The label-as-family vibe is no accident. "We looked at what Puff and Jay Z have done,Jack White and Prince as well," Monae says. "But I'm also really inspired by strong women in business, like Mellody Hobson and Queen Latifah."
Monae has run Wondaland as an imprint for several years, but began to ramp up late in 2013. She and all the artists met with several majors and got interest from many -- including Monae's home label Atlantic -- but collectively made the decision to join forces with Epic after meeting with CEO L.A. Reid and president Sylvia Rhone.
"I walked into the studio and all of Janelle's acts were in there together, they all looked like stars and they were ready to go," Reid says. "I actually met her many years ago when she was a background singer for one of Big Boi's artists. I wasn't fortunate enough to sign her at the time, so I wasn't going to let Wondaland get away."