Janelle Monae recently opened up about her latest album and her collaboration with Esperanza Spalding.
The pompadoured R&B star made the comments while speaking to Power 98FM ahead of the release of her upcoming album The Electric Lady, which is due for release September 10.
The album features an array of special guests, including Miguel, Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spalding, and Prince. The first single from the album is titled “Q.U.E.E.N,” which stands for Queers, Untouchables, Exiled, Emigrants, and Negroids, features Erykah Badu and has already proven to be a hit.
“I think with Q.U.E.E.N both of us really want to help move our communities forward,” Monae said of the song’s motivations. She continued:
“I think [Erykah has] done a remarkable job with her music, especially for our people, for black people, and what we wanted to do was an anthem for those who feel marginalized, and women are. We need to be in control of our bodies. There are a lot of different judgments that people place on us, and tell us that we can’t do xyz, so we wanted to create that empowerment song for the underdog, and that’s what we did.”
Monae’s collaboration with Esperanza Spalding is titled “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes.” When asked if there is a connection between her song and the 1981 hit single “Bette Davis Eyes,” Monae revealed: “I love Bette Davis Eyes, but I wanted to pay homage to our people though, and I wanted to make sure that with this album I explore R&B alot. But, I didn’t want to do the marginalization of R&B like you hear things now that are very similar. I wanted to do the diverse aspects of R&B”
“So I went back to Bo Diddley… This is a black man from America, he inspired the Rolling Stones, the Beatles. He’s the originator of R&B music.”
In an interview with The Jazz Line in June, saxophonist Dave Koz commented that he would like to see a collaboration between Monae and Spalding. It seems he will get his chance.