I for one have been a gigantic fan of Janelle Monáe for several years now. To me, she’s what’s needed in an industry full of imposters as the 32-year-old has done something very special with her talents that go far beyond the music industry.
A lucky audience (sold out of course), was lucky enough to hear her talk for an entire hour on Tuesday night at the historic 92nd Street Y in the Upper East Side of New York City. I was one of those people who made sure to get there as early as possible, so I could plop myself down in the front row next to my friend and hear her talk about her latest album Dirty Computer, her movie roles and so much more that encompass what an amazing woman she is.
There’s a lot to admire about Janelle from an LGBTQ point of view, given that she’s an openly queer woman who considers herself to be a “free-ass motherf***er”. That “free” type of persona was felt during her interview with Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos, who did a delightful job at keeping the back and forth question and answers flowing very well with the Grammy-nominated performer.
A lot of the conversation was revolved around Dirty Computer, her fourth studio album that received a ton of critical acclaim and commercial success, debuting at number 6 on the Billboard 200 charts back in April. There’s a tremendous joy and thrill when she speaks about this album, where Janelle spoke quite highly about everyone who was involved from featured artists like Grimes and Zoe Kravitz to her fellow producers like Pharrell Williams and Nate Wonder.
The inspiration she got from making the songs off Dirty Computer came at her from some very odd moments in her life. Janelle at one point talked about how she was in a ton of pain on her way to the dentist and started singing vocal to one of the tracks when she had a moment of relief due to Advil she took beforehand.
Janelle also hinted at major things coming up that she would like to do. One would be to star on or off Broadway (someone give her a call immediately) and the other would be to open up her own school of sorts. Not only that, but she’s scored a role in the movie about legendary civil rights activist Harriet Tubman (called Harriet) and the film Welcome to Marwen alongside Steve Carell. Just another day in the life of an icon in the making.