Janelle Monáe dons a Fender Duo-Sonic for a fierce rendition of Turntables on Colbert

Janelle Monáe made an appearance on last night’s (March 9) edition of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to deliver a powerful performance of her single, Turntables.

Flanked by her band, which includes celebrated session electric guitar man Kellindo, Monáe’s performance sees the R&B singer-songwriter pick up a Fender Duo-Sonic HS to deliver a rip-roaring rendition of the formidable track.

Switching between a stripped-back rap verse and a heavy-hitting, harmony-driven chorus, both Monáe and Kellindo are at the top of their guitar game, powering through punchy power chords and high-gain lead lines.

Momentum builds in the lead up to the track’s energetic grand finale, with Kellindo using his Fender Strat to decorate Monáe’s chordal play with a series of searing bends.

The track itself was written for the Oscar-nominated documentary All In: The Fight for Democracy, which focuses on the story of Stacey Abrams and the history of voter suppression in the US. Turntables itself is also up for an award at the Oscars, having been shortlisted for Best Original Song.

Of the powerful piece, Monáe told Rolling Stone, “I started thinking about all the people on the front line. What could be my gift to them? It was this song, to remind them that the tables are turning.

“We’re seeing that progress is being made, even in the midst of dealing with such traumatic events,” she continued. “We have figured out a way to be the solution. I wanted this to be my gift because revolutionaries need love too. They need inspiration, and they need an anthem. This is my stab at that.”

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.