5 Takeaways From Pitchfork’s Epic Janelle Monáe Story

Get ready for the new album. It's out next week.

By Jamilah King Sep 05, 2013

With Janelle Monáe’s sophomore album "The Electric Lady" due out on September 10, Pitchfork offers a sneak preview of what fans can expect. The story itself is pretty a pretty epic accomplishment of multimedia journalism and includes a digital stream of the new album. But here are some of the most interesting facts I picked up from it:

Monáe and her Wondaland Arts Society Take An Almost Scientific Approach to Art

The house is decked out for creative purposes in a highly studied way, as if someone has been reading up on Prince’s Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota, or Jack White’s Third Man Headquarters in Nashville. Monáe has another home to herself in the Atlanta area, but she sleeps, eats, and breathes Wondaland when she’s in work mode.

She tested the new album out at some Atlanta-area strip clubs.

At one point, they brought early versions of tracks to Atlanta’s fabled strip clubs to see what the women there could dance to–a somewhat surprising move considering Monáe’s android-obsessed subject matter is light years away from the champagne room.

Despite her loyal fanbase, Monáe hasn’t quite taken off — yet.

On one hand, she’s got Prince making the case that she should be on stage at the biggest annual televised celebration of black music. On the other hand, she kind of needs Prince to make the case that she should be on stage at the biggest annual televised celebration of black music. It is sometimes easier to like the idea of her–a whirling, twirling, fantastical funk robot in a tux, a firecracker of a live performer, a young woman who runs her own tight creative ship–than it is to forge a natural connection with her music and persona. With The Electric Lady, she has a chance to change that.

George Lucas is a big fan.

Star Wars mastermind George Lucas flew Monáe out to his Skywalker Ranch in California to give an intimate performance on the property.

Therapy is a really important part of her life.

"I didn’t like the idea of therapy at first," she continues. "In the black community, nobody goes to therapy. You go to your pastor or you go to the Bible. There’s a stigma." Monáe, who grew up in a devout Christian family, still says grace before meals. "But I think God blesses us with brains to find medicine, to find cures, and I don’t believe in not using that. Therapists are there to listen."