Reminder: queer music doesn’t have to be a non-stop buffet of candy and poppers! Veteran musician and ginger hottie Antony recently premiered some new music at one of his favorite haunts Club Cumming, and here delivers a smart, sophisticated, bittersweet jangle with guitars, pianos, harmonies… you know, a real song!
A fixture of the local piano bar scene, Brandon’s recent album BULLIT showcases a sly, sexy new collection of rock, reggae and country-flared original tunes. This first single is a jaunty tribute to the real hero of the camp classic smutfest Showgirls.
This rousing new beat-heavy beast from prolific, old school vocal house guru DJ Oosterhaus and friends is enough to make circuit queens from far and wide chomp at the bit in excitement for the next rave.
The sensual swagger of this new Latin-flavored mid-tempo track reminds us of the best of Enrique Iglesias. Bonus: per this video, Drew rocks a pair of leather pants like few others can. Bonus Bonus: the rhymey artist name / song title!
It was a sad day when Bar Babe Dyllan’s original video for “Shhh! I’m Hot!,” a master class of shirtlessness, disappeared off of YouTube! Fortunately a new version of the video returned this summer complete with slick, club friendly remixed audio care of DJ Garrus. Bask in the ambiance all over again!
“Horny, high and heartbroken” is a vibe that we all get a little more than we might like to admit, and J’royce provides the soundtrack for that moment. Queer pop doesn’t often take us on starkly fuzzy, self-reflective journeys, so it’s a real blessing to have this artist leading the way. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the foreboding fetish glamour of this “what if Cuckoo’s Nest was a sex dream” clip, featuring drag performance artist God Complex mirror dancing with Jata.
Gurl, how expensive does this video look!? We’re big fans of Jack’s level of production that he puts into his music and visuals, and this latest Pride-themed ode to unflappable queer love is a crowning achievement.
Um, how did she not win the Drag Race All-Stars talent show with this? Whatevs, now Jan has the perfect showstopper for her live shows. And tea: despite her reputation for overcheerful pep, doesn’t this sound a little like a Disney villain (or at least antihero) anthem? We stan, Jan!
A suprisingly uncheesy Pride anthem care of RuPaul’s favorite peppy punching bag, who shows us once again that her own bag of talents may be too big for the narrow scope of a televised drag competition. It’s fun see Jan joined here by the show’s fan favorite weirdo Alaska, as well as NYC’s true Queen of Pep… Pepp. The video’s filmed, of course, at 3 Dollar Bill!
Known for dark, soaring atmospherics in her sets and original compositions, DJ Flax is gorgeously on brand here with an electric / symphonic soundscape that’s both stark and bittersweet. Very cool, gothic-urban decay-sensual video, too!
It’s been really exciting watching this stunning young Jersey queen subtly shift her focus to recording original club bangers. Luxx reminds us with this latest blissful dancepop release that she has a great ear for hooks, and we can’t to see (and hear) what comes next.
The wickedly sexy Atlas Social Club bartender dropped a Latin flavored bop with a pansexual-approved video featuring horny ladies dancing and Boomer Banks shoving hot dogs down Michael’s throat. Need we say more?
Ex-bartender at Pieces and Hardware Mike returned to NYC from his new home city of LA for a recent visit, and performed this new tune at a few venues. Proving that he’s got true popstar power as both a vocalist and a sleeveless white tee wearer, this video slaps with color and throbs with a poppier vibe then some of his previous, more moody melodies.
We were honored and delighted to feature the live debut of this exciting trio at our recent Night of 5000 Thots kiki–Josh Lumsden, Leo Henry and NYC nightlife legend Kayvon Zand wowed the crowd with their vampiric stage presence, haunting harmonies and frosty-funky club beats. Now here’s their very colorful video loaded with some very ferocious club looks (category is: Eyes on Eyes on Eyes), and before you know it… n0t listed have crept their way into our collective subconscious. We want more!
