Janelle Monáe, who graces the cover of ESSENCE magazine’s May issue, will rock the ESSENCE Festival mainstage in New Orleans on Sunday, July 7. Janelle recently paid a visit to the ESSENCE office to discuss her upcoming performance.
ESSENCEFestival.com: What should people expect from your ESSENCE Festival performance on July 7 in New Orleans?
Janelle Monáe: I’m really excited to be a part of the ESSENCE Festival mainstage. I love performing and it gives me such great joy to share music, have people listen, and expect the unexpected. I believe in the element of surprise and in being raw. I don’t choreograph. I don’t even know what it is that I will do, but I believe in excellence and giving a quality performance each and every time.
ESSENCEFestival.com: Do you follow any special rituals before walking out on stage?
Monáe: It’s really just talking to the crew, hugging and telling them thanks for setting things up. I like working with people who are excited about working with me. Sometimes some people think that as an artist you’re a certain way, and I want to let them know we’re a team for today. Let’s give a hell of a show.
ESSENCEFestival.com: What do you love most about New Orleans?
Monáe: I love the food in New Orleans. I love seafood, from shrimp to crab legs. I also love the weather, the people and their accents. It just feels good. I live in Atlanta, Georgia, so I love when I hear a Southern accent. It’s slightly different from an Atlanta accent. I also love that it’s a music city. I see people on the street performing and singing from their hearts because they love music. It’s always a good vibe when I’m there.
ESSENCEFestival.com: How do you keep your music fresh and unique?
Monáe: One of my core values is to stay committed to innovation. I go out, read different books and listen to different genres of music. I keep a very diverse palate for music, but I‘ve always had a deep appreciation for live music and art in general. I believe that it can change the world for better perspective. It has great influence. It’s up to us as artists to bring new ideas to the music industry to stay innovative and make sure we’re committed to quality music and a quality message.
Additional reporting by Trinket Lewis