Pop Quiz: Janelle Monáe


Aidin Vaziri | Of course Janelle Monáe is going to perform with the San Francisco Symphony. The 27-year-old Kansas City, Kan., native is one of the most ambitious pop stars going, capable of making her own extravagantly conceptual solo albums while crashing the pop charts as a guest vocalist on the hit “We Are Young” by the band Fun. The singer and CoverGirl spokeswoman just released a single, “Q.U.E.E.N.,” a duet with Erykah Badu offering a taste of her forthcoming album, “The Electric Lady.” Monáe performs May 16 at Davies Symphony Hall.

Q: The dress code suggests creative black tie – like every day for you. Have you given some thought to what you’re going to wear?

A: I have. It’s going to be a surprise. Who knows? I may wear a pair of jeans. I may wear nothing at all. I do know I’ll be using my voice and all my electricity to give a performance people will not forget.

Q: Your music is wildly ambitious. Does it get frustrating waiting for the rest of the world to catch up?

A: I definitely consider myself a time traveler – I was meant to be able to go into different time periods and have transcendent ideas. I also don’t think everyone should know who I am. I don’t do this to make hits; I do it for love. Any opportunity I have to share it is great, but I never wanted to be the most popular girl in the world. I want to create music that changes peoples lives, that inspires people, that makes people want to dance.


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