Janelle Monáe is all in as she pours her grievances into, “Turntables,” a song written for the new Amazon documentary “All In: The Fight for Democracy”.
Videos by American Songwriter
In an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music, she shares the grueling and vulnerable creative process for the song and how grateful she is that it reignited her musical passions amidst a period of darkness in the world.
“We are changing things. The tables are turning. The rooster has come home to roost. So this song is capturing direction. And when you think about a record, when you think about a record spinning, when you think about the revolutions per minute, it’s all connected. And that is what this song means,” Monáe says.
She goes on to add that this song is about taking a step back and highlighting the lesser appreciated characters in our everyday lives. For her, essential workers aren’t just people on the street, but they are family.
“I’ve talked about this and I’m sure, I probably mentioned this in one of our interviews, but my mom was a janitor. My dad, my stepdad, who was just like my father, works at the post office. He refuses to quit. He loves helping the community in this country. My father, my biological father, was a trash man. So, I grew up to essential workers and every day, when you think about black folks and minorities, it’s our family, it’s our loved ones going out and risking their lives and their health.”
This personal connection coupled with her creative prowess led to a raw and relatable call to action with enough transparency that even Monáe was afraid would be too much for the film. Fortunately, the pairing was perfect – they loved it.
Just as this song helped Monáe connect back with her creative roots and regain some semblance of passion, her hope is to ignite the same fire in the rest of us.
“So, this song is to keep us motivated. This song is to lift up and keep us galvanized when we’re fatigued. And this song is really for the people.”
Check out “Turntables” below and the rest of the interview on Apple Music here.