended a Performing Arts School called Freedom Theatre, which is the oldest African-American theatre in Philadelphia. After moving to Atlanta, Georgia, where she met OutKasts Big Boi, Monáe founded the Wondaland Arts Society with like-minded young artists and released her first unofficial studio album The Audition.
In 2007, Monáe 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" Combss 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 Monáe 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. Monáe also toured as the opening act for band No Doubt on their summer 2009 tour. Her single "Open Happiness" was featured in the 2009 season finale of American Idol. 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, Monáe revealed the title and concept behind her album, The ArchAndroid. The album was released on May 18, 2010. The second and third suites of Metropolis are combined into this full-length release, in which Monáes alter-ego, Cindi Mayweather—also the protagonist of Metropolis: The Chase Suite— becomes a messianic figure to the android community of Metropolis. Monáe 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 Langs 1927 silent film Metropolis, which Monáe 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 explore 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 citys strictly segregated working class, Monáes messianic android muse Cindi Mayweather represents an interpretation of androids as that segregated minority, which 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."
Her single "Tightrope" was featured on the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2011, performed by Pia Toscano, Haley Reinhart, Naima Adedapo, and Thia Megia.
Monáe was featured in fun.s hit single, "We Are Young", and also performed an acoustic version of the song with lead singer of Fun, Nate Ruess, and the other two members of the band. Monáe was also featured on "Do My Thing" for Estelles sophomore studio album All of Me.
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