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Janelle Monae Talks About The Twilight Zone & Reveals Her Past Life As A Maid In BUST Magazine

Submitted by on July 25, 2013 – 11:26 amNo Comment

Janelle Monae may be The Electric Lady now. But before she was famous, the singer made a living selling electronics at Office Depot. In the latest issue of BUST, the 27-year-old singer and CoverGirl spokemodel talks about life before fame and the odd jobs that paid the bills.

“After high school, I needed money to go to New York, but nobody would hire me,” she revealed in the August/September issue. “Then this lady from my church who was the supervisor at a cleaning service said, ‘Come here and I’ll hire you.’ I was the youngest maid there, and all the women would ask me to sing while we cleaned. I was the only one with a clean record. A lot of the women were ex-convicts trying to get back on their feet. That was one of the most interesting jobs I’ve had. Then, when I moved to Atlanta, I worked at Office Depot. I got fired from that job because they caught me using the computer at the store to respond to my fans who had seen me perform. After that, I didn’t work any more. It was time. It was all or nothing. I pressed my own EP, The Audition, and I sold it for five dollars while living in a boarding house with five other girls.”

The Audition helped Monae garner the attention of Bad Boy Records, who signed her to their label. And in 2010, she released her sci-fi influenced debut studio album, The ArchAndroid. “I would always watch The Twilight Zone with my grandmother, and I knew about Star Wars and things. But when I met [my producing partners] Chuck Lightning and Nate Wonder, they got me into Isaac Asimov, artificial intelligence, and cybernetics. Chuck asked me to watch Metropolis, and I was like, Wow,” Monae says of her conceptual EP, Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase).

She continued, “I saw the parallels between growing up in Kansas City and the have-nots living underground, working for the haves. That constant struggle was something I could identify with because my parents worked day and night, trying to make a living. I thought science fiction was a great way of talking about the future. It doesn’t make people feel like you’re talking about things that are happening right now, so they don’t feel like you’re talking down to them. It gives the listener a different perspective.”

Click here to read Janelle’s full interview with BUST and pre-order The Electric Lady, which hits stores September 10, on iTunes now.


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