"The Electric Lady" -- The album that will turn the singer from iconoclast to icon
Today, she's wearing a checkerboard blazer, while her longtime producers from Deep Cotton, Nate "Rocket" Wonder and Chuck Lightning, opt for straightforward black. There is no one like the trio, dressed in black-tie attire at 2 in the afternoon, and every minute of every other day, at least in public. On The ArchAndroid's "Faster" and on "Q.U.E.E.N.," Monáe rhetorically wonders if she's a "weirdo" or a "freak," but fans recognize her steadfast adhesion to her own aesthetics as not compromising principles for the sake of easy fame. "I never liked people telling me what to do," she says. "I also wanted to own something: I've always had this thought of owning my own label, of being in charge of my words, my art, everything you hear. My goal wasn't to be the most famous person overnight -- it was to make music on my own terms, develop myself and understand if my words were necessary to young people like myself and to make my family proud."
This is an excerpt. For the complete story, buy this week's issue of Billboard.