Janelle Monae was scared her fans would reject her after hearing new album Dirty Computer.
Janelle burst onto the music scene in 2007 with EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), and has since released two studio albums and launched an acting career.
Dirty Computer, released on Friday (27Apr18), marks her third album, and the singer-songwriter has shown a more frank side of herself with the tracks, including new single Pynk, and she admits she was initially worried about doing so.
"I really did have to walk it like I talk. I was always saying, 'Embrace the things that make you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable,'" she told Britain's Stylist magazine of her attitude to her new material. "I was saying that, but I don't think I was really living it. I was scared of rejection and was feeling, 'If you bring out this new side of you, all of your fans might not come with you this time around.' Now I'm at peace.
"Yeah (I was scared of rejection), because I've seen it happen with other artists, where (fans) say, 'Oh, I don't like that music any more, I want them to be like the first album'. I had to actively choose freedom over fear. Because freedom is not free. It comes with great sacrifice."
Pynk has got the music world talking thanks to lyrics such as "Pynk, like the inside of your... baby/ Pynk behind all of the doors... crazy," and the video, which features Janelle and her dancers wearing pink trousers which resemble a vagina. At one point, actress Tessa Thompson emerges from between the 32-year-old's legs, which has fuelled romance rumours between the pair.
When it comes to her career, the Tightrope singer is happy doing things her own way.
"When you start making money and being able to purchase things you didn't think you could ever purchase... and I'm not even that rich, there are artists making way more money than me. People say all the time, 'If you would only do this, you could be making this amount of money'. But it never was about that for me," she shrugged.