Janelle Monáe made her mark with her signature tuxedo-glam style, a funky sound and futuristic lyrics. Now the "Q.U.E.E.N." is back and she wants you to join the "experience" that is Electric Lady.
On her 19-track sophomore effort, Monáe continues the journey of her alter ego, Cindi Mayweather, who was first introduced on her 2007 EP, Metropolis, and appeared again on her debut, The ArchAndroid.
This new album, out Tuesday (September 10), also pulls from a variety of different genres — from R&B and rock to hip-hop and jazz — for an album the singer describes as "undefinable."
"This album isn't to be marginalized. It is of hope, of inspiration and of love," Monáe told MTV News when we spoke to her after her New York Fashion Week performance for designer Rebecca Minkoff's show. "It is to encourage a million electric ladies to build and come into existence, and 'electric lady' does not have a particular skin color or hair texture but our communality is community and wanting to nurture the community and knowing that we have to be the change."
Monáe, who's also a face of COVERGIRL, revealed that she was extremely involved in the production process of Electric Lady, bringing in an orchestra, live strings and horn players, as well as a host of star-studded collaborators, including Erykah Badu, Miguel, Solange Knowles, Cee Lo Green, Big Boi and, one of her "musical heroes," Prince.
"I'm still pinching myself," Monáe said of working with those artists. "I'm just in disbelief that I've gotten the opportunity to work with these incredible people and the job is not done — we still have to get this music out to people. People need to know about it. I feel like there's some great messages on this album. I'm surprised by them and usually I love my work, but when you are an artist you are so busy performing it that you can become numb to the things that you say, but I am genuinely inspired by this album."