Janelle Monáe’s music is often called futuristic. That’s partly due to her subject matter: Her breakthrough releases, the 2007 EP Metropolis and the 2010 album The ArchAndroid, form a connected story arc about a robot who falls in love with a human. But moreover, the work of the 27-year-old singer is difficult to classify — rooted in R&B but pulling from too many different genres to count.
Monae’s latest album, The Electric Lady, is out Tuesday, and features appearances from some fellow envelope-pushers. Jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding and R&B singer Miguel both feature on the record, as do Monáe’s mentor Erykah Badu and an unexpected fan: Prince.
“With this particular album, I wanted to go through R&B music that ranges from people like Bo Diddley to Jimi Hendrix to classical music,” Monáe says. “That’s what I love doing, is playing with all these different styles of music and creating something that just has not been heard.”
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