Janelle Monae Robinson was born in 1985 in Kansas City. She was growing up in a low-income family. Janelle’s father worked as a truck driver and had a drug addiction problem. Her mom was a janitor. Since childhood, Janelle has been dreaming about getting out of the neighborhood and finding a better life. Considering her birth town, the girl was inspired by Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz”.
While studying in school, Janelle sang in a church choir and performed on the local stages in musicals. She started writing her own songs rather early. After finishing middle school, the young woman went to study at American Musical and Dramatic Academy. She was the only African American in her class.
Janelle studied hard but felt that drama wasn’t what she was destined for. After performing in several players and facing the lack of desired roles, Janelle quit the academy. In 2001, she moved to Atlanta. Monae started performing at local colleges, trying to promote her music. At one of the performances, she met a hip-hop duo Outkast, who helped her with promotion and funding.