Janelle Monae arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of " Annihilation at the Regency Village Theatre. Monae’s trailer for her new album and film will get a boost when it airs in theaters ahead of “Black Panther” on Friday, Feb. 16. Picture: AP

Janelle Monae was inspired by the late Prince on her new record 'Dirty Computer', as she said he was one of the only people who understood where she was going with her music.

The 32-year-old singer released her third studio album last week, and she has now revealed that she was heavily influenced by the late 'Purple Rain' hitmaker - who passed away in 2016 at the age of 57 - despite being "scared" of him as a child because of how he "expressed himself".

READ: Janelle Monae identifies as pansexual

She said: "There's only one Prince and there will never be another. I had the opportunity to be inspired by Prince like the rest of the world growing up. In fact, I used to be terrified of Prince. I could not watch his videos. I had a dream that he chased me in a purple suit. 

"It was something about watching this black man, I'd never seen a black man express himself like that, and it scared me. You know I don't know if it was because maybe I hadn't been comfortable with tapping into my fearlessness...it's just like you got the sense that he was a free ass motherf***er, right? And I don't know if I was ready to tap into my free ass motherf***er nature, but I think what I love most is that I got the opportunity to get to know the man who everybody looked at as this mysterious, other-worldly being. You know I did get the opportunity to perform onstage with him."

Janelle - who recently came out as pansexual - gave Prince a copy of her debut album 'The ArchAndroid' in 2010, and believes that the 'Little Red Corvette' singer was the "one person" who understood the music she was making.

Speaking to Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio, she said: "In fact, I gave him the first copy of my first album. I gave it to him at Paisley Park, and I got a chance to see that he was such a philanthropic person. 

"Like he gave, and he didn't want people to know what he gave. And he's given a lot to me. Any way that I can honour him, and just remind this generation of how much he paved the way for artists like myself. I mean, there were times that when I ever felt confused on what direction I should take, or if my ideas were too big for the music industry ... I knew that was the one person who understood where I was trying to go."