Janelle Monae’s feisty and energetic music gained her stardom, while her stage presence gives her instant comparisons to James Brown. Her unique style turns heads and also landed her a page in the September 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, where she dishes on her style, background, and how she feels her dancing style has grown.
When Vanity Fair Editor Lisa Robinson asked about the consistent theme of black and white in Monae’s wardrobe, the trend-setter says it’s a brand she’s created. “It’s a part of something that’s transcendent,” she explains. “You could time travel, you could go all over the world, it won’t ever go out of style…I know what I like.”
And she clearly likes the stage. Try love. The pint-sized performer says creating is in her DNA despite her upbringing and what she saw growing up in Kansas. “I don’t even know what age it started because it’s always been there…My father is clean now, but he was on drugs before,” she recalls. “I was working as soon as I could, as a maid, at Office Depot. Statistics say I should be somewhere else,” she says.
But she made it out due to her love of music; she’s a Lauryn Hill, Public Enemy, and Marvin Gaye fan just to name a few. “I can go from Judy Garland to Jimi Hendrix to Stevie Wonder to Rachmaninoff,” adds Monae.
Ironically, Monae tells Robinson she’s never really seen James Brown dance, and that she hadn’t always had smooth, funky moves. The free spirit explains how her high-energy stage presence was actually more energetic in the past. “I actually used to dance way crazier. I’m still very free, but now I’m more chaotically refined,” she says.
Check out the rest of the interview in the September issue of Vanity Fair.