Try not to smile and bop at least a little for this latest sweet offering from one of New York drag’s most proven and accomplished entertainers, and one of Drag Race’s most engaging personalities. Pep throws every late 80s’-early 90s throwback sight and sound you ever wanted into this clip that clocks just a little over three minutes, from keyboards and strappy leather coats to fish eye lens POVs and limo rides down palm-lined Cali streets.
Producer Sixfoot 5’s joyful, sugary signature sound is all over this track, and compliments Rosé’s strong, (frankly somewhat underrated) vocals quite well. Here’s a tune I’ve actually heard in a few local bar playlists, and it mixes perfectly with chart topping mid-tempo and dance hits. PS, OMG I love Rosé’s jacket in this video! PPS, I know we all knew this already, but how handsome and at ease is De-dragged Rosé in the spotlight here!? I think she may be the first RuGirl I’d be perfectly happy to see leap straight onto a non-drag platform without me having to undergo much of a mourning / transition period.
Tina has one of the largest personalities and stage presences in New York drag, which is saying a lot. No matter how well she would go on to do on her recent turn at Drag Race, there was no way a little TV screen could contain the roaring forest fire that is Ms. Burner. So, it’s not surprising that her first act as a grad-Ru-ate was to release a collection of bawdy, brassy covers of Broadway standards care of producer Blake Allen, where she starts every song at a 10 and from there just rips the nob right off the level. I’m sure Michelle Visage would advise her to reign it in a bit more, but Tina Stans wouldn’t have it any other way! This fun clip has her belting the drag-essential Sondheim bitter bitch anthem surrounded by a sisterhood of High Society drag dames.
Club Cumming chanteuse Elia J. “EJ” Garlands joins forces with model and actor Thomas Cole for a cute bop that lyrically turns out to be a surprisingly poignant study of friendship, fashion and fabulous f*ggotry.
THE Q: “Juicy” standup comedy night hosted by Dave Mizzoni (7pm); [1st Fl] Pianist James Oblak (8pm); [2nd Fl] DJ Stilleto (9pm); [3rd Fl]Lagoona Bloo & The Bloo Crew Band (9pm); [1st Fl]Michelle Dowdy & Drew Wutke (11pm)
After a brief hiatus that involved both work and play, fierce queen Jubilee Rogue is back in town and back on stage.
Thotyssey: Hello Jubilee! Thanks for chatting with us today! How is summer treating you so far?
Jubilee Rogue: Hey, thanks for interviewing me. My summer has been good!
I’m glad to hear it! Most venues have reopened to full capacity at point—the ones that haven’t permanently shut down, at any rate. And some brand new venues like The Q are thriving as well! Have you been able to get around the nightlife world this season a lot?
Honestly, not really. I’ve actually been working my day job a lot, and I was away on vacation for almost two months. Then when I got back, I moved into a new place. I’m just getting back into the whole nightlife vibe.
At least you’ve been able to keep busy! Do you feel like you have to somewhat relearn how to be a queen, or is it like riding a gay bike, lol?
I would say it’s like riding a gay bike! I’ve only been doing drag for two years, but I’ve been doing hair and makeup since high school… so basically, it’s something that is second nature to me.
Are you a native New Yorker?
I was born in New York City, but my parents are of Dominican and Cuban descent.
And I’m guessing from your name that you were / are an X-Men fan.
Yeah, I’m definitely a fan!
How would you describe a Jubilee Rogue performance and look, for the uninitiated?
Well, my drag is very go-with-the-flow; I love doing fun songs that I can dance to. And look-wise, I like to dress very sexy… I also like the burlesque type of drag.
How did you ultimately discover drag, and become a queen yourself?
I discovered drag through YouTube when I was younger. The first queen I saw [live] was Jasmine International; she used to preformed at Escuelita. Then from there, I started discovering different types of drag… that’s how I got interested in doing makeup. My first time in drag, I believe, was 2009 or 2010–I dressed up as Lady Gaga. But my first time in drag [as Jubilee] and performing was at Pieces Bar. And I did it because someone dared me, lol!
