Mondays Are A Drag 003. with Grag Queen
Posted: by The Editor
It’s the first Monday of the month…and you know what that means? We’re back with another edition of Mondays Are A Drag. For those that might not be aware, Mondays Are A Drag is a monthly column on The Alternative where we speak with queer artists and Drag performers to discuss queer artistry, their career, and what projects are on the horizon for them.
After a welcome spring break, we’re kicking off the month of May by chatting with the current reigning winner of Paramount+ original series Queen Of The Universe, Grag Queen, to discuss new music, her US tour, and how winning the title of Queen Of The Universe has changed her life forever.
How has your life changed since winning Queen of the Universe?
Grag Queen: The change has been crazy! I went from like zero to a million in like six episodes. It’s a great feeling to have the title Queen of the Universe and to know that my mom and dad are proud of what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve done…in a wig!? In Brazil!? It’s such a great feeling.
And the money has made life easier for me as well. The conversion of the cash prize [$250,000 USD] literally made me a millionaire in my country and to go from having nothing to having that has been a dream come true.
You recently released an incredible new song called Fim De Tarde, how has the reception been?
It’s been great! You know, I think people were really looking for a song that encourages them to just get up, do the work, and feel good about what they’re doing. I like to think of myself as a Gospel Queen – just kidding! But I think that people have really liked the message and I know it’s one I wish I had when I was feeling like that. Honestly, I feel like a pastor! It’s been great.
You also have a new song coming out for the Love Victor soundtrack, how did that come about and what’s the general vibe of the track?
I don’t know that I can really talk about it, but it was written and produced with Leland and the song is incredible! It’s very fun and Love, Victor is a show that I’m in love with, so it’s an honor to have a song on that soundtrack.
How do you approach songwriting? Is it typically a melody or a lyric idea? What’s the process like?
Yeah, you know, I love to start with a melody. Like, especially when I’m writing in English – I love to scat and build from a melody idea that I have.
I love that! And those vocalizations are my favorite part of the music you make! It’s such a unique experience.
Thank you, baby.
Who are some of your dream collaborators? I know you said that you worked with Leland, but are there any other songwriters or producers you’d like to work with?
Hmm..girl, I would love to do like a We Are The World but with only queer people. Like, could you imagine something like that with Grag Queen, Adore Delano, Pablo Vittar, and Rupaul? That would be a dream come true. RuPaul is like my Beyonce, so I would love to be able to work with her.
I’ve heard you might be working on your debut album. Is that true? If so, what can we expect from a Grag Queen full-length?
Right now, I’m focused on releasing singles. I want everything to have a visual element to it because that’s part of who I am. I mean, I’M A DRAG QUEEN! I want to change up my wigs and show something new with each clip, so I think for now I really want to stay focused on releasing one song at a time.
That’s a smart approach – plus it gives fans more time to get to know each song a little better than if they were all released at the same time.
Exactly! And girl, you’re not even ready for the next one. Let me tell you…it’s incredible. I worked with Leland again on it and the video. THE VIDEO! It’s coming out the day before Drag Con [May 11th] and it’s…girl, it’s good.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Miss Lauryn Hill! I love the way she can just change it up – she can sing, she can rap, she can do whatever! And it’s all so beautiful and I love that she was able to change it up so much. That’s what I want to do with my music and hope to do as well as she does.
You’re about to go on a US tour!! How excited are you to head out on that and is there anywhere specific you’re excited to see most?
I’m very bad at geography if we’re being honest. I’m just excited to be able to travel and see North America and try all different kinds of foods and open my Grindr and experience something new. Getting to Brazil from America is difficult because we have to get visas and make sure everything is one hundred percent before we can really do anything, but I’m excited to have to be able to bring Grag to a bigger audience.
When did you first discover a passion for music? For drag? And at what point did the two start to overlap for you?
In Brazil, it’s different to just love music and want to work in music. I would say my love for music started when I was born. When I first heard my heartbeat. I heard that and was like “this is music.” Working in music is something that isn’t seen as realistic here, but I would say that around 17 is when I knew this is what I wanted to do…so, like, yesterday haha.
Drag for me started with RuPaul’s Drag Race Season One. I was watching that in real-time and saw Miss Ongina and Miss Bebe and Mother RuPaul…and I didn’t understand any of it at the time. Like the makeup was just…it was because of them that I thought to become Grag Queen. It’s crazy to think about how I watched the show and then sitting here with you doing this interview as Queen of the Universe.
Were music and drag something you always wanted to do together? Or was it separate at first?
The two have always been the same. I think part of me being a Drag Queen is like a challenge for myself – like…how much can I do at the same time and still do it well?
What advice do you have for young queer artists who might find it difficult to create in this time?
Absolutely. My advice would be to just keep dreaming. I know it’s easy to be like “this is too hard” or “somebody else has done this already” but you have to keep dreaming. It is your responsibility to yourself to chase that dream. I mean, look at me! It was difficult and I was saying “Maybe I shouldn’t be an artist” and now I’m Queen of the Universe! Nobody can take that title away from me and I’m living my dream.
Check out Grag Queen Performing Live in these fine cities
5/13, 14, 15 – RuPaul’s Drag Con – Los Angeles, CA
5/28 – Bowler’s Exhibtion Center – Manchester, UK
5/29 – Studio 338 – London, UK
6/3 – Roscoe’s – Chicago, IL
6/10 – Hotel Utah – San Francisco, CA
6/11 – LA Pride in the Park w/Anitta & Christina Aguilera – Los Angeles, CA
6/18 – Kemba Live – Columbus, OH
6/19 – Chicago Pride Fest w/Alaska Thunderfuck – Chicago, IL
6/20 – City Winery – Boston, MA
6/21 – Milkboy – Philadelphia, PA
6/22 – The Loft @ City Winery – Washington, DC
6/24 & 25 – NYC
6/26 – RENDEZVIEWS Toronto, Canada
7/1 – The Queer Bar – Seattle, WA
Joel Funk | @joelfunkii
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