Earlier this week we were invited to join Janelle Monae for an exclusive playback of her new album The Electric Lady. Held on a gorgeous rooftop bar in Central London, the event quickly turned into an impromptu concert starring Monae and her Wonderland Arts Society.
During the playback we were played six new songs including ‘Q.U.E.E.N’, the albums monumental title track and her duet with R&B singer Miguel called ‘Primetime’. She also teased about a third album collaborator that she was excited about but was “unable” to announce; We instantly presumed it was Prince… And we were right. In a new cover story interview with Billboard The Archandroid singer confirms her Purple collaboration saying “I had a chance to produce an icon… It’s not every day that [Prince] collaborates. I’m honoured and humbled that he trusted me. He is forever my friend and I am forever indebted. I can’t say too much else about it”.
Epic collaborations aside the most notable revelation during the playback was Janelle’s new found openness to discuss (and sing) about her personal life and her experiences with love and relationships; Themes we are not necessarily accustomed to her being so directly forthright about. The new songs on The Electric Lady are still charged with the same kinetic energy as her previous works, only this time everything sounds suitably more… Accessible. Something particularly discernible on the Miguel collaboration.
The Archandroid was an irrefutable triumph which on release received universal acclaim – it didn’t however earn the mainstream attention many felt it deserved (a tragic truth traceable to some of the best albums in history). And although a single listen of any track is never enough to decisively conclude anything, what is certain is that The Electric Lady is going to surprise a lot people when it’s released in September.