Pieces is the home of the popular drag competition “Shequida’s Drag Wars,” where you often competed alongside your good Judys Roqué, Boyish Charm and Blue! How did the four of you come to clique so well together?
I’ve known Roqué since high school, so we’ve been friends for quite some years; through her, I learned about “Drag Wars.” That’s how I met Boyish Charm and Blue. Roqué was already friends with Boyish and that’s how I started getting to know her, and then we just cliqued; later on I met Blue. But I personally just liked the way they performed, and their personalities in and out of drag, and the fact that we all were from the Bronx– we would all ride home together, and talk about our performances and things that we could do to better ourselves.
The four of you would go on to co-host a show at Boxers Washington Heights (RIP) called “Oh Yes,” which later converted to an Instagram Live show during lockdown for several months. Now that things are opening again, might we see a return of that show somewhere?
Well it’s funny you asked, because we are actually having an “Oh Yes” reunion [of sorts] this Wednesday for “It’s Bananas” at 3 Dollar Bill. But as far as having [a weekly show together] again… I don’t know if the girls will be down. We would probably have to sit down and talk about it… they all really busy doing their own thing, and enjoy what they do. But I would definitely be down to work with them again! We had a really good time doing “Oh Yes.”
For now, the show you’re all doing together this Wednesday at 3DB should slay!
It’s gonna be super fun, in my opinion. Every time we are together, we have a really good time.
And then Thursday will be the return of “Kama Sutra,” Blue and Rayne’s sultry revue at Astoria’s Secret lingerie shop and venue. You and Boyish will be guest stars! What’s in store for us there?
Well the theme is “Under the Sea.” I’ve been working on a look for quite some time, and I’m about to wear it for this show for the first time… so I’m really excited about that! I started sewing, and I made the garment myself!
What else is on your horizon?
I’m trying to focus on making more stuff, and definitely starting to get out and network.
We look forward to seeing more Jubilee! Last question: All Stars 6! Whose team are you on?
Honestly, I’ve been so busy with work and the move that I haven’t had the chance to see the show… I definitely need to get on it.
Enjoy it! Thanks, Jubilee!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Jubilee Rogue’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Instagram.
Landing one of Broadway’s most coveted roles straight out of high school, award winning actress and recording artist Michelle Dowdy became an instant star of the scene. And starting this week, this longtime ally finally gets a weekly stage all her own.
Thotyssey: Howdy Miss Dowdy! How is summer treating you so far?
Michelle Dowdy: You know, suddenly, it feels like 2019 again: busy, busy, lol!
Yes! I fill in for Ben when he’s out of town being famous! We’ve been doing that for the past few years.
You’ve been a presence on the Island for several years now.
I’ve been a regular out there since 2006! It’s a magical place, and I love it so much. A home away from home.
Truly! So, 2020 was an absolute shit show that we’re just now climbing out of. You were partaking in the Les Misérables U.S. Tour when the national lockdowns were issued. As someone who clearly loves live performance and being around people, how did you make it through that year?
Honestly, once Les Miz closed, I was not in a good place. But, I am the luckiest girl in the world to have the greatest man in my life; without Jordan (Wolfe), I would’ve probably been a mess. He was supportive, motivating, and thoughtful, which saved me. He’s my man, my partner in crime and the love of my life–we’ve been together for four years, but we’ve known each other for eight. Husband. Material. Honey… #swoon.
He’s very project-oriented and has zero vices, so we did a lot during the pandemic! We taught virtual master classes to kids, wrote and starred in a short film, released a Christmas single, competed in a vocal competition… just to name a few.
Despite that short film’s title, I just watched Do Not Watch! So cute… I bet we’ll see that song from the movie show up in a future project!
So, where are you from originally? And were you destined to be a performer from day one, do you think?
Born in Dallas, grew up in St. Petersburg FL, and moved to NYC right when I booked Hairspray–the day I graduated high school. I think I knew I’d be doing this from a very young age. I could sing before I could talk, and my family was extremely aware of me being a ham.
Oh my, I didn’t know you got Tracy Turnblad so young! That’s considered one of the hardest roles to cast! What was that audition process like?
