Over four seasons (and a fifth to come), RuPaul’s Drag Race has launched the careers of some of the country’s most talented drag performers. In addition to touring the nation and gaining legions of fans, the show has also produced some addictive music. You’ve seen them lip sync for their lives, now find out what happens when divas sing their own tunes, as we look at some of the recent releases from Drag Race‘s former queen-testants! Let the music play!
Drag Race season 4′s most infamous contestant had a career in music before hitting the runway on Drag Race. He is the best-selling artist from Drag Race so far with the most video hits and content. His video for “The Vagina Song” (a parody of Travie McCoy‘s “Billionaire”) had over a million hits before he made his debut on Drag Race. Willam has released 4 additional singles – including the infectious dance hit “Trouble” and “Chow Down (at Chick-Fil-A)” – a parody of the Wilson Phillips song “Hold On” mocking the fast food chain for its Christian, anti-gay stance. “Chow Down” has become a viral video hit, receiving over 2.6 million views on YouTube. Willam’s take on Selena Gomez‘ “Love You Like a Love Song”, “Love You Like a Big Schlong”, came out in April of 2012. Most recently, Willam paired up with fellow drag queen Rhea Litre for “Let’s Have a Kai-Kai” – his unique take on the Scissor Sisters‘ “Let’s Have a Kiki”. The song itself was parodied in another version of the song by Drag U‘s Lady Bunny. In addition to performing in drag shows, Willam also rocks out with the band TranzKuntinental, regular fixtures on LA’s Sunset Strip. I recently had a chance to ask Willam a few quick questions about his musical side.
Socialite Life: What got you interested in music?
Willam: It’s usually just another way for me to be funny. Also, singing in rock clubs like the Viper and the Key Club and El Rey here in LA were the easiest way to get into a club underage when I was younger and in a band with Adam Lambert and the old Club Makeup kids like Momma and Alan Louis.
SL: Who are your musical inspirations?
Willam: Pink, Heart, Journey, Mickey Avalon, Kelly Clarkson, Cazwell, RuPaul. I like anything with a solid beat…and Lady Antebellum when I’m horny and alone.
SL: “Chow Down” was a viral sensation. Were you surprised that the song got so much attention?
Willam: No. It’s amazingly written, produced and speaks on an important issue (Tranzfat)
SL: You’ve released what can best be described as “serious” dance music (“Trouble”) and parody songs (“Chow Down”, “Kai Kai”). Which do you prefer working on?
Willam: Whatever pays the best at the time.
SL: How do you feel Drag Race has impacted your singing career?
Willam: It’s exposed me to people who haven’t seen me before.
SL: What do you think about Lady Bunny’s take on “Kai Kai”?
Willam: It’s fine. Great minds think alike. That one year there were like 3 Amy Fisher movies, right?
SL: Is Willam – The Album something we can look forward to?
Willam: You’ll be able to smell it before you see it!
In keeping with her fashion forward persona, Season three standout Manila Luzon has released two sings promoting her love of all things vogue. Her debut single “Hot Couture” features Manila’s many high fashion looks (and her hilarious impersonation of Imelda Marcos – check out the video). According to Manila, her latest musical offering, “Best XXXcessory“, was originally offered to Blondie lead singer Deborah Harry. Manila worked on the song with Blondie’s keyboard player and after some lyrical tweaking, a musical sensation was born! In the recently released video for “Best XXXcessory”, Manila channels sex symbols of the past including Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn – and watch out for a guest appearance by Manila’s partner, Sahara Davenport!
Season three’s champion recently released her second single, “Sublime“, which was produced by famed NYC producer SIRPAUL. Following the success of her debut single, “Diamond Crowned Queen” (and the accompanying video, featuring Raja at her most Raja-ness as well as fellow Drag Racer Raven), the former America’s Next Top Model makeup artist found her producer with a little help from the internet. Raja noted, “I am constantly amazed at the powers of technology and social networking. I met Sir Paul via Twitter and the magic was immediate. Paul loves music as much as I do, his passion is infectious and inspiring.”
Season three’s Mimi Imfurst lends her talents to the trio XELLE. According to the bio on their website, XELLE was formed when Mimi, JC Cassis, Rony G “met during a chance run-in at a karaoke bar in New York City’s famed Chelsea neighborhood.” Their debut single, “Party Girl” was a viral video sensation, thanks to the song’s video, where the band and 40 of their closest friends put on a party on a real, moving NYC subway train without a permit and filmed the festivities in a single take. The band’s follow-up single, “Invincible“, was recorded for a good cause. “The song was released in conjunction with GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, with proceeds from song sales going to support GLSEN’s work to create welcoming school communities for all students.” The video addresses the sensitive subject of bullying and features fan-submitted messages of hope and support and also became a viral hit. The video for their latest single, Hologram, is coming your way soon and you can pre-order their debut EP, Queens, at xellemusic.com starting on October 2.
Although she left us far too soon in season one of Drag Race, Tammie Brown is back for the All-Stars season! This unique entertainer is not new to the music scene, releasing her first album, “Popcorn” in March of 2009. Tammie’s videos, including “Clam Happy”, “whatever” and “The Ballad of Tiger Lily” are YouTube hits. You can help bring Tammie’s latest musical project to fruition – she’s currently looking for backers for her upcoming album Hot Skunks. Help her bring her quirky, eccentric style and music to the masses and make a pledge on Kickstarter!
Friend of Socialite Life, season 2’s Miss Congeniality and all-star in our hearts Pandora Boxx has already shared her “Cooter” with us and recently chatted with us about the inspiration for her recent cover Samantha Fox’s hit “I Wanna Have Some Fun”. Pandora is currently working on a video for “Fun” and will be releasing her third single, “Nice Car”, to coincide with the premiere of RuPaul’s All-Stars Drag Race in October.
We recently had the chance to sit down and chat with this unforgettable season 2 and season 3 contestant about her recent projects. (Read our interview!) Shangela’s songs “Werquin’ Girl” and “Call Me Laquifa” have been featured on Lifetime’s reality series Dance Moms. You can expect Shangie’s next single, “Turn the Party” later this year. Halleloo!
Looking for more Drag Race music? Other queens who have sashayed from the runway to the dance floor include season one winner Bebe Zahara Benet, season two winner Tyra Sanchez, season two’s Sahara Davenport, Tatianna and Jessica Wild, season 4′s first casualty, Venus D’ Lite and season one favorite and All-Star competitor Nina Flowers. And, of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you that you can download RuPaul‘s incredible body (of work) at iTunes. That’s right, iTunes!
Keep on dancing to the drag queen beat and get ready for RuPaul’s All-Stars Drag Race, premiering Monday, October 22nd on Logo!