“Make Me Feel” is a fun and infectious pop anthem that celebrates the fluidity of sexuality and is a clear statement of freedom, strength and evolution. There is undoubtedly the musical influence of Michael Jackson and Prince present in many of Monae’s songs and lyrics, and in any piece you read about “Make Me Feel” it is especially pointed out.

“I Wanna Be Your Lover” by Prince, released in 1979, is about expressing those certain feelings you have for someone. As an artist, Prince was great at expressing the deep feelings that we can have inside us and his song “I Wanna Be Your Lover” describes the insatiable need of wanting to be a particular person’s lover. Being a black artist that appealed to the trans and gay community, his feminine demeanor and tendency to wear womens and mens clothing, it could be argued he was one of the first great artists to embrace gender fluidity which is an aspect that shapes Janelle Monae as an artist and much of what she sings about. In “I Wanna Be Your Lover” Prince sings “I wanna be your lover/ I wanna turn you on, turn you out, all night long” and I think there is some connection to Monae’s song when she sings “Its like I’m powerful with a little bit of tender/ An emotional, sexual bender.” The desire to be someone’s lover, be with them all night, be the only one they are with is clear in both songs. In “I Wanna Be Your Lover” it could be pointed out that given his feminine demeanor, his dress sense and his appeal to the gay community at the time, he was singing that he could be anyone’s lover, “I want to be your brother/ I want to be your mother and your sister, too/ There ain’t no other/ That can do the things that I’ll do to you.” The only member not mentioned in this part of the song because he didn’t want it to be considered is father. In “Make Me Feel” Monae sings about loving who you want to love regardless of their gender, in an interview she stated “There’s nothing wrong with being bisexual. There’s nothing wrong with being a lesbian or gay. I think that love has no sexual orientation” and in many ways I think this statement applies to the message behind her song as well as Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover” as he does not point towards one specific individual, man or woman, as being his lover.

“The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson, released in 1987, clearly is a point of influence for Monae’s “Make Me Feel”. There is also undoubtedly influence between Michael Jackson and Prince as artists, they were popular at the same time, had very similar musical stylings and sound. The message behind Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” is pretty clear, he is trying to tell a love interest how he feels, trying to explain the way this girl makes him but he just can’t find the exact words to say it, “I like the feelin’ you’re given’ me/ Just hold me baby and I’m in ecstasy.” In a sense, isn’t that what Prince was trying to say in his song too? The desire to keep that one person by your side because you want them there as well as being in love and the feeling of loving someone.

“Oh I’ll be workin’ from nine to five/ To buy you things to keep you by my side/ I never felt so in love before/ Just promise baby, you’ll love me forevermore/ I swear I’m keepin’ you satisfied/ ‘Cause you’re the one for me” (Jackson) 

“I ain’t got no money/ I ain’t like those other guys you hang around/ And it’s kinda funny/ But they always seem to let you down/ And I get discouraged/ ‘Cause I never see you anymore/ And I need your love, babe/ That’s all I’m living for” (Prince)