I’ve been to many music festivals in different parts of the world, but South by Southwest (known as SXSW) by far attracted the most eclectic mix of artists and audiences in every imaginable genre from all over the world, performing at over 100 venues around the city of Austin (not to mention those who held court in the street!). This was definitely an experience to remember.
A few big name “surprise” guests also popped up, including Erykah Badu, Kanye and Common. My favorite act of the weekend, however, was the artistically and vocally talented sister named Janelle Monae. This Grammy nominated artist was a hit at SXSW. Her mix of funk, rock and alternative soul with a 50’s spin is truly out-of-the-box. Her music doesn’t safely fit into any of today’s mainstream genres and I think that’s just the way she likes it. I first saw her perform a couple of years ago at Howard homecoming. At that time, she was putting her records out on her own independently owned label based in Atlanta. Since then she has signed with Diddy’s Bad Boy Records and apparently will be on tour with No Doubt this summer.
If you haven’t already done so, check out her CD, Metropolis: The Chase Suite. In an era of sexed up pop artists that are great performers, but not necessarily great singers (a la Rihanna and Beyonce), Janelle Monae is a breath of creative fresh air.