Janelle Monae; 'Cut it down in half. That's what Prince would say to his band'

Janelle Monáe joins Zane Lowe in studio on Apple Music 1 to discuss her new album 'The Age Of Pleasure’ due out this Friday. During the wide-ranging conversation, Monáe discusses her creative process, growth and evolution, AI and tech advancements, creating during the pandemic, facing her fears, advice from Prince, and more. Janelle Monáe Tells Apple Music About Learning And Having Fun While Making Music…Look, it never stops. Even with this album, this project, I'm just like, you know what? It takes work. I have to learn things all over again. I have to practice. I have to, and thank God, I love the songs. So it's always a fun thing to do. It's like starting on a blank canvas. I definitely have had an opportunity to evolve and grow and to tap into the things that bring me pleasure. The things that perhaps I should rethink and rework. Janelle Monáe On What’s Most Important To Her During The Music Process…Sometimes it really is just saying, you know what? Let's get back to the basics, and also let's honor the present. I think a lot of times, artists, at least the friends that I have, we talk about it and they're artists, we talk about making sure that we can enjoy life outside of what it is that we do. So if that's spending time with friends, reconnecting, having a game night, going to a beach if you can, taking more baths, doing things that perhaps, I think, pre-pandemic we probably would not have had enough time to do because our lives were set up in a way where we are of service. I'm of service all the time. I'm moving. I'm moving. I'm on tour, I'm doing an album, I'm doing a film, and all those things you love. You love, I've asked for it, I've prayed for it. But the balance has to be restored in all things. And we see that not in just our lives, but just in the world. Balance is super important.Janelle Monáe Reflects On The Pandemic And Quarantine…I think when the pandemic hit for me, touring, I had just come off Dirty Computer. I actually had just opened up for the Oscars. That was my last big, I haven't been on a big stage since 2020 Oscars, and then the pandemic hit and boom, touring. I was supposed to do some really, really cool things on the road. And all of that got canceled. And yeah, you had to sit. I had the opportunity, I mean, there are a lot of people who obviously didn't have the privilege that I had to be in a house and to have an opportunity to have that space-Janelle Monáe On Running Her Independent Label, Wonderland…We still move like Indie folks. We still put the ideas over money and how things will sell. Obviously, we want to be able to pay rent and mortgage and all those things, but we still believe in ideas and being of service, and creating quality, creative, innovative things that feel good to us first. And then, hopefully, folks are on that same frequency and have a need for it in their lives. So I've been fortunate to do that. But we keep a super family vibe, super small still. And a lot of us had to go through this pandemic, just really opening up, you know what I mean, talking about, "Hey, I need to take a break. I need to get some therapy for myself." And I feel like all of us have had to make lifestyle changes, all of it. All of us have had to just say, rethinking, just because you are in the matrix of this music industry, of this film industry. How to make sure that we're not of it and how to redefine what success feels like for us, to redefine what balance looks like for us, to redefine how do you play also while having fun. I mean, while working, excuse me. And having fun. How do we make this sexy again? How do we make this fun?Janelle Monáe on What She Learned From Prince And How She Deals With Fear…Cut it down in half. That's what Prince would say to his band. He would be like, sometimes when people have jitters or nervous or whatever, they play too fast or they're talking fast. He's like, "Cut everything down in half." And I take that approach in life, cut it down in half. Sometimes you have to say no. Sometimes you'll miss out on opportunities that you think could have taken you to the next level. Because it's always like, well, what if they don't call me anymore? That fear, you got to deal with that. I had to deal with it. I was like, you know what? I have to realize being present for me is my north star. If I'm split between all these different worlds, and I'm always thinking about what's next? What's next? What's next? Was I here? Did I live? Did I really live, or was I sort of spending so much time planning and worrying and worrying and rehearsing what could happen and what I need to do next?My fear was always messing up publicly or doing something that feeds into that perfectionism, that feeds into, I had to deal with rejection, abandonment issues, all of that. I literally had to go back to the root of where is this stemming from? But I didn't even know I was dealing with it because I was so in it.Janelle Monáe on Bringing The Party Everyday People To Her Wonderla

Janelle Monae; 'Cut it down in half. That's what Prince would say to his band'
Janelle Monáe joins Zane Lowe in studio on Apple Music 1 to discuss her new album 'The Age Of Pleasure’ due out this Friday. During the wide-ranging conversation, Monáe discusses her creative process, growth and evolution, AI and tech advancements, creating during the pandemic, facing her fears, advice from Prince, and more.

