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World Cafe celebrates Pride Month

<strong>From left:</strong> Robyn, Christine and the Queens, Janelle Monáe, MUNA, Arlo Parks and Perfume Genius
From left: Heji Shin, Eloïse Labarbe-Lafon, Mason Rose, Isaac Schneider, Alexis Waespi and Gilles Laurent
Courtesy of the artists
From left: Robyn, Christine and the Queens, Janelle Monáe, MUNA, Arlo Parks and Perfume Genius

To celebrate Pride Month this year, World Cafe has unearthed some gems from within our archives. We'll be re-airing these interviews with queer music icons throughout June, so stay tuned.

June 3: MUNA

MUNA's Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson join World Cafe host Raina Douris to talk about their self-titled third album, which saw the indie pop band reach new heights. The trio talks about picking up the pieces after getting dropped by their former label, exploring girlhood on Muna, and what it means to write a queer anthem:

"This song represents queer joy in a time when the world is falling apart and queer rights are being taken away."

June 10: Perfume Genius

Perfume Genius' Mike Hadreas joins World Cafe to talk about his 2020 album, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately. The singer-songwriter talks about exploring masculine archetypes on the record, his relationship with sobriety, and being fascinated in the occult as a kid:

"I watched a movie where someone drew a pentacle and sat in the middle of it and chanted, and I did that on the beach when I was, like, 10 and my babysitter caught me and got really freaked out."

June 17: Robyn

In this interview from 2018, Swedish pop star Robyn joins former World Cafe host Talia Schlanger to talk about her critically acclaimed album Honey. Robyn talks about writing songs like "Honey" and "Missing U," experiencing the loss of a close friend before the making of the record, and how making dance music helped her work through her grief:

"I got to become friends with my body early and always, like, encouraged to do stuff with it, and I remember loving to just, like, let out energy through dancing. Like, I used to come home from school and just put on music and just dance in the living room before my parents got home..."

June 18: Arlo Parks

Arlo Parks joins World Cafe host Stephen Kallao to talk about her latest album, My Soft Machine. Parks talks about challenging herself on her sophomore effort, the frantic urgency of new love, and collaborating with Phoebe Bridgers:

"I think we both do softness quite well, and I really wanted it to be digging into that sense of bittersweetness that I think we both tap into."

June 24: Janelle Monáe

We're going all the way back to 2010 to revisit Janelle Monáe's conversation with former World Cafe host David Dye. Monáe stopped by the World Cafe studios to perform songs from her debut album, The ArchAndroid. Monáe introduces us to her alter-ego, Cindi Mayweather, creating the Wondaland Arts Society, and her love of science fiction:

"I'm just naturally drawn to writers like Alfred Hitchcock, James Cameron or Octavia Butler. I enjoy great science fiction that makes you think and deals with the other. Another world we cannot verify exists. I love thinking about the future. I love being in the forefront of it."

June 28: Christine and the Queens

We close out Pride Month with a 2018 interview with Christine and the Queens. This conversation with former host Talia Schlanger finds the French musician at a turning point in his journey of self-discovery. The artist who was then identifying as "Chris" talks about producing his self-titled sophomore album, embracing chaos, and playing with ideas of gender:

"I'm just trying to playfully diffuse [macho culture] from the inside. I'm giving hints that it's just a game and I get to play with it the way I want. It's about owning your narrative again."

Copyright 2024 XPN

Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.