Janelle Monae just released their latest album, “The Age of Pleasure,” on Friday. In promotion of it, they did an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe and talked about their inspirations and thought process. I sometimes find Zane Lowe’s interviews a little annoying — he knows his stuff, but can talk over the guests too much — but this one was a good one. In particular, Janelle talked about some advice Prince shared that she still takes to heart.
It’s been several years since Janelle Monáe worked with Prince on 2013’s The Electric Lady and beyond, but the musician still holds his advice close.
In a new interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, the multi-hyphenate star revealed what the late superstar taught them about overcoming nerves — in both music and life.
“Cut it down in half. That’s what Prince would say to his band,” Monáe, 37, shared. “He would be like, sometimes when people have jitters or nervous or whatever, they play too fast or they’re talking fast. He’s like, ‘Cut everything down in half.’ ”
“And I take that approach in life, cut it down in half,” Monáe added.
As the musician explained, “Sometimes you have to say no,” and “Sometimes you’ll miss out on opportunities that you think could have taken you to the next level.”
“Because it’s always like, well, what if they don’t call me anymore? That fear, you got to deal with that. I had to deal with it,” they then said. “I was like, you know what? I have to realize being present for me is my north star.”
“If I’m split between all these different worlds, and I’m always thinking about what’s next? What’s next? What’s next? Was I here? Did I live? Did I really live, or was I sort of spending so much time planning and worrying and worrying and rehearsing what could happen and what I need to do next,” they added.
“My fear was always messing up publicly or doing something that feeds into that perfectionism, that feeds into, I had to deal with rejection, abandonment issues, all of that. I literally had to go back to the root of where is this stemming from? But I didn’t even know I was dealing with it because I was so in it.”
Apparently Janelle and Prince were quite close after working together in 2013 and his death affected her so that she took a break from music when she no longer had him as a sounding board. I do think Prince’s advice to Janelle is applicable to everyone, not just in music, but in life. I’m a big proponent of the “cut everything down in half” approach. Maybe it’s because I’ve observed it a lot, in others and myself, but when you do things too fast, without thinking it through or taking the time to do it properly, you definitely don’t get the best results. And certainly the advice about sometimes saying no goes with that as well. You may miss out on some opportunities by saying no, but it does also open you up to other opportunities that may not have been available had you said yes to the first thing. Maybe they’re not the exact same or same type of opportunities, but they’re opportunities all the same. I like how Janelle frames it here, by talking about being present in one world instead of split between a million different things.
Photos credit: Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Avalon, Shotgetter/Backgrid and via Instagram