Where did Janelle Monae go to college? Janelle Monae attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, a college conservatory for the performing arts. The school has campuses in two locations, Los Angeles and New York City, and Janelle studied at the latter. The NYC institution was a long way from Kansas City, Kansas, where the futuristic, genre-bending R&B star was born Janelle Monae Robinson on December 1, 1985. As a child, Monae dreamed of being a performer, and that’s what led her to AMDA. According to, her tenure at the school was short-lived, as she found herself hemmed in, creatively speaking. “I wanted to write my own musicals,” she said. “I didn’t want to have to live vicariously through a character that had been played thousands of times — in a line with everybody wanting to play the same person.” Instead, she invented her own character, Cindi Mayweather, the cyborg she’s made the focus of three acclaimed records: the EP “Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase)” and the full-lengths “The ArchAndroid” (2010) and “The Electric Lady” (2013).

Folks wondering where Janelle Monae went to college might figure she attended Harvard or Yale or something, as her brand of high-concept R&B draws on science fiction, politics, gender dynamics, and other things not exactly common to the genre. Monae often gets compared to artists like Prince and George Clinton, and just like those legends, she has the rare ability to combine complex topics and radio-friendly melodies. Although Janelle Monae has yet to score a major hit single, both “The ArchAndroid” and “The Electric Lady” have fared fairly well on the charts, and the latter reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200. Janelle Moneae’s “PrimeTime” single, featuring Miguel, was a Top 40 R&B hit, reaching No. 36 on that chart.

Where did Janelle Monae go to college? The American Musical and Dramatic Academy was founded in 1964 by actor Philip H. Burton, and it offers both four-year Bachelors of Fine Arts and two-year Conservatory Performing Arts programs. Students have their pick of acting, music theater, dance theater, and performing arts, and while none were apparently right for Monae, who needed to follow her muse to Atlanta, where she moved after dropping out, AMDA has helped countless students — many now famous — realize their artistic dreams.

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