Janelle Monae is in the thick of a fierce rollout for her upcoming album "The Electric Lady," which has now received a Sept. 10 release date. Her signature style -- heavy on black-and-white outfits, funky dance grooves and optimal use of her wide-eyed facial expressions -- is on full display in the Erykah Badu-collaborating video for "Q.U.E.E.N." as well as her newly released song "Dance Apocalyptic."
The fresh track is one of Monae's most high-adrenaline offerings, combining a Jackson 5 vibe with a chorus that's reminiscent of Mark Ronson & The Business Intl's 2010 hit "Bang Bang Bang." It makes sense that "Apocalyptic" would sound Jackson-esque, as the singer is clearly in that sort of mood: The deluxe edition of "Electric Lady," released via an exclusive partnership with Target, will feature four additional tracks, including a cover of "I Want You Back." (A pre-order of "Lady" is available now.)
While no plans for a new round of Monae's mystic onstage presence have been announced, it seems inevitable that the 27-year-old singer will tour. In the meantime, she'll take the BET Awards stage on Sunday night and hold court as a performer at New Orleans' Essence Festival on July 7.
HuffPost Entertainment snagged a few minutes with Monae on Friday evening to discuss her Target partnership and how the singer feels about the inundation of album leaks that have punctured the music industry.
Hi, Janelle. Where are you calling from?
Los Angeles, Calif.
I know you have a ton of stuff going on right now. How did the Target partnership come about, and how you are feeling about its progress?
I’m honored. I’m thankful that I get the chance to partner with Target. I’ve been a business owner for the second time, and I produced my own CDs and I used to sell them out of my boarding house in Atlanta, Ga. People would literally knock on my door and buy my CDs for $5.
How old were you when this was going on?
I don’t believe in age. I was 50 years old. So what that being said, I am just grateful I can get the music to my fans who live in different states and they don’t have to fly and knock on my boarding-house door to get a CD. They can go directly in Target. My family, who live in Kansas, they can go directly in Target. Plus, as a business owner and someone who wants my music to reach as many people as possible, it’s an incredible partnership with Target.
These elaborate partnerships with places like Target and iTunes seem to be a big trend in the music industry right now. Jay-Z is doing Samsung right now. What do you think it adds to the business and how the album will play out commercially to adopt one of these partnerships that so many artists seem to be doing?
I’ve always been about partnering and figuring out the best way to serve the customer, and, you know, people shop at these places. The benefit of Target -- and I can only speak for myself -- is everyone goes there. It is a place where people go and they buy not just CDs, but lotion and so many different things. So I think times are changing, and as a businesswoman I own my own recording label and I want to have all of our music available in stores. And I think the great thing is I get to be who I am. Target doesn’t ask me to change who I am, or I haven’t felt the need to change who I am. I’m exactly Janelle Monae. We’re partnering to get my message out to as many people as possible, which is exactly what it’s all about.
We have a few months to go until the album hits stores, and over the past few years we’ve seen a huge proliferation of albums leaking. Is there anything you’re doing to hopefully prevent that between now and September?
Well, I have a patrol in from the future watching everyone in the present. All eyes are watching. And I mean, if that does happen, again, my goal has always been to get the music to the people, to inspire them, to uplift them. And everybody can’t afford music; it’s my gift. It doesn’t belong to me once it’s out there. It’s not mine anymore, it’s yours.
What do you think it says about the state of the music business and the digital world that people are leaking albums and jumping the gun on artists’ work?
Some artists wants their music to be leaked, honestly. I’ve heard stories where people do it; they’re professional leakers. Some artists want that to happen, I guess. But I’m not one to wish that or want that to happen. If it does, then it’s in the cards. I believe that things are gonna happen; they’re already predestined. I have very respectful fans and I just feel like this is my project. You’re cheating yourself if you don’t go through the full experience, the one that I’ve prepared, because I know from the beginning to end what is going to happen. So if you jump the gun and you go out of order, you won’t be able to fully enjoy the movie, if you come in on the middle of it. So I would just give a warning: You are not going to be able to maximize your full experience, and you should wait for what the artist says to do and when he or she releases the music.
Check out a video preview for "Dance Apocalyptic":
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LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 19: (L-R) Presenters Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae speak onstage during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 19, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Janelle Monae performs at the second weekend of the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Saturday, April 20, 2013 in Indio, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
INDIO, CA - APRIL 20: Singer Janelle Monae performs at 2013 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 2 at the Empire Polo Club on April 20, 2013 in Indio, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Coachella)
Janelle Monae in concert at Pearl Theater, Palms Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas.
In this picture made available on Wednesday, July 7, 2010, US singer Janelle Monae performs on the Miles Davis Hall stage at the 44th Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland, late Tuesday, July 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Keystone, Jean-Christophe Bott)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 21: Janelle Monae attends BlackBerry Z10 Launch Event at Best Buy Theater on March 21, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Janelle Monae speaks during the Leading Women Defined: Dorothy Height Luncheon at Ritz Carlton Hotel on February 28, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for BET)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Recording artist Janelle Monae attends Warner Music Group's 2013 Grammy Celebration at Chateau Marmont's Bar Marmont on February 10, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 02: Singer Janelle Monae performs onstage at Bud Light Presents Stevie Wonder and Gary Clark Jr. at the Bud Light Hotel on February 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images for Bud Light)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: UN Messenger of Peace Stevie Wonder (L) and singer Janelle Monae perform during the United Nations Day Concert at United Nations on October 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 13: Janelle Monae (L) and Alicia Keys attend BET's Black Girls Rock 2012 at Paradise Theater on October 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for BET)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 13: Singer Janelle Monae speaks onstage at BET's Black Girls Rock 2012 at Paradise Theater on October 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for BET)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 03: Singer Janelle Monae arrives at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards held at Gibson Amphitheatre on June 3, 2012 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 01: Singer Nate Ruess of Fun (L) and singer Janelle Monae perform at rehearsals for the 2012 MTV Movie Awards on June 1, 2012 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Janelle Monae attends the 'Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations' Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 02: Janelle Monae performs live on stage during the second day of the Wireless Festival at Hyde Park on July 2, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Musicians Janelle Monae and Bruno Mars attend the 'Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty' Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Singer Janelle Monae performs onstage during The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Singers Beyonce and Janelle Monae attend The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images For The Recording Academy)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Producer Clive Davis and singer Janelle Monae arrive at the 2011 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen at Beverly Hilton on February 12, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images For The Recording Academy)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10: Janelle Monae attends the Ralph Lauren celebration of Fashion's Night Out at Ralph Lauren Soho on September 10, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Ralph Lauren)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 27: Singer Janelle Monae performs a tribute to Prince onstage during the 2010 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)