Sean "Diddy" Combs presented Janelle Monae, the newest addition to the Bad Boy Records roster, to music industry insiders last night (April 3) at New York's Blender Theater. The singer/songwriter/producer is signed to the label via her own Wondaland Arts Society imprint.
"I've been blessed with artists like Jodeci, Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J.
Blige in the past, but this artist right here ... you've just got to see it to believe it. I don't know if you ever felt the Holy Ghost, but that's the only feeling you're going to feel tonight," said an excited Combs as he introduced Monae before a full house.
"This is possibly the most important signing of my career," Combs continued. "I thank God for blessing me with an artist like Janelle Monae. Now, are y'all ready to go to church?"
Monae -- decked out in her staple black slacks, white dress jacket with black lapel, oversized black bow tie and black and white wingtip shoes -- performed a five-song set that included the guitar-laden "Smile," "Letting Go" and "Violet Stars/Happy Hunting," which finds Monae singing, "I'm an alien from outer space / I'm a cyber girl without a face," over thumping drums.
"I love you. Follow us in this journey. Hopefully we can alter history together," said the Kansas City native before exiting the stage.
WQHT (Hot 97) New York's DJ Enuff, Vibe Magazine editor-in-chief Danyel Smith, comedian/actor Anthony Anderson and BET's Terrence J were among those in attendance.
In a recent Q&A, Combs told Billboard, "We're really breaking [Monae] in the underground so it has that infectious buzz to it. It's the sound of her voice, her approach to records, her energy, her performance -- she's something I've never seen before, I've never seen the package delivered like that."
Monae's EP, "Metropolis Suite," will be released in June, while her solo debut, "Metropolis," co-executive produced by Outkast's Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, arrives in September.
Monae, who met Patton after moving to Atlanta to pursue a career in music, collaborated with the rapper on tracks "Call the Law" and "In Your Dreams" from Outkast's soundtrack to "Idlewild". Monae was also featured in the video for the single "Morris Brown."