Janelle Monáe Tells Apple Music About Learning And Having Fun While Making Music…

Look, it never stops. Even with this album, this project, I'm just like, you know what? It takes work. I have to learn things all over again. I have to practice. I have to, and thank God, I love the songs. So it's always a fun thing to do. It's like starting on a blank canvas. I definitely have had an opportunity to evolve and grow and to tap into the things that bring me pleasure. The things that perhaps I should rethink and rework.

Janelle Monáe On What’s Most Important To Her During The Music Process…

Sometimes it really is just saying, you know what? Let's get back to the basics, and also let's honor the present. I think a lot of times, artists, at least the friends that I have, we talk about it and they're artists, we talk about making sure that we can enjoy life outside of what it is that we do. So if that's spending time with friends, reconnecting, having a game night, going to a beach if you can, taking more baths, doing things that perhaps, I think, pre-pandemic we probably would not have had enough time to do because our lives were set up in a way where we are of service. I'm of service all the time. I'm moving. I'm moving. I'm on tour, I'm doing an album, I'm doing a film, and all those things you love. You love, I've asked for it, I've prayed for it. But the balance has to be restored in all things. And we see that not in just our lives, but just in the world. Balance is super important.

Janelle Monáe Reflects On The Pandemic And Quarantine…

I think when the pandemic hit for me, touring, I had just come off Dirty Computer. I actually had just opened up for the Oscars. That was my last big, I haven't been on a big stage since 2020 Oscars, and then the pandemic hit and boom, touring. I was supposed to do some really, really cool things on the road. And all of that got canceled. And yeah, you had to sit. I had the opportunity, I mean, there are a lot of people who obviously didn't have the privilege that I had to be in a house and to have an opportunity to have that space-

Janelle Monáe On Running Her Independent Label, Wonderland…

We still move like Indie folks. We still put the ideas over money and how things will sell. Obviously, we want to be able to pay rent and mortgage and all those things, but we still believe in ideas and being of service, and creating quality, creative, innovative things that feel good to us first. And then, hopefully, folks are on that same frequency and have a need for it in their lives. So I've been fortunate to do that. But we keep a super family vibe, super small still. And a lot of us had to go through this pandemic, just really opening up, you know what I mean, talking about, "Hey, I need to take a break. I need to get some therapy for myself." And I feel like all of us have had to make lifestyle changes, all of it. All of us have had to just say, rethinking, just because you are in the matrix of this music industry, of this film industry. How to make sure that we're not of it and how to redefine what success feels like for us, to redefine what balance looks like for us, to redefine how do you play also while having fun. I mean, while working, excuse me. And having fun. How do we make this sexy again? How do we make this fun?

Janelle Monáe on What She Learned From Prince And How She Deals With Fear…

Cut it down in half. That's what Prince would say to his band. He would be like, sometimes when people have jitters or nervous or whatever, they play too fast or they're talking fast. He's like, "Cut everything down in half." And I take that approach in life, cut it down in half. Sometimes you have to say no. Sometimes you'll miss out on opportunities that you think could have taken you to the next level. Because it's always like, well, what if they don't call me anymore? That fear, you got to deal with that. I had to deal with it. I was like, you know what? I have to realize being present for me is my north star. If I'm split between all these different worlds, and I'm always thinking about what's next? What's next? What's next? Was I here? Did I live? Did I really live, or was I sort of spending so much time planning and worrying and worrying and rehearsing what could happen and what I need to do next?

My fear was always messing up publicly or doing something that feeds into that perfectionism, that feeds into, I had to deal with rejection, abandonment issues, all of that. I literally had to go back to the root of where is this stemming from? But I didn't even know I was dealing with it because I was so in it.

Janelle Monáe on Bringing The Party Everyday People To Her Wonderland Home…

So I have friends who have this party collected called Everyday People. Have you been to Everyday People Party? Let me tell you, the most beautiful brown and black folks from the continent, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Atlanta, LA, Jamaica, The Bahamas coming together and just partying and partying as strangers, as people who probably have never met, but they're smiling at each other. It's just so incredible. And the music reflects that. So it's like, I'm a piano, is reggae, it's dance hall, it's trap. It's like, and these are all my friends. So when I had an opportunity because they could not find a venue to host them because of the pandemic, and I was like, oh, come to my house.

