Saturday, 15 September 2012

BIG FREEDIA BRINGS THE BOUNCE : interview by Christine Leonard

More bounce to the ounce! 

Big Freedia brings the booty shaking

Big Freedia from the Big Easy 

 A one-woman pageant of fabulousness, bounce sensation Big Freedia (pronounced “Freeda”) has a special place in her heart for her fans. Rightly accredited with blowing the doors off of hip-hop music’s gold-plated closet of sexual stereotypes, the Queen Diva, like fellow sissy-rapper Katey Red, booty-shaker Cheeky Blakk, and electro-queer ragamuffin Sissy Nobby, represents the glittering future of an infamously homophobic corner of the music industry.

“I’m so excited to be coming back and playing at the HiFi, baby! Oh, yeah!” she says. “I’m touring with my dancers and I’ll probably have my DJ with me too. No matter what, we’re going to give it all to you. We settle in pretty quick when we’re on the road; we’re used to going at it hard.”

Celebrated for her bombastic Mardi Gras-inspired bounce workouts, the gender-bending icon’s explosive performances attract throngs (and thongs) of good-time seeking female admirers. Shaking one’s thang is pretty much mandatory at any Big Freedia show, as the spicy videos captured at her live appearances with big-band, funk maestros Galactic attest.
“I had so much fun touring with Galactic when they brought me on the road with them,” Freedia says. “It was great to do something different and funk things up really good. They love to rock with me. They my boys. When I do my own shows I like to switch it up and engage the crowd as much as possible,” she continues. “I actually love it when they have us headlining on the same bill as a rock band, or punk band, or straight-up hip-hop, or whatever. I love introducing people to the amazing contrasts between genres, giving them something completely new that they’ve never experience before. It’s very exciting to be a part of this movement; I’m very grateful to be associated with the origins of bounce. How do I define bounce? You could say we consider ourselves uptempo and bass-heavy with a lot of call-and-response chants.”

Liberating the masses with heady beats and invigorating rhymes, Big Freedia identifies with her audience members on an ecstatic emotional level. Beyond the roof-raising drag-rap ruckus and hedonistic sampling that are the hallmarks of a Queen Diva joint, the singer harbours an uncanny sense of resilience and self-worth. There’s no question that both qualities link the capricious rapper to her avant-garde music and her deep New Orleans bloodlines.

“I’m happy to have a role in letting people be free to be themselves. For the most part, I think the guys who come to my shows find me approachable. I’m not just about empowering women. I encourage everyone to get onstage. Not just women; anyone who wants to dance and feel freaky at that moment. I’m giving them their moment to rock how they rock, and I don’t judge how they shake they ass. Everybody has their own ability and Big Freedia wants to help them out in a major way and get them tearing up the dance floor.”
Big Freedia is a successful interior decorator by day, and her keen eye for beauty and irrepressible joie de vivre has put her artistic skills in demand.

“I’m used to having a job, and usually return to doing my design work whenever I’m back home. Interior decorating continues to be one of the great sources of happiness in my life. I look for sources of inspiration every chance I get. I recently met one of my idols, Ru Paul. We just shot a video for a new song called ‘Peanut Butter’ together a week ago. It was a dream come true.”

by Christine Leonard
Originally Published in Fast Forward Magazine Sept. 2012 


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