What TIme Makes Sense for Janelle Monáe?

On the Saturday of Voodoo last October, I trekked through the mud by myself to see Janelle Monáe’s 5:30 p.m. set. I wasn’t interested in getting close and hung back where the crowd was still porous, with plenty of room to dance. I was unprepared for the crowd’s intense enthusiasm and fluency in her music, and it quickly became clear that these were not fans who simply happened upon her set. They came to Voodoo Fest specifically for her.

Galactic's Ready Already with Princess Shaw

The 2016 documentary Presenting Princess Shaw (available on Netflix) tells the story of Samantha Montgomery, a New Orleans medical technician who becomes an online celebrity in part for her YouTube vlog, which documented her thoughts as she tried to start a career as an R&B singer, and because of her appearance in a video by an Israeli artist who combined in DJ fashion musical videos that he found online to create a new song from people who had never met.

The Excello Story Includes a Rock 'n' Roll Rarity

Blues and R&B weren’t writer Randy Fox’s natural beat. He was a fan of the ’80s American underground rock ’n’ roll explosion that produced Husker Du, Sonic Youth, The Replacements and Black Flag. At the end of the ‘80s, that moment was fading, but the CD reissue boom helped him scratch that same itch. When companies realized that there was money to be made by reissuing music on CD that they had already paid for and that vinyl collectors collected, they began to aggressively revisit artists that had become legendary in their absence, many of them blues and R&B bands.

The Internet Finds Its Crowd In New Orleans

I saw The Internet almost exactly one month before its performance in New Orleans when it opened for Gorillaz in Chicago, and I was one of the only people around me who knew the band’s music. That night, I got side eyes for knowing and singing along to its songs, but at the House of Blues recently, The Internet’s fan base was devoted. The outpouring of love and energy was unlike anything I’d ever seen, and it was clear that band members were surprised as well.

An Unplanned Ending the Only Blemish on Janelle Monae's Voodoo Set

[Updated] The last time Janelle Monae played Voodoo, it was located in City Park’s Marconi Meadows in 2010, She was touring behind her debut album, The ArchAndroid, and when she performed “Tightrope” to close the show, she tipped the tightrope on the ground in front of 50 or so people who supportively gave her room to move. 

Lauryn Hill and The Millennials: A Love Story

The crowd for Ms. Lauryn Hill at the UNO Lakefront Arena recently countered the assumption that all her fans are nostalgic, middle-aged women. The former Fugees singer has attracted a new, younger generation of fans who interpret and respond to her seminal album through a different lens. Hill’s millennial fan base (of which I'm a member) hears The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in a musical and cultural framework that’s decidedly 2018.

The Special Men Solve a 21st Century Problem with Vinyl and Alynda Lee Segarra

While the question of how to get paid in the streaming era constantly animates musicians and music fans on Facebook, a second question gets asked less often. How do musicians get people to notice their releases at all? One thing’s clear—the old model of releasing an album every year or so clearly doesn’t work in the current environment. That absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder theory suited record labels better than artists as it forced fans who wanted new music from an artist to buy the album that was out because that was all they were going to get for next 12 months.

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