6 Things You Need To Know About Janelle Monáe

Why Janelle Monáe is going to make someone a happy droid

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1 | She has friends in high places

That’s not to say that all of her collaborators are very tall — Outkast’s Big Boi (1.62m) featured on her debut album’s megahit “Tightrope” while Prince (1.58m) appears on The Electric Lady’s “Give Em What They Want”.

Big Boi was the one who put her in contact with Sean Combs, who immediately signed her to his record label Bad Boy. Prince also got wind of her early on. Upon hearing a cut of her first album, he told her: “This is amazing, this is incredible, this is going to rule the world.”

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She also duets with both Miguel and Erykah Badu on the new album, and in the past has worked with Stevie Wonder and herself featured on fun.’s Number One “We Are Young”. Needless to say, she’s also on President Obama’s iPod. She gets about.

 

2 | She knows how to dress

When it comes to women, most r’n’b and hip-hop videos work on the premise that less (clothing) is more. Not Monáe, who rocks an exclusively monochrome fitted suit “uniform” (which she claims to wear 24 hours a day), dons a mean bow tie and sports a quiff that’s more of a head turner than Alex Turner’s. Speaking of which…

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3 | She like a big guitar riff

While Arctic Monkeys’ latest effort claims to be informed by r’n’b, Monáe is going the other way, smearing dirty rock licks all over her future-retro funk pop.

Between the classical flourishes, TheArchAndroid’s “Mushrooms and Roses” pulls of some Hendrixesque wails, while “Give Em What They Want” dips into pal of Arctic Monkeys Josh Homme territory before Prince pulls things back to sounding like, erm, Prince.  

 

4 | She’s performed at the Nobel Peace Prize

Screw the Grammys. If you’re going to make some noise at an award ceremony, it might as well be one dedicated to peace.

 

5 | She’s totally unobtainable (unless you’re a robot)

In response to speculation into her private life, she has said that she only dates androids.

 

6 | And she believes that robots will take over the world in 2029

She’s a time traveller. She grew up in Kansas and compares herself to Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz (and that Sean Combs is like the Tin Man, Scarecrow and/or Cowardly Lion). She wants her music to sound like German expressionist films. She does things according to her soul clock. And, yes, she thinks androids are sexy. She might have an overactive imagination — but at least she makes for a good interview.


The Electric Lady is out now