Australian 'RuPaul's Drag Race' alum & international pop-star Courtney Act chats about her new EP 'Kaleidoscope', her feelings on American audiences, and much more!
Already an established star in Australia, Courtney Act is one of Australia's biggest (and shiniest!) pop-stars thanks to her star-turning appearance in the US hit show 'RuPaul's Drag Race'.
Her new EP is a well-crafted pop spectacle, and 'Kaleidoscope' (partially funded by her fans on Kickstarter) not only cements her status as one the biggest Drag Race stars, but one of the world's most promising pop stars.
Congratulations on the new EP! How long has it been in your brain? Have you been working on this project since pre-drag race days?
The dream to release a record of original pop music has been brewing since I was a little boy growing up in Brisbane. I’ve been writing original music for years, but the title track Kaleidoscope, which I wrote with Sam Sparro, was the first track we wrote off the EP and the happened in January last year
Why did you decide on releasing an EP and not a full LP?
It costs a lot when releasing music independently and I wanted to go for quality over quantity.
What made you want to name the EP Kaleidoscope?
I love the metaphor. There is a gay rainbow, but to me a Kaleidoscope is all inclusive. It is all of the colours and facets that come together to create a beautiful image.
Tell me about working with Jake Shears and Sam Sparro - what was it like collaborating with them?
I mean… those two are brilliant. They are also so kind and generous with their time and talent, it was so cool getting to collaborate with them.
Ugly is a very personal song, what inspired the lyrics and the video?
The lyrics were inspired by a post drag race slump I was experiencing. I would find myself going down the rabbit hole of social media and the comments. I really struggled for a while post drag race with the image of me that was portrayed on TV. It really hurt to see this edited version of events that I don’t think accurately portrayed what actually happened… but hey, there were not shooting a documentary, they were shooting a “reality TV show”. I get it now. The video was based on a relationship I had last year with a straight-identifying guy. He had only ever been with “biological females” before and wasn’t attracted to guys. But when we met we had this instant connection that seemed to transcend our genders and sexualities. It was a really cool experience cause he was so open and willing to just go with what felt right. He’s back with his ex-girlfriend now…
Will you be doing a Kaleidoscope tour here in Australia?
NOT SOON ENOUGH!!! I don’t have any dates yet, but I know i will be touring before the end of the year and i can’t wait. There is nothing quite like a home crowd!
How do American audiences differ to Australian audience when it comes to your shows?
This doesn’t quite answer the question about audiences, but it does articulate the difference between the two countries. I was shooting the music video for Body Parts a couple of weeks ago with the amazing Australia team The Squared Division. They are amazing if you don’t know their work, they do Britney, Iggy, Nick Jonas, Kesha, J.Hud etc. We were shooting in LA and the first set-up of the day I started to get paranoid because I was hearing “No. Less eyes. Move that left foot. Straighten your right leg.” I started thinking I was doing a horrible job and then I realized I was just so used to working with Americans who are always very enthusiastic on set. “WERK!!! YAZZZ MOMMA. YOU’RE GIVING MY LIFE HUNTY” is what I usually hear on a set with Americans. We Australians have a very minimalist, practical, to the point nature about us. I chuckled about this with Ash and Ant the Squared Division boys and so through out the day they would throw in a “YAZZZZ!!!! WERK!!!!” for my amusement and we would all have a laugh. Can’t wait for you to see the video they produced though, it is so epic!
Image via Facebook
What’s the first thing you do when you come home to Australia after being away for so long?
I usually go for a walk around Dalringhurst and Surry Hills. Just by myself to see what has changed since I was last there. I will walk from Taylor Square down Oxford St and pop in and see Polly at StoneWall, Chelsea at House of Priscilla, Claire at Claire’s Kitchen and bump into any other familiar faces along the way
So you are one of the American Apparel Ad girls with Willam and Alaska. What’s it like working with the girls?
It is a trip. They are both very different to me and I think we all bring out different sides of ourselves. Like any good relationship, opposites attract. The three of us though have a great trust and respect for each other which makes it all work so well.
What advice would you give to the girls going into RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8?
Have fun, over-prepare and know that you are making a reality TV show, this is not real life.
Finally, how do you see yourself as a performer developing in the coming years?
In the US my music is being picked up by lots of mainstream outlets, big pop culture blogs and magazine are loving the music and the visuals. I hope this just continues to grown all around the world. I want to make music, videos and concerts and pop culture!!!
Buy 'Kaleidoscope' on iTunes here.