ATLien Janelle Monáe set the internet on fire with the release of her stunning visuals for two singles off of her highly anticipated upcoming album Dirty Computer (her first since 2013).
In her first release, lead single “Make Me Feel”, the ’80s-inspired futuristic funk infused track seemingly channels inspiration from the artist Monáe has credited with being a major influence in her career and this album, the purple one himself, Prince. The Alan Ferguson-directed video co-stars Tessa Thompson as one of two potential love interests exploring androgynous flirtation and serving as the basis of identity for Monáe.
“Make Me Feel”, we recorded it at my studio, Wonderland Studios in Atlanta, Georgia,” Janelle said. “We had to keep it where it was funky. We were just up all night, you know, in the groove you know in the pocket. And one of the things that I love is that this song captures the fun that I love having you in the studio. The freedom that I love having. The freedom that I talk about. I hope that it comes across as such that I was able to capture that freedom and that fearlessness about embracing your uniqueness and who you are and doing it with the people you love. You hear a lot of love in that song, you hear a lot of freedom, you hear a lot of just excitement about life and about new music and about what it means to just be living right now and living your dreams and just being creative and being fearless in the way that you approach art and approach music and approach life.
As if she wasn’t clear enough with the initial release, Monáe drops her second visual for “Django Jane” an hour later. The Andrew Donoho, Chuck Lightning and Lacey Duke directed video features the emboldened beauty positioned in confidence and power as she raps a personal narrative of black girl magic and feminine empowerment.
During her interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 Radio, Monáe explains that the new direction of her new project is liberating but definitely has her feeling a little afraid of being so vulnerable on record.
“You know what I’m going to be 100 percent honest, I’m scared. I’m actually terrified. I mean yeah it’s such an honest body of work and I don’t know how people are going to react to it, Zane. I really, I don’t know” Janelle said. “Just the thought of it is kind of freaking me out a little bit but I feel like it’s something that I need to do. It’s something that I always knew I needed to do and it’s going to happen. The album is going to happen, it’s coming. You know all I can say is at least I’ve been very honest. That’s all I can really do as an artist.”
Janelle Monae’s third album Dirty Computer arrives April 27.
Check out both videos below and listen to her interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 here.