Janelle Monáe: How I Spend My Downtime

Image: DJDM/

Image: DJDM/

Needless to say, being a musician and touring all the time, things get pretty busy. I love performing — it’s like a party every time I hit the stage, and as I’ve said before, dancing and performing is pretty much how I get in my workout. But even though I love singing, the bottom line is, performing is my job. Now, I’m pretty lucky to have a job that I absolutely adore. There’s an old adage that says if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. That’s true to an extent, but sometimes you need a break from your passion. So when I need to wind down, I keep things simple.

One of the things I love to do in my free time is play chess, particularly against other women. It’s a very interesting experience indeed. I’ve had a lot of worthy female opponents, but my game with Erykah Badu sticks out most in my mind. We were in Arizona walking through a lobby and we saw a chess set. I immediately was like, “Let’s go!” We started to play, but sadly, we didn’t get to finish. What kind of player is Erykah? A pretty darn good one…but so am I. We’re friends, so it was really fun to play her, but I’d really love to finish that game…

I’m a musician, but in my downtime I really value silence. There is so much noise around me, so much wonderful music, but sometimes I need to be quiet, just to clear my head. I really appreciate spending time on my little island called Alone — it gives me a chance to reflect on my life and all the wonderful experiences and opportunities I’ve had. It also helps me to get centered and think of what’s next for me on this wild ride called life.