Well, I went to an open call while in New York auditioning for colleges. I was in there for 20 minutes, basically doing all the sides. Three months later, they called to have me come back up for finals. Then it was down to seven girls, and they called me while I was boarding my plane that I had booked Broadway.
Incredible! I’m guessing your time as Tracy, both on Broadway and on tour, was a life changing experience that taught you so much of the ins and outs of the biz.
Very much so. A hands on learning experience… and no student loans, so, party, lol!
Cheers to that! By the way, what are your thoughts to some of the changes that Actors’ Equity made recently regarding their membership policy? Are these changes a step in the right direction?
I have always thought Equity needed to make it easier for new membership. The more of us we have, the less producers can make shifty contracts for non-Eq productions to pay actors less. If they can pay all the other unions a normal rate for a non-Eq tour, why pay the actors less? So, I think we’re moving in the right direction.
I will say that they need to get it together with answering the demands of creating actual inclusiveness and diversity for our union. This open portal is using “inclusiveness” as the reasoning for this, but in truth–they’re broke. There’s a lot of policies and such that need addressing, that I think will eventually get fixed. I am more than happy for everyone to join. But, if the initiation fee stays the same (which is very high) and you expect to diversify the playing field, I think they’re dreaming. Just my two cents. *Walks off soap box*
Preach! So here are just a handful of quick questions that all inquiring gay minds want to know the answers to.
Well, each time I’ve recorded it’s been a completely different process. But I will say, each time was a wonderful learning experience. Obviously I love to be live more, lol, but recording something means you preserve it forever… that one moment in time. Which is special.
Indeed! So I guess the worlds of musical theater and queer nightlife have just always been intertwined, and you’ve been a regular presence at bars filling in for drag queens and guest starring in their shows. When did that all start for you?
I think when I moved to New York, I was 18 and pretended like I knew what I was doing! I just went to every concert, every open mic, etc., they would let me in. You meet people, do a lot of work for free, and get around town. That was my beginnings: working hard, and keeping my head up.
Are you watching this season of Drag Race All-Stars, by the way? And are you a Jan Stan?
OMG yes! And yes, I’ve been a Jan Stan from jump. I knew Charlie when he was in college; he’s an angel, and deserves everything. I’ve also known Ginger for a long time, so I’m hoping a big girl may finally get a crown.
Now let’s talk about the newest hotspot in the Gayborhood: The Q! With multiple floors and celebrity management (including NYC nightlife Svengali Frankie Sharp), the brand new venue already offers a huge variety of programming from drag to jazz to standup to circuit parties. And this coming Wednesday will see the premiere of “The Rowdy Dowdy Hour” (11pm), starring yourself alongside Drew Wutke. Tell us about how this night came about!
It has been a dream of mine to always have my own weekly show somewhere. “Rowdy Dowdy Hour” has been in the back of my mind for years! Drew and I were talking one day about how we should do a show, and I mentioned this idea. We said, “okay, who do I have to call!?” So I texted Tim Young, my good Judy, who put me in touch with Frankie! Bam… show! I couldn’t be more excited or grateful to be joining The Q family.
Can’t wait for the premiere! Also, you’re one of many Broadway performers still fundraising for this year’s Broadway Bares, the sexy /fun, very important campaign for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, an organization which you’ve done much great work for.
This is my fifteenth Bares… it’s my favorite thing to do. Be sure to donate to my Broadway Cares Stripathon Page. The virtual show happened last month, and we’re fundraising until July 31! I believe next year we’ll be back [as a live show].
Excellent! So lastly: what is a notable onstage mishap that you’ve experienced?
Hmm… I definitely fell down on Broadway… slipped and fell flat on my face, lol! I almost broke my nose. But I caught myself, spun in my butt, and got right back up. It was in the middle of the “Tracy” Break in “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”
New York makeup artist Jp Ramirez, roommate of drag queen Inita D, has been missing since Wednesday, July 21th when he was last seen within the vicinity of 427 W 51st St. Obviously family and friends are very concerned. If you have any information as to his whereabouts, please contact Inita directly, email Thotyssey, or reply below anonymously if needed.
