Rising music star Janelle Monae had a busy 2013 – from performing at President Barack Obama’s second Inauguration to serving as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live and headlining the annual New Year’s Peach Drop in Atlanta last week. At, 28, Monae is proving she’s a force in the music industry with talent that will give her career longevity.

Janelle Monae & The First Family

Performing at the White House for TNT’s Christmas in Washington special last month was a special coup for Monae, who has performed for Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in the past. Monae, who is an admitted fan of the Obamas, is grateful for any invitation to perform for them.

“I’m so thankful to the first family, the first lady and president for inviting me and wanting me to come to perform for Christmas in Washington. It was just, I mean it’s a traditional event, and to be a part of that lineup with Sheryl Crow and so many amazing artists,” Monae told uInterview exclusively. “It was just electrifying and the first family… I love them so much, I’ve done a lot of work with them over the years. He loves The Electric Lady. They call me “the Electric Lady” when they see me.”


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Monae On Erykah Badu, Prince & Fun.

Monae calls Erykah Badu and Prince, who worked with her on The Electric Lady, mentors. Badu is also a friend. Their conversations together actually provided much of the lyrics for “Q.U.E.E.N.” “[Badu] is a producer and a writer and for her to trust me and let me guide her through the song,” said Monae. “It was an organic process. A lot of the lyrics that you hear on “Q.U.E.E.N.” were inspired by us; our conversations, our private conversations and dialogue.”

For Monae, being named Billboard’s rising star of 2013 served as encouragement – not only for her, but for artists like her. “There are a lot of amazing young women, you know artists, female artists out here, and for me to be selected I just look at it as encouragement,” the singer said. “I hope that it inspires independent artists and girls all over the world to just stay true to their core values and their beliefs and embrace those things that make them unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable.”

– Chelsea Regan

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