Janelle Monáe says that Prince’s death inspired to set aside her Cindi Mayweather persona – the protagonist of her previous studio albums – and present her fans with a fuller portrait of her identity on her new album.

Dirty Computer, she told the New York Times in a new profile, will introduce fans to herself, without the android metaphors.

“You have to go ahead and soar, and not be afraid to jump – and I’m jumping right now.” One aspect of that: Dirty Computer’s 50-minute film about star-crossed lovers in a authoritarian government.

The lovers will be played by Monáe and Tessa Thompson, who frequently appears in her music videos.

When Times reporter Jenna Wortham asked about Monáe and Thompson’s relationship, and rumors about them dating, Monáe deflected.

I asked Monáe what she thought of the internet’s speculation about her romantic relationship with Thompson.

The issue lingered for me, especially the more times I watched her film.