Janelle Monaé is back with not one, but two tracks for our earbuds. On Thursday (Feb. 22), the multi-talented entertainer released the fun and flirty “Make Me Feel” on Beats 1 as well as the bold “Django Jane.”
Chatting with Zane Lowe for the premiere of “Make Me Feel,” Monaé shared how the track is a testament her promise to be more free in her music. “We had to keep it where it was funky,” she said. “We were just up all night, you know, in the groove you know in the pocket. And one of the things that I love is that this song captures the fun that I love having you in the studio. The freedom that I love having. The freedom that I talk about. I hope that it comes across as such that I was able to capture that freedom and that fearlessness about embracing your uniqueness and who you are and doing it with the people you love. You hear a lot of love in that song, you hear a lot of freedom, you hear a lot of just excitement about life and about new music and about what it means to just be living right now and living your dreams and just being creative and being fearless in the way that you approach art and approach music and approach life.”
Monaé kept the creation of “Make Me Feel” partially in house with Wondaland brethren Nate “Rocket” Wonder and Chuck Lightning of the band Deep Cotton. Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Julia Michaels also assisted in the song-making process.” Julia Michaels, I love her as a writer, as an artist,” she said of the “Issues” singer. “She really did help bring out the lyrics with me and you know just a lot of musicians came in a different points and just added funk to it.”
The video for “Make Me Feel” takes a turn for the sexy and mystique. Directed by Alan Ferguson, Janelle is caught between two lovers: a edgy rocker guy and a free spirited Tessa Thompson. The artist released a teaser just a few days ago about the “emotion picture.”
“Django Jane” is an ode to Monaé’s beautiful ego. Her talent has extended over the mic in recent years, with her starring roles in the award-winning films Moonlight and Hidden Figures. She’s also helped welcome musical wunderkinds Jidenna and St. Beauty into our melaninated magic playlists. The video was directed by Andrew Donoho and Lightning.
Both tracks will appear on Dirty Computer, her first album since 2013’s Electric Lady. Monaé explained to Zane how she always wanted to release an album as free and honest as Dirty Computer, long before her “Android” journey.
“I actually had this title on this concept before my first album The ArchAndriod and it scared me because a lot of the things that I knew that I needed to say were very deep, very personal, from the heart,” she said. “You know this is an extremely vulnerable album and it took me a while to make it because I’m a self editor. I self edit myself a lot. I’m like, ‘I don’t want to talk about this, I don’t want to talk about that.’ I had to kind of have people at Wonderland on my team to hold me accountable to it. They were like, ‘OK, you said you wanted to make this album before your first album, this is the opportunity for you to just really choose honesty over mystery.’ I know that there are a lot of things that I haven’t discussed and I think this is the album that you’ll get an opportunity to get a closer glimpse into my mind and into my heart.”
But the album she shares, is also for her day ones. “I know that my supporters, my early adopters, my fan-droids, new people, people who’ve been with me since I was working at Office Depot are here and I want to give them an experience, something that they’ll never forget,” she shared.
Jam out to “Make Me Feel” and “Django Jane” and pre-order Dirty Computer here.