Michelle Lynn Johnson officially changed her professional name from Me'Shell NdegĂ©Ocello to simply Meshell Ndegeocello, with the release of her 2001 album, "Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape".
Meshell Ndegeocello (b. August 29, 1968) is a singer, bassist, and multi-instrumentalist. She was born Michelle Johnson to Army lieutenant (and saxophonist) father Jacques Johnson and her mother, Helen in Berlin, Germany.
Raised in Washington, D.C., Meshell Suihailia Bashir Shakur (as she became known) adopted the surname Ndegeocello, which means "free like a bird", while still in her teens. She has been hailed in the music press as a redeemer of soul music. Her music incorporates funk, soul, hip-hop, reggae, rock and jazz. She has been nominated for 9 Grammys. She has frequently toured with Lilith Fair.