Tokyo-born singer-songwriter Juri Jinnai eventually moved to Boston and formed Emergency Tiara, a band celebrating retro sounds and looks whose mission involved “wishing to encourage people to acknowledge their worth and remember they are beautiful.” After a few years of joyful and intricate recordings and performances (and lewks!), lockdown put ET–like all things–to a standstill of sorts. But the creativity never stopped, and August will mark their incredible osntage return!
Thotyssey: Hello Juri, thanks so much for talking to us today! I was watching a snippet on your IG previewing an intimate live version of a new song! You and the band also got to play Brooklyn Pride a few weeks ago, which was your first official onstage reunion post-lockdown. How great is it to be performing live again, after that miserable 2020?
Emergency Tiara: I am so pumped to be able to perform and connect with people again! I must say, I’m a little bit nervous about going back to the stage. I mean… can I still sing and dance at the same time!? But I didn’t really stop singing or dancing during the miserable 2020, so hopefully my legs won’t fall off, lol!
Where did you spend most of your lockdown, and what was that experience like for you?
I was on the full paranoia bus so I almost never left home except going to get Covid test here and there. But to be honest, I really don’t have much to complain! I was hiding in my apartment and just making music day in day out! Also thanks to social media and internet, it gave me so much power and warm feelings to be able to stay in touch with ET family and fans from all over the world, and share our struggles and joy.
Many creatives were left uninspired during quarantine, but you and your writing partner Willow were quite prolific; you composed lots of new songs! Was there a specific driving force behind that creativity?
Writing to me is more like a therapy, so I needed to be writing–especially because the time was harder! But yes, to find some inspirations was a bit challenging when you’re just in your apartment for 13 months! Luckily, I am a big film fan, and watched over 400 movies in 2020 since March. Cooking is another thing I enjoy doing, so I got lots of inspiration from that. As a matter of fact, one of my new songs is called “Bacon And Eggs,” lol!
Speaking of movies, has Quentin Tarantino ever scouted ET for one of his soundtracks, or even a scene in one of his movies? He would stan you!
That’d be my dream! I love love love his movies and music selections so much! If you know Mr. Tarantino, please share my music with him!
In general, what sort of things inspire your sounds and lyrics, and what’s that process of writing songs with Willow like?
I love the feeling of nostalgia, so a lot of my sound inspirations are some of those classic iconic artists such as David Bowie, Prince, Talking Heads, whose music has been around for a long time yet still relevant and cool in the modern days! Lyrically, I enjoy being silly and flirty with the lyrics… but not sure what actually inspires it, great question! I’ll think about it, haha!
When I write with Willow, I bring at least one or two song ideas, and we just talk and talk and talk until something clicks for both of us! From there, it really depends on the song: sometimes melody first, sometimes lyrics first, sometimes demo track first!
I love that nostalgic sound that ET serves us–that classic vintage instrumentation and groove that brings to mind Motown, Brill Building and surf rock–all that amazing early 60’s stuff. You all play real instruments, which is a really rare novelty for kids today who grew up with this very produced and computer-polished pop music. How did those classic sounds come to influence your current sound so strongly?
I do love Motown, and grew up listening to Diana Ross, Stevie, Marvin, and all the classics! I think our generation didn’t have social media and iPhones when we were teens, so we were exchanging CDs with friends to be able to listen to more music than I could buy CDs myself… and naturally ended up listening to a lot of parents’ CDs as well. I believe limitation can be a bliss!
You were born in Tokyo, then moved to Boston in your early 20s where you formed the band. Were you seeking that sort of collaboration, or did it just kind of happen naturally?
My mother wanted to live abroad when she was younger, but it was a different era… so she wasn’t able to. So she asked me if I would study abroad! I absolutely had no hesitation, and just moved to the states without being able to speak English! So very not well planned at all!
Is it weird at all to write music in English, when that’s not your native language? Like, are there all these great Japanese turns of phrase and concepts that would just get lost in English translation?
