"We are great friends, and he is a mentor to us, to me," she says of Prince. "It's a beautiful thing to have a friend -- someone who cares about your career, and wants to see you go far and to push boundaries and shake up the world -- give whatever they possibly can to the cause."
Monáe jumped at the opportunity to work with her iconic friend, who is not exactly known for making guest appearances.
"I had a chance to produce an icon," says Monáe, who is keeping the name of their song under wraps. "It's not every day that he collaborates. I'm honored and humbled that he trusted me. He is forever my friend, and I am forever indebted. I can't say too much else about it."
Meanwhile, Miguel guests on the glimmering "Primetime," which interpolates the Pixies' famous "Where Is My Mind?" "ooh" section atop a spare funk beat. It's a love duet that builds on harmonies and the chorus -- "Primetime for our love/Heaven is bettin' on us" -- and unites their glossy croons so well one can almost feel them melting into one another.
The album's first single, Q.U.E.E.N.," happens to be a collaboration with another well-known artist: Erykah Badu. The junk jam, which has a corresponding music video, has sold 31,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Read an excerpt of Julianne Escobedo Shepherd's cover story on Janelle Monáe... or you could always buy the issue right here.