I was interested.
I arrived at the American on time, sweating, befuddled, nervous as hell. Janelle Monae! Me! My big chance!
Monae was in town for the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Crown Center, and upstairs at the American, Mayor Sly James was holding a little meet-and-greet thing prior to the event. I waited along with the rest of the local media for Monae to arrive. We would all have a couple of minutes alone with her. I had two questions prepared. One was, “Do you have a boyfriend?” I can't remember what the other one was. I didn't end up asking either.
Monae entered the room wearing all black — a very fancy-looking black coat with round gold buttons and a tilted, wide-brimmed black hat. She looked impossibly famous. The TV crews got first dibs. I was dead last. They brought me over, and I took a seat in a high chair about 3 feet directly across from her. Oh my God, her face is so flawless and beautiful.
I limply held out my tape recorder and spent the next three minutes mumbling and fumbling and acting like a clown. Here are the horrible results:
Me: So, you’re in Kansas City. What are you going to do this weekend?
Monae: Excuse me?
What are you going to do this weekend? [Voice cracks.]
I'm visiting family here the next couple of days. A lot of my family is here, so I'm spending as much time as I possibly can with them.
And they’re in KCK?
Yep, Kansas City, Kansas. Wyandotte County.
Are there any spots you like hanging out at over there?
Um, what do you, like, where are, do you have any places in KCK that you like going to when you're in town?
I love Go Chicken Go.
Do you get the gizzards?
I love the gizzards. Those are my guilty pleasures. You know, they don’t have those in Atlanta, Paris, London. You can’t get Go Chicken Go anywhere but Kansas City.
[Way-too-loud nervous laugh] That's cool. Ummm … you have a new record coming out?
Working on it, very excited about it.
Can you tell me anything about it?
Yes, the music is ... I’m very excited about it. It's showing me as a more evolved artist. I'm having a wonderful time creating it and being more involved as a producer. I write pretty much everything that I put out.
Music and lyrics?
Not music. Just lyrics. But I’m working with the same team. I'm excited to give a fresher perspective on our sound and not get rid of anything that we love and has worked for us. And in terms of releasing it, it’s all according to my soul clock, and I reserve the right to change that.
Is Big Boi working with you on it?
I’m sure he’ll listen. He lives in Atlanta, so I’m sure he’ll be involved organically in some way.
Any guests on it?
Yeah, but I can’t say right now.
Then I turned off the recorder and said probably a couple of more stupid things and shook her hand and told her how much I love The ArchAndroid, and as I shuffled away, she said "Happy Holidays" and smiled, and her teeth were so white and perfect.