I think I’d be weird if you try to translate from Japanese to English. But because I got to learn English here in America, I had a great opportunity to learn the culture that’s inseparable from the language. I love both languages, and I try not to change [their] nature ’cause they’re already so beautiful as is!
Now you’re a New Yorker! How do you like it here so far, coming from Boston? The pizza’s better, certainly!
I love New York–my favorite city in the whole world! The city is full of driven, exciting, fun people who inspire and motivate me all of the times. But yes, the food here is also fantastic! Not only the choices we get, but also the late night meal options here are incredible. I feel so spoiled!
Emergency Tiara has now recorded several singles and a full album, Unsophisticated Circus (2019). Do you have a favorite song of yours from your whole career?
This is a hard question, because all my songs are my babies! But I must say “Explode” is definitely one of my top favorites. The song won John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and that gave me a little boost in my confidence as a songwriter. And I am also very excited to share some of my new music I’ve been cooking!
I also love your style, which can also be called vintage… but I’m wondering if you work with any designers for your chic stage looks? I especially enjoyed what you wore in the “Explode” video.
Thank you! My mom plays a big influence in this also! My mom is my fashion muse and icon my whole life, and to be able to grow up watching a confident woman who always dresses to her perfection taught me so much about the joy of fashion! I don’t work with any particular designer, but I would love too, haha!
How do you like the process of filming music videos–is it fun, or tedious? You certainly have a lot of great ones!
Huge, huge thanks to my beautiful husband Russell, who makes most of my music videos! I personally have great times every time I get to make music videos with Russ and many other talented artists in NYC. But all I know is, filmmaking is so hard… so I am not sure if Russ is having as much fun, lol!
“Explode” looked particularly intricate, with a lot of choreography where all the different on-screen “versions” of you had to match up! You have these very fluid, graceful movements; does choreography come easy for you?
Oh no! I am just so lucky to have great people around me including my dear friend Denosh Bennett who choreographed not only the “Explode” video but also a lot of our live performance sets [as well as the] “Do Not Disturb” and “2 Kool 4 Skool” videos! As far as dancing, I am still trying to get better at it… like, a lot better! Lol!
You and your backup singers are often seen in brightly colored wigs, which obviously makes us think of drag. I recall a set you all did in Stonewall a few years ago, and as mentioned earlier you just did Brooklyn Pride. Is queer culture a big influence on your sound, style and philosophy?
YES! I have so much respect for anyone who fights every day just to be able to live life as who they are no matter of the oppression, because it is not easy. To see so many minorities shine truly is my biggest joy and power source. I do hope those stupid human-made oppressions goes away, though.
Did you ever have an all-time favorite onstage moment?
Ahh, so many! But to mention a couple: at the Chicago Pride in 2019, it was down pouring rain during our set. But so many people stayed to watch our performance, getting soaked with us! I was so so touched! Another one is when I was opening for Belinda Carlisle for her UK tour in 2019. Belinda, her team and her fans treated us so well and beyond, and it was my “dreams come true” moment!
We don’t see as many full bands performing live and making hit records like we used to. There are a lot of reasons for that. But are we maybe seeing a return of instrumentation, as live performing becomes so much more important for artists to stand out?
I love live band, DJ set, and everything in between. But there is always something magical about playing music with your friends, so I def recommend trying it if you are an artist and haven’t tried yet! But if you got your “thing,” keep on shining!
Emergency Tiara will be back in full force at a very cool Brooklyn venue, Elsewhere, on Friday, August 6th! What’s that set gonna look and sound like, and how excited are you all for this?
We will be playing from old to new songs with a powered up version of ET! It’s gonna be a full band (Sass Boys) plus singers and dancers (Sister Wives)! An amazing friend / dancer of mine, Olivia Cipolla, is choreographing the whole show. So hope everyone can come party with us!
Anything else coming up that the children should be keeping their eyes and ears open for?
We are working on an EP and an LP! So please stay tuned, and hopefully I get to share more details sooooon!
