This exclusive Janelle Monae interview was conducted by The Future Tense as part of the ON/OFF project.

Details of ON/OFF can be found here and a full list of featured interviews can be found here.

Each artist was asked the same series of questions relating to the live music experience, before being photographed just before and again immediately after performing.


Band: Janelle Monae

Interviewee: Janelle Monae

Venue: Alexandra Palace, London

Date: December 4th 2010

What is your most memorable live moment as a fan?

I think probably it was a performance I saw at the Montreux Jazz Festival. It was already a special day because Prince and Quincy Jones came to see us perform, but then they took us upstairs to see this German folk band. Unfortunately the name escapes me, but I can remember the performance well. They made everybody in the audience sit down low on the floor, and it’s amazing the difference it made to the dynamic in the room and the way people responded to the performance.

What is your most memorable live moment as a performer?

I really enjoyed doing the tribute to Prince. It was such an electrifying moment. I did ‘Let’s go crazy,’ which is a song that I connect with very well in terms of the lyrics, which is always important to me.

Have you had any disasters on stage?

I had some guy jump right up onto the stage and grab me at the end of one performance! The security had to drag me off stage. It was very dramatic, but the guy was just overexcited rather than aggressive.

Do you have any live performance aspirations?

I’ve always wanted to play in South Africa and Brazil. Brazil is such an inspirational place for live music. It’s so organic, and the instruments are so beautifully crafted. I’m going there soon with Amy Winehouse, so I’m really excited about that.

Any pre/post performance rituals?

I try not to use the rest rooms before going on stage. I find it gives my performance a sense of urgency!

A full list of featured artists and interviews can be found here.