Janelle Monae is a rarity: an artist who has such a singular yet palatable vision and sound that she reignites a cynic’s excitement for music in the post-aughts. By blending everything from high-minded cinematic score with funky R&B and classic rock, the 26-year-old stunned her fan base with her debut album “The ArchAndroid.” Monae spoke to Metro about the process of topping what has already been considered a modern masterpiece.
Are you done recording your next album?
Oh, no. I’m constantly recording, recording now. It’s a very exciting time. We’ve been on tour and I’ve had the opportunity to visit so many places and meet so many people. We’ve had the pleasure of touring with Stevie Wonder and Prince. We’re in an extremely creative mode, and we’re making sure we’re going to be able to execute [it] properly.
Have you or the label set a date for the album’s release or are you just letting it evolve?
Well, I don’t know the date of when the scarecrow meets the villain in Metropolis and the Metropolis wipes out everyone in the 22nd century.
You had a lot of guest artists on the last album. Can you tell me about anyone who might be appearing on the new one?
Well, on the last album, I didn’t have many guest artists. That’s just that it’s only close friends that I’m a fan of their music, like Saul Williams and Kevin Barnes [from Of Montreal] ... just a really close family of us don’t believe in the politics of working with people because their celebrity status.
What’s your approach to this new album?
The concepts will be stronger, will be very relatable to the people that I think about, like working class and working each and every day — just creating medicine for them, an experience, and a motion picture for them. Again, we’re not in the business of getting rid of a formula that is ours, so we’re staying true to our roots while at the same time creating more formulas.