Janelle Monáe is currently trekking around the country with Bruno Mars, but her busy touring schedule hasn’t prevented her from working on what will become the follow-up to 2010’s The ArchAndroid. Speaking with Hive recently, Monáe confirmed that she has been “recording, writing, [and] playing instruments” for her next record.
The new set — which will likely be released on Monáe’s own label Wondaland Arts Society via Bad Boy/Atlantic Records — aims to be larger in scope than The ArchAndroid and its predecessor, 2007’s EP Metropolis.
“This album will have very strong concepts and bigger ideas and the music will just go forward to another level,” Monáe tells Hive. “It will still be, I believe, relatable to the people. We have a really big ideas, I must say, and we’re just trying to make sure we execute them properly.”
Monáe’s prior two releases were thematically connected as two parts of a narrative whole, strongly rooted in science fiction, imagining a world inhabited by Monae’s robotic alter ego Cindi Mayweather. Although Monae won’t acknowledge whether her next project will exist in the same realm as those albums, she does have some specific aims for the music she creates — both in the near and the distant future.
“The concepts will be very strong,” Monáe said. “That’s really what I can say … I don’t plan on stopping the formula or stopping myself from creating new formulas. My message is that I want to reach the people – the people who work each and every day. I want to create music that will be their choice of drug whenever they feel oppressed or depressed. [I want to] create something that will remain timeless, hopefully, and the next generation can be inspired by it. And creating a blueprint — one where people can understand that you don’t have to take the same coordinates to get to the same destination. But it will be jamming. I will say that much. It’s gonna be jamming.”
So when will the new album hit proverbial shelves? Well, we’ll leave this one to Monae. “When the frog leaps on me and I rise and take a shower, and the rain drips down on my back,” Monáe says. “I pick it up and a message appears: ‘It’s time. It’s time, child. Move forward.’”