VIBE: Your new album The ArchAndroid has been described as everything from a genre-melding breath-of-fresh-air to downright peculiar. How would you describe your sound?
Janelle Monáe: Well, I definitely don’t consider myself that weird [Laughs]. I don’t experiment for the sake of creating bad experimental music just to prove that I’m an artist. I just like great music. My music needs to sound good; it needs to make me move; my music needs to evoke emotions that I want to feel and that I want others to feel as well.
I work with the same team that I’ve been working with since the beginning: Nate Wonder and Chuck Lightening of Wonderland. When we were making The ArchAndroid we didn’t go and say, “Oh, we want to make an album that sounds like this!” We just experimented with different sounds. There’s no gray area in that and I’ve been blessed to have my supporters really love and gravitate towards my sound and my taste.—As told to Keith Murphy