Janelle Monae thinks developing her music away from the spotlight allowed her to "find" herself.
The 34-year-old musician spent years working on material as an independent artist, and she ultimately believes that it’s proven to be helpful for her career.
She shared: "I had time to say no to things that didn’t work for me.
"I had time to find myself, to prepare myself for some of the obstacles that would come my way, and to understand that my story’s not supposed to be everybody’s story."
Despite her success, Janelle still feels more comfortable at home than at glitzy showbiz parties.
She explained: "I’m way more comfortable being curled up in a room reading a bell hooks or an Ibram X Kendi book, or watching ‘Edward Scissorhands’, than socialising at a party."
Janelle grew up in Kansas City and has likened her own journey to stardom to the story of Dorothy Gale from ‘The Wonderful Wizard of OZ’.
She told the Guardian newspaper: "There are some commonalities there: I’m wide-eyed, I love believing in wonder and magic.
"As a kid, I would always throw myself into the arts – into music, painting, writing, choir, theatre. I would go around entering monologue competitions, or trying to be a young playwright. I loved world-building.
"When you grow up in a small town like that, television and the arts really help you assuage the boredom, and then moving to New York was like going to this yellow brick road."