Michelle Lynn Johnson (born August 29, 1968), better known as Me'shell Ndegéocello, is a German-born American singer, songwriter, rapper, bassist, and multi-instrumentalist. She has been hailed in the music press as a redeemer of soul music. Her music incorporates funk, soul, hip hop, reggae, R&B, rock, and jazz. She has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards.
Ndegeocello was born in Berlin to army lieutenant and saxophonist father Jacques Johnson and her mother, Helen. She was raised in Washington, D.C.. In early press releases from Maverick Records her birth year was mistakenly listed as 1969. The 1968 birth date has been confirmed through a previous manager/lifelong friend.
Meshell Ndegeocello is pronounced MEE-shell n-deh-GAY-o-chel-o. Early pressings of Plantation Lullabies were stickered with the instructions. The correct spelling of her stage name at this time is Meshell Ndegeocello, without apostrophes or any unusual capitalizations. Although named Michelle Lynn Johnson at birth, Ndegeocello has had numerous name changes. She adopted the surname Ndegeocello, which means "free like a bird", while still in her teens. Some outlets also state her birth name as "Mary Johnson".
 Career rise
Ndegeocello honed her skills on the D.C. go-go circuit in the late 1980s, and unsuccessfully tried out for Living Colour's bassist position, vacated in 1992 by Muzz Skillings. Going solo, she was the first artist signed 1993 to Maverick Records/Sire Records with her debut, Plantation Lullabies. This recording presented a distinctly androgynous persona.
Ndegeocello is bisexual, and was a former long time lover of writer Rebecca Walker, but the relationship ended in 2003. She sang background vocals on the song "I'd Rather be Your Lover" by Madonna, on her album Bedtime Stories.
Her biggest hit is a duet with John Cougar Mellencamp, a cover version of Van Morrison's "Wild Night", which reached #3 on the Billboard charts. Her only other Billboard Hot 100 hit besides "Wild Night" has been "If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)", which peaked at #73 in 1994. She had a Dance #1 in 1996 called "Who Is He (and What Is He To You?)" as well as Dance Top 20 hits with "Earth", "Leviticus: Faggot", "Stay" and the aforementioned ".Boyfriend".
Her music has been featured in a number of film soundtracks including How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Batman and Robin, and Down In the Delta. She has appeared on recordings by Basement Jaxx, Indigo Girls, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and The Rolling Stones' 1997 album Bridges to Babylon, playing bass on the song "Saint Of Me". She can also be seen in the documentary movie Standing in the Shadows of Motown, singing The Miracles' "You've Really Got A Hold On Me". In the late 1990s she toured with Lilith Fair.
Plantation Lullabies (Maverick) -- 1993
Peace Beyond Passion (Maverick) -- 1996
Bitter (Maverick) -- 19
Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape (Maverick) -- 2002
Comfort Woman (Maverick) -- 2003
The Spirit Music Jamia: Dance of the Infidel (Shanachie) -- 2005
The Article 3 EP (EmArcy) -- 2006
The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams (Kuzcek Records) -- 2007
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