By: Melody Charles
According to singer, songwriter and new Cover Girl spokesmodel Janelle Monae, the elements that inspired her upcoming album ELECTRIC LADY are as unique and eclectic as she is.
“I would paint and sing at the same time, and I noticed that I was painting the same silhouette over and over,” the 27-year-old revealed at an exclusive listening party in Dallas. Her hotly-anticipated follow up to 2010’s critically-acclaimed The ArchAndroid…ELECTRIC LADY features live instrumentation and notable collaborators like Esperanza Spalding, Miguel, Solange Knowles, Erykah Badu and her musical hero, Prince. Scheduled for release on Sept. 10, ELECTRIC LADY is already enjoying a buzz thanks to its heavily-rotated single with Ms. Badu entitled Queen.
“When I saw my therapist in Atlanta and told her about it, she encouraged me to name her, but I didn’t want to marginalize her or categorize her. One day, my spirit told me ‘this is the ‘Electric Lady.’ She represents a new 21st century lady, a new breed: how would she feel about love, politics and sexuality? Where would she stand on religion and how would she help the community?”
Those concepts are what she explored in the select tracks that she shared with the enraptured audience, who were instructed to remove their shoes to don black and white ankle socks before she arrived (cameras and voice recording were also not allowed). After taking off her own pumps and tailored black jacket, the petite performer revealed that the turf-like covering in the room came from Prince’s own ‘Wonderland‘ and led a mini-performance of six new tracks right on top of it. People soon left their chairs and danced with and around the whirling Monae as she served up ‘Queen’, the funkdafied title track, an 80s-esque slow jam ‘Prime Time’ (featuring Miguel), a hyper-sped pop jam, ‘We Were Rock & Roll’ (which turned into an en masse ‘electric slide’), the philosophical ‘What An Experience’ and ‘Victory’, an empowering ballad that she sung with just her heart and the mic.
“These are the moments that I like, before the havoc and the chaos of being on the road,” she gushed over thunderous applause. “Sharing this amazing moment in time with you all and humbly playing my music.”