And we had an Everyday People Wonderland party. And it was at that party Zane that I was like, oh, this is who I want to make music for. This moment right here, I want to make the soundtrack to this lifestyle. They get it. This is what we fight to protect. All of my work that centers around protecting, like my communities that I'm a part of, from the LGBTQIA plus communities to being black to all of that. I was like, this is the diaspora and I'm on this mushroom trip. I'm not going to say literally or figuratively, but I'm looking at, just I'm looking at God right now. And it was at that, one party that I had. Yeah. I'm looking at God work and say this is what you need to capture. If Nina Simone said, an artist's job is to reflect the times, Boy was a time had.

I was one with everybody. Listen, this was the type of party, I don't even know if I, like you come in, at four o'clock it start and you got one DJ by the time, and it's one sort of music. Everybody's coming in, getting their drinks. I'm going to set the scene for you, coming in, you getting your drinks. There's a pool outside. There's palm trees. Everybody's coming in, fully dressed, clothed, shaking each other's hands. There's food being prepared. There's chicken patties, there's oxtails, there's plantains, people still drinking, dah, dah, dah, dah. Then you go into the evening where the sun is going down.

Janelle Monáe On AI, Technology, And Being An Android…

My last, like since the beginning really of my career I've been talking about this moment and the fact that we're in it. I've been talking about Ray Kurzweil and the singularity is near, and how we're going to have to figure out how we're going to integrate because it's not going away. We're going to live in a world right now where you can't differentiate The Beatles from the, The AI Beatles from the Beach Boys. If they put it out and you hear it and you're like, oh, that's really them. That's really them. You can map out. You can hear. Did you notice a difference though when you heard it? Some of them I can't tell because I will say I listened to it. I mean Android is a human, has human characteristics. The computer, the thing that people are saying like robots don't have real feelings in humans. But I mean Androids are robots developing human characteristics. The definition of it. Cyborg is the other way around. What I do find value in is I love where we can stretch and evolve and understand the technology is always moving exponentially and Wow. Look what we can do. Look what this is. I was at a convention where I saw, from Boston Dynamics, the robots. What is the robot name? They do the flips. I saw this in person. Have you seen it in person? It's incredible. Because I thought the video, I mean I knew about these robots, but to see it in person was like, oh.

Janelle Monáe On The Music Leaving A Lasting Impact…

That's the beauty of music. I'll always have a song. I'll always have something that I want to create. And I think through creations, through art, through music, through my storytelling, all of that is what will be left behind. Those will be the artifacts. I feel like in terms of purpose, sometimes the mission changes, but what's been steady with me has been my job is to unite, is to unite and to be a free ass motherfucker. That's how I want to be remembered. I wasn't afraid to take risks and to completely crumble up the page and write a new one for myself, no matter who is watching, being able to change my mind on my thoughts and my beliefs and evolve and honor the present version of myself, not the past, not the future like I mentioned, but just really honoring what it means to be mentally, spiritually free. Not that I was perfect or I did everything well. That's not it. It's like how did I get up when things were not good for me?

Janelle Monáe On Her New Album “The Age of Pleasure”…

When I was writing the Age of Pleasure, I wrote it with friends for friends. This is for us. What I would do is if I knew we were having a party on that Friday or Saturday, on Monday and Tuesday, I'd be like, "All right. We're going to write three songs. If the songs can't work at the party, they're not going on the album." I have my friend, who is my DJ, DJ Nana Kwabena, he worked on some of the songs on the project with me, and I was like, "Just play it, put it after this song, we'll put it in the setlist." That's how we made the album.

Janelle Monáe on Playing The Song Lipstick Lover For The First Time …

It was a lot of winding of the hips, it was a lot of closeness. That's so funny, that song Lipstick Lover, I'm like, "Why didn't I write this song years ago?" Because if you know me ... Today, I don't have on any red lipstick but I'm always in red lipstick. There have been so many instances where I've made out with somebody at a party and it's dark, nobody notices it, but when the lights come on, whoever I've made out with, lipstick all over their face. Then I've also been on the receiving end of a human, who is so attractive ...

All the songs were written from such an honest space and what I'm super excited about with the Age of Pleasure is ... Listen, I've had my age of depression, I've had my age of anxiety, I've had my age of struggle, and, again, it's not like life is pleasurable every single day, but I think I have actively just sought out-

How do I create a space for myself? How do I redirect my mind on how I'm thinking about things? How do I realize that right now in this present moment, moments that we'll never get back, this is where you need to find your pleasure? This is your moment. Don't let it get confused like five minutes later, we're going to try to go into doing something different.