Q & A with Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae finally gave birth this week. No, it wasn’t a little baby, but a bundle of music that she says was just as labor-intensive.
"I just feel like this is a baby and I’m ready to have a C-section or this baby is ready to come," Monae said of "The Electric Lady," released Tuesday.
Monae’s sophomore effort comes three years after her critically acclaimed full-length debut, "The ArchAndroid."
The new album is a departure for the 27-year-old, who collaborates with Prince ("Givin Em What They Love"), Miguel ("Primetime") and Erykah Badu ("Q.U.E.E.N.") on the 19-track set.
"None of it was for politics," she said of the guest artists, who also include Esperanza Spalding and Solange. "These guys are writing their own music; in control of their futures ... they do what they feel on their own terms and time."
In an interview with The Associated Press, Monae, who is based in Atlanta, talked about working with Prince, being in therapy and how her dreams helped her create the songs that make up "The Electric Lady," co-executive produced by Diddy and Big Boi of OutKast.
AP: Your albums follow the story of Cindi Mayweather, an android who falls in love with a human and she’s being punished for that. What’s happening with her on "The Electric Lady"?
Monae: This is her life before she became the ArchAndroid, what the community thought about her, what her thoughts were, what got her into trouble (and) why they wanted to dissemble her.
AP: Are you Cindi?
Monae: We share the same DNA.
AP: Who influenced the album?
Monae: George Lucas. I performed at his wedding reception. ... I met him and I got a chance to speak with Steven Spielberg, and these are people whose ideas, you know, if they weren’t able to make their movies, I don’t think that I would have been able to articulate my thoughts on Cindi. ... They kind of showed me how to do that, I just wanted to do it with music.
AP: How did you come up with the songs for the new album?