On opening night of the TD Jazz Fest, Janelle Monae brought the crowd to their knees (literally) with her belting voice reminiscent of the jazz greats and her signature full impact stage presence, which included a much anticipated tap dance solo, live painting and some fabulous choreography from her musicians.
If you’re not familiar with Janelle Monae, you probably also don’t know the show opener, Romain GianArthur who collaborated with Janelle on her Grammy nominated EP Metropolis but this was his first Canadian show and well worth attending. His music, like Monae’s channels Prince and early Michael Jackson and both artists represent the new school of R&B music.
In addition to blowing the crowd’s minds with her stunning vocals, the stage was full of smoke and bright lights that made you feel like you were in a living Electric Lady Land.
Janelle’s band is called the Wondaland Orchestra and is full of top notch musicians who not only play their instruments well but are pros at playing their part on stage, at some points in the performance this meant seriously busting a move while playing their instrument and even lying down to ‘play dead’, while still playing a tune.
Janelle founded the Wondaland Arts Society when she moved to Atlanta after finishing performing arts school and she now works with a whole roster of other like minded artists who don’t quite live in our world but one all of their own.
If you missed Janelle Monae’s performance as opener of the the 2012 Toronto TD Jazz Fest I suggest you check out her music and stay tuned for her next Toronto performance because she is one of the few younger artists of today who always puts on a show that is guaranteed to blow your mind.
Dance or Die
Call Me Interlude
Take Me With You
Dorothy Dandridge Eyes
I Want You Back
Mushrooms & Roses
Cold War Interlude
Photos by Melissa Bessey