Janelle Monae drops a funky new track featuring Erykah Badu aptly titled “Q.U.E.E.N.” The song is off Monae’s upcoming 2013 album, Electric Lady.
Next week on March 11, we will be introducing folks in NYC to a major new talent from Israel named Ester Rada. In the meantime, we got some interesting bits on the unique artist in the interview below. Read up!
Giant Step: Your heritage is that of a very unique Ethiopian-Jewish people. How does this background and being raised in an Orthodox tradition affect who you are today?
Ester Rada: I was born in Israel, and my family raised me in a religious house and tradition, as this was what they were used to from Ethiopia. When my parents moved to Israel they were “put” in Kiryat Arba, a very religious city. We moved from there when I was 10 years old, due to the security issues there.
GS: Coming up in one of the rougher neighborhoods in Tel Aviv, what it was like growing up?
ER: I was actually growing up near Tel Aviv, in Netanya, and it was a big change for me. Coming from a more religious village, you can call it the country side, to a bigger city, was a big move for me. I also became secular and not as religious as we used to be. But this change was blessing, and I started to know what freedom is like. In the neighborhood I had good friends.
GS: Your sound evokes qualities similar to Erykah, Jill Scott, Janelle Monae. Are these intentional influences? Who would you say are your influences?
ER: I am influenced by a lot of artists. Of course the ones you named, and also religious Jewish music from my early days, as well as Ethiopian and Amharic music such as Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulat Astatke, Muluken Melesse, Israeli music, jazz and soul legends such as Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Marlena Shaw, and contemporary music such as Corrine Bailey Rae, Nneka, Keziah Jones, India Arie and more.
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Earlier today, miss Janelle Monae unveiled a new tune from a fellow Wondaland artist Roman GianArthur. And man, is the guy a talent. The above is his new track that mashes together D’Angelo’s “Send It On” with Radiohead’s “High & Dry.” Freakin’ sexy. What the hell.
Dude sounds like a blend between Van Hunt, Bilal, and some fresh ‘n new radio R&B youngin’. Can’t compete with that. Oh, we mention that ol’ boy over here also produced the track? No biggie.
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This weekend was buzzing all this weekend with exclamatory remarks and photographs of the awesomeness that was the 2012 Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn. We’ve got clips from a couple of the most anticipated and dynamic performances from the weekend. Above, is an energy filled medley by the indomitable Erykah Badu, which includes a special guest appearance from Yasiin Bey (Mos Def). And below is the dynamic miss Janelle Monae breathing life into all with her live performance of “Sincerely Jane.” Oh, and it starts off with a nice little introduction from Pharrell, accented by a crowd of females screaming maniacally.
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The lovely Janelle Monae was awarded the incredible honor to perform at this year’s Nobel Peace Concert in Oslo, Norway alongside some highly revered artists such as Angelique Kidjo, Jill Scott, and Ellie Goulding, amongst several other artists from around the world.
Above is Janelle’s amazingly heartfelt performance of “Cold War,” which was also reportedly accompanied by performances of “Tightrope” and the Jackson 5‘s “I Want You Back.”
After the jump, you can find the entire cast of artists performing Curtis Mayfield‘s “Move On Up.” Brilliant.
Many thanks to our folks at Okayplayer for putting us on to this one.