As Janelle Monáe embarks on her Pleasure Playbacks tour, offering select fans a preview of her highly anticipated album, The Age of Pleasure, she takes a moment to reflect on her journey to success. In conversation with Rolling Stone, Monáe opens up about early aspirations and personal milestones that have shaped her artistic path.

Monáe shares her early vision of success, stating, “I only wanted 500 supporters. I called them supporters. I refused to call them fans.”

She explains that she envisioned these supporters as her congregation, drawing a parallel to a church community. With 500 dedicated individuals, she believed she could sustain her career, selling albums out of her trunk and maintaining a modest lifestyle. This independent approach held immense appeal to her, emphasizing the freedom and connection she would have with her supporters.

Monáe Recalls Journey To A Well-Traveled Life

In one of her songs from The Age of Pleasure, Monáe reveals that she used to pray about taking vacations. She recounts how her first-ever personal trip materialized after the success of her debut album, The ArchAndroid, in 2010. The destination? Las Vegas.

“I was just starting,” she recalls. “And I probably had a little bit of cash that I could be like, ‘OK, I’m going to go somewhere.’ The only way that it happened was because of my birthday. I was like, ‘Well, I should at least take off for my birthday.'”

The Vegas tradition continued for three consecutive years before she embarked on her first international getaway to Jamaica, bringing along her mother and sister.

Reflecting on the childhood experiences of her cousins, who had the opportunity to travel extensively, Monáe developed a strong desire to share the joy of vacationing with her family. Over the years, they have explored destinations such as Jamaica, Mexico, Japan, and Dubai. However, Monáe’s plans to visit Africa were temporarily put on hold due to the pandemic. With unwavering hope, she expresses her ambition to tour the continent, eager to bring her music to African audiences.

Monáe wonders why more artists haven’t prioritized touring Africa and hopes to pave the way for others to follow. Her dream of experiencing the continent’s vibrant culture firsthand and connecting with fans across its diverse regions fuels her desire to embark on an extraordinary journey.

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