Sometime in the early/mid-summer of 2009, a music-friend sent me a text message telling me to check out a new artist named Janelle Monae. The message said that she had just teamed up with Big Boi (Outkast), released a new video, and that I would love her sound. He followed that up with another text saying: "be on the watch for her blowing up very soon."
The first thing I remember watching of hers was the video for "Cold War," where around the 1:30 mark she starts to cry while singing the lyric "I was made to believe there's something wrong with me." I've been dying to know the backstory ever since that day, and she kindly answered the question when I asked her about it (off-mic, sorry) this afternoon. From that day, I became a Janelle Monae fan-boy.
Her new album, "The Electric Lady" (released on September 10th), features cameos from Miguel, Erykah Badu, Solange Knowles, and PRINCE. It's safe to say that my friend was right; Janelle Monae is blowing up. She's been nominated for six Grammy's, is a spokesperson for CoverGirl, and has been leaving a trail of sold-out shows in her wake. After dozens of magazine covers, tons of Late Night performances, and fresh-off performing "Dance Apocalyptic" on SNL - I was thrilled just to meet her, and to say I was excited to interview her would be an understatement (you can clearly hear how nervous I am the whole time.)
We chatted about the new album, where she got her start (Church, Big Boi, P. Diddy), and finished it off with a Lightning Round of questions. Watch her latest video for the song "Prime Time" featuring Miguel, and then listen to the full interview below.