One fan geek question: I love an “old” song of yours (from 2017?), “Make You Fall In Love,” but I’ve only heard live versions of it. Will you ever record a studio version of that?
We actually did! But I completely forgot about it until you just asked, oops! It’s time for me to go back to my whole catalog, isn’t it? Lol!
And finally: What’s your best advice for someone who desperately wants to find their way in music, but is facing frustration and adversity…. especially if they don’t perfectly fit the mold of a 2021 popstar?
I think the best thing to do is to look inward instead of outward, and know who you truly are as an artist and as a person. There is only a few “popstar” spots, but that doesn’t mean other music cannot exist! As long as you enjoy the musician journey including the results that often come with struggles and be true to yourself, the doors will open up! Please don’t put yourself in any mold that is not genuine to you! (I get very passionate about this kinda thing, haha!)
Sporting both an old school androgynous look and a very new school approach to making disco dream pop anthems and super cute nightlife events, Dexter Driscoll joins the effort to rebuild the scene post-lockdown.
Thotyssey: Hey there! How is the season treating you so far, Dexter?
Dexter Driscoll: My summer’s been so much fun. I’m so happy to be exhausted, after all the isolation last year.
Right!? How did you get through 2020? Was it all sad and boring and uninspiring, or were there moments of creativity?
A very close family member had Covid, and was on a ventilator at the beginning of everything in April. When he survived, I was so grateful that everything was manageable. I liked the isolation and having a pod of friends. I ended up writing what I think is my best song ever. I liked the isolation, and am glad to be out of it now. The extremes triggered my creativity, I think.
That does makes sense… and that’s wonderful news about your family member!
As far as all your creative and professional pursuits, is it safe to say you’re first and foremost a recording artist?
So, were you always exposed to and interested in music while growing up?
Absolutely. My mom loves disco and pop, so she really formed my taste. She always listened to the radio, and we loved hearing TLC, Britney, Savage Garden. I took my first piano lesson at 6, and asked to play Donna Summer. It all makes sense, lol!
There’s definitely a disco vibe to be heard in your debut album from 2018 The Price of Fantasy, especially in the slapping “Fantasy” track I just got into. And there’s also kind of a spacy mellow dreampop vibe, like in “Rendezvous.”
Thanks! “Fantasy” is the first song I ever wrote. I’m really proud of those, because they’re me proving to myself that I could do it. I think my favorites on the first record are “Alone” and “I Want You.” But I’m really excited for what’s coming next. It’s more focused–very inspired by Depeche Mode. Stay tuned, I’ll be releasing it soon!
Where are you from originally, and how did you find your way to NYC nightlife?
I was born in the Boston area, and grew up in Plymouth. I was desperate to get out and figure out where I belonged, so I worked three jobs and saved to travel for a year at 18. I met some of my best friends in Napoli and they lived in New York, so I applied to schools here. Before then, it was a toss up of New York or LA. When I got here I started going out, and you have to figure out what elements resonate. It took me a few years, but I figure out that for me Rockbar and Nowhere feel like home.
Tell us about your presence in those two bars; I believe you were primarily in the DJ booth at Nowhere and on stage at Rockbar?
Yes! I had a monthly party at Nowhere called “Body Language” where I got to play all the sexy, loungey pop music that I wasn’t hearing out, but wanted to: “Rock the Boat” by Aaliyah and “Slow” by Kylie Minogue, etc.[You could] drink a Manhattan, and [enjoy a] chill vibe. The last one was just before lockdown, so perhaps it will come back!
At Rockbar I did a few variety shows with music, dance, drag, etc. as well as some themed dance parties. Rockbar gave me the space to grow, which has been a privilege.
It’s all come together as my new party called “Venus in Furs,” which is the fourth Friday of every month. This Friday is #FreeBritney themed, for obvious reasons. I have a killer DJ setlist, and will be performing some songs in Britney’s honor at midnight. I’m really excited because Rockbar is donating 10% of the bar to Win NYC, which is a shelter for women and children. Britney’s situation is such a heightened example of misogyny, and I’m glad we’re able to support women in our city.
