Janelle Monae seems to effortlessly incorporate 100 years of popular music into one package.
Her influences range from George Clinton and Michael Jackson to Judy Garland and Jimi Hendrix, with bits of jazz and show tunes sprinkled on top.
As if that’s not enough, Monae’s albums are part of an ongoing sci-fi suite called “Metropolis,” that features her alter-ego, an android named Cyndi Mayweather who lives in the year 2719. Of course, she’s not the first musician to claim to be from the future.
As Monae brings her show to Brooklyn, we looked back at other spaced-out artists.
Bowie’s first hit was “Space Oddity,” about an astronaut marooned in space. But he took the concept to a new level with his “Ziggy Stardust” album, about a fictional rock star who communicates with aliens, most notably in the song “Starman.”
Heavy metal band Gwar took things a step further by not only singing about aliens, but wearing sci-fi inspired costumes and claiming to be interplanetary warriors sent to Earth to enslave the human race. Thirty years after it formed, the band’s future is uncertain after singer Dave Brockie died in March.
In his song “Phone Home,” Lil Wayne proclaimed “We are not the same/I am a Martian,” fueling one of the many Internet conspiracy theories about the rapper.
While not claiming to be an alien himself, rapper Lupe Fiasco told an L.A. radio station he was visited by one when he was 11. The alien left Fiasco with a scar on his ankle and a memory of seeing a flying black disc outside his window.
Janelle Monae is at Celebrate Brooklyn @ Prospect Park Bandshell Wednesday at 8 p.m., Prospect Park West and Ninth Street, FREE.