Broken Record with Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam and Justin RichmondBroken Record with Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam and Justin Richmond
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Janelle Monáe & Nate Wonder

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Janelle Monáe has had a lot to smile about this year. After a run of successful albums over the last decade, in June she released her fourth album, The Age of Pleasure. The album was just nominated for two Grammys including Album of the Year. This project is important—it signaled a big tone shift for Janelle whose past albums have centered in part around a recurring character named Cyndi Mayweather, an android who represents society’s new “other.”

Esthetically Janelle has always been buttoned up. For her first few album releases she made a point of always appearing in public in some iteration of a tuxedo. For The Age Of Pleasure though, she literally stripped down to almost nothing, flaunting a newfound freedom centered around Black joy and acceptance.

On today’s episode Justin Richmond talks to Janelle Monáe and her long time music partner Nate Wonder poolside, at their creative home base in the Hollywood Hills called Wondaland. Nate explains how The Age Of Pleasure album started with the simple conceit of making Janelle smile. Janelle also talks about why she decided to ditch a career in musical theater after college, and how THE Grace Jones ended up topless in Wondaland’s now-infamous pool.

You can hear a playlist of some of our favorite Janelle Monáe songs HERE.

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Broken Record with Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam and Justin Richmond

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