You actually have a weekly presence at Rockbar now.
I’m hosting karaoke every Wednesday at 9pm, which has been incredibly fun! Come say hi!
We’ll pop in for a number! Lastly: what is a song, new or old, that is potentially giving you Life right this moment?
What are drag audiences like out of the city, at least in this case?
The energy was amazing! So loving. Lets just say they don’t believe in $1 bills when it comes to tippin’.
That’s what we like to hear! Meanwhile, things are picking up here in NYC post-lockdown. Have you been enjoying the local gigging, or just kiki-ing, around the city this past summer?
During the lockdown, I actually became more intimate with my drag. There was a point where my job closed down, unemployment was not coming, and my rent was due. My good sis Islaya helped me do some online shows to help me out. Needless to say, bills were paid. Since then, I made a promise to myself that I will go out and go just as hard for myself and for my gals.
Love that! So where are you from originally, and what kind of things were you into while growing up as far as music, performance, fashion, etc?
I was born in Long Island and was raised in East New York. I remember being, like, nine years old and MTV actually played music videos at the time. So every morning before school, I was watching Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj.
My personal fashion has always been grunge growing up, ’til now. I wanted to be cool so bad–I would go to school and cut my jeans with little safety scissors, so my mom wouldn’t be able to stop me. In high school, I had them raccoon eyes. I just loved things that were different, and made you question things, as a child!
How did you ultimately discover drag and become Miss Bussy?
I never had a great relationship with my parents. When I moved out at 20 to Bushwick, I felt so free. After a while, I started to ask myself… what was next? I would start putting myself in a negative space. I started to watch Drag Race, and I would forget about all my worries and would be so happy. So I decided fuck it, I want to make people feel the way I do when I watch drag. So I took all my insecurities, threw some thick padding on her, did her makeup… and thus Miss Bussy was born! A relatable, ratchet Brooklyn gal.
What’s your favorite number to do these days?
Currently, I’ve been gagging the children with my “WAP” number. But if I don’t wanna break a sweat in the summer heat, I’ll a lil quick “Did It On ‘Em” moment.
So not too long ago, there was a Brooklyn Scene and a Manhattan Scene in regards to drag, and the girls more or less stayed in their lanes. But it seems post-Covid that this line has definitely blurred; all queens are performing wherever they can! That’s a good thing, right?
Honestly, since doing drag I never really understood the “scenes.” Nor can I say I was ever a part of one. Doing “Production,” I was in the city. My own bingo was in Brooklyn, and soon I’ll have a weekly with my gals in PA. I think if the Gurlz are still worried about scenes and lanes after this quarantine… chiiilleee, hang that shit up and put it away.
Absolutely! What’s that bingo in Brooklyn you just mentioned?
“Bussy Bingo” was actually co-hosted with Islaya before the pandemic struck. However, you might be able to play bingo with us again real soon. Stay tuned!
Tell us about your current Drag Race viewing party… that’s at Footlight?
Its actually not in the actual Footlight bar. That bar closed down; they turned into a hosting space. The bar that this event is hosted in isn’t really a gay / queer bar. However, they have a space in the back that we use, and it’s so cute! I love hosting and talking at the mic. It allows me to be more intimate with my audience, and helps them understand me. Being the only working QPOC who does drag there [has its] challenging moments–however, those moments always motivate me and make my passion for drag burn more!
Werq! Did you have any thoughts on the last ep of Drag Race? Many are calling Scarlet’s elimination over, say, Jan, to be controversial and shady!
I mean honestly, the whole season been shady! Track record and report card don’t seem to exist, it feels like. Honestly, if there was a time for Jan to go home, the latest episode was it, mawma.
That may be so! Well, we’re still holding out for this “Game Within a Game” payoff; maybe there will be some RuDemptions!
Is there anything else we should mention?
Yes! First of all, thank you so much. This was super cute! And secondly, always support your queens! And if you are a queen, still support your queens!
Preach! And thank you, Miss Bussy!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Miss Bussy’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Instagram.