checked in with Janelle Monáe, who rocked the Main Stage at the ESSENCE Festival in July and curated the CoverGirl Superlounge, which included performances by Chrisette Michele, Deep Cotton, Roman and St. Beauty.

During candid interviews, the Kansas City native opened up about everything from the inspiration behind her unique sound that’s filled with elements of soul, funk, and rock ‘n’ roll to her admiration for Erykah Badu.

Janelle shares about her love of performing live and collaborating with Erykah Badu on “Q.U.E.E.N.”:

Janelle on how her Wondaland Arts Society label works to keep creativity alive in music:

Janelle on how Queen Latifah inspires her and why she loves being a CoverGirl: