Janelle Monáe Details "Lipstick Lover" & New Album With Zane Lowe: 4 Takeaways

Janelle Monáe is gearing up for a new season with the announcement of "The Age of Pleasure" & release of her anticipated "Lipstick Lover" single.

BYErika Marie
janelle monae zane lowe

Attention has been once again focused on Janelle Monáe. Not only has she announced a new album, The Age of Pleasure, but she's shared her much-talked-about single, "Lipstick Lover." Social media chatter has been at an all-time high about Ms. Monáe, especially after videos of the multihyphenate artist dancing at a private party. Monáe's eclectic style has also captured the hearts of fans across several genres. Her additions to Pop, Hip Hop, R&B, and more have set her apart in an industry of copycats.

The set off this new season, Janelle Monáe sat down with none other than Zane Lowe for Apple Music 1. During their chat, the singer discussed "Lipstick Lover" and what can be expected from The Age of Pleasure. It's always a wild, yet enjoyable ride when Monáe is in her bag, so here are a few takeaways from her Apple Music 1 interview.

The Make-Out Inspiration Behind “Lipstick Lover”

"That song, 'Lipstick Lover,' ugh. I'm like, 'Why didn't I write this song years ago?' Because if you know me… Today, I don't have on any red lipstick, but I'm always in red lipstick. And there have been so many instances where I've made out with somebody at a party, and it's dark. Nobody notices it. But when the lights come on, whoever I've made out with, lipstick all over their face. And then, I've also been on the receiving end of a human…who’s so attractive….or I'll get home, and I'm like, 'Oh my God. I have lipstick all over my face.' I've also been the Lipstick Lover where you know exactly who I kissed."

Janelle Monaé Previews The Age of Pleasure

"All the songs were written from such an honest space. Look, it never stops. Even with this album, this project. I'm just like, 'You know what? It takes work.' I have to learn things all over again, I have to practice, I have to… And thank God I love the songs. Yeah. So, it's always a fun thing to do, too. It's like starting on a blank canvas."

"So, I hope that people feel that when they listen to the music, that they feel that when they come and encounter with me when I'm around, I definitely have had an opportunity to evolve and grow and to tap into the things that bring me pleasure. The things that perhaps I should rethink and rework. Sometimes, it really is just saying, 'You know what? Let's get back to the basics, and also let's honor the present.'"

Bringing In A New "Age"

"What I'm super excited about with The Age of Pleasure. The Age of Pleasure is that… Listen, I've had my Age of Depression. I've had my Age of Anxiety. I've had my Age of Struggle. And again, it's not like life is pleasurable every single day, but I think I have actively just sought out, how do I create a space for myself? How do I redirect my mind on how I'm thinking about things? How do I realize that right now, in this present moment, moments that we'll never get back, this is where you need to find your pleasure?

"This is your moment. Don't let it get confused that five minutes later, we're going to try to go into doing something different. And again, this is just my experience where I'm at, even though, despite what I may be going through, there's going to be a moment where this bad moment, I won't even be around to even discuss it. I won’t."

Testing Out Material From The New Album

"When I was writing The Age of Pleasure, I wrote it with friends, four friends. I was just like, 'If my friends f*ck with this, this is for us.' Because when we are together, I want them to want to play it. And what I would do is if I knew we were having a party on that Friday or Saturday, on Monday and Tuesday, I'd be like, 'All right. We're going to write three songs.' If the songs can't work at the party, they're not going on the album. I was like, 'If people are not trying to Shazam…' Because I was like, 'Don't say it's me. Don't.' If they know…whatever. I need them Shazaming.

"I have my friend who's my DJ. He worked on some of the songs on the project with me. I was like, 'Just play it. Put it after this song.' We put it in the setlist. And that's how we made the album. I was walking around. I was so scared. I almost went to the bathroom one time. But 'Float,' we did that. 'Lipstick Lover,' we did like that. I have a song called 'Champagne Machine' that's on there. I don't want to give away too much, but basically every song that you'll hear on the project, that's how I did it. I want it to be so specific to this Pan-African crowd who are my friends. I want it to be a love letter to the diaspora. And if they f*ck with it, it's good. I'm great."

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About The Author
Erika Marie is a seasoned journalist, editor, and ghostwriter who works predominantly in the fields of music, spirituality, mental health advocacy, and social activism. The Los Angeles editor, storyteller, and activist has been involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of the entertainment industry for nearly two decades. E.M. attempts to write stories that are compelling while remaining informative and respectful. She's an advocate of lyrical witticism & the power of the pen. Favorites: Motown, New Jack Swing, '90s R&B, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, & Punk; Funk, Soul, Harlem Renaissance Jazz greats, and artists who innovate, not simply replicate.