Janelle Monae is the latest star on the cover of Them’s debut issue. For her cover story, she sat down with Them’s Lizzo to discuss her music journey, sexuality and coming out.

Read excerpts of her interview below:

On her music journey, she said: “I like to think that I know everything that a project is gonna do and be when I go into it — “I’m gonna go in and write this song, and it’s gonna mean this.” But you know like I know, once you put something out and you sit with it, you find out new things that you weren’t even paying attention to. People will come up to you and say, “This is what this means to me.” And you’re like, “Wow, I had no clue that that’s what I was saying, and that you would feel that way after you heard it.” The beauty of art is that it reveals itself over time, even to the artists who create it.

I think I do have strong visions; I always have strong visions. With ArchAndroid, I knew what I wanted the content to be, and I used the tools that I knew how to use at that time to create it. In my projects, I always challenge myself to grow and learn my voice and how to stretch beyond what I can comfortably do. So I started to engineer myself more, which meant I got to spend more time with me. I produced as well. And I’m a writer, and a storyteller. So as I grow and as I’m taking in information and growing at this exponential rate, I try my best to create music and albums that support that, that allow me to completely be all of me.”

On her sexuality; “For me, sexuality and sexual identity and fluidity is a journey. It’s not a destination. I’ve discovered so much about myself over the years as I’ve evolved and grown and spent time with myself and loved ones. That’s the exciting thing — always finding out new things about who you are. And that’s what I love about life. It takes us on journeys that not even we ourselves sometimes are prepared for. You just adapt to where you are and how you’ve evolved as a free thinking person.

Everyone is on a journey of self-discovery, and those of us who may not understand others’ journeys should be more empathetic and tolerant and supportive.”

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