Just because Brice Cobb (known better as drag queen Vitamin B) suffered an injury that broke her leg doesn’t mean she’s letting it break her spirit.
(HOUSTON) – Anyone who knows anything about Houston’s drag queens knows one thing: they may love to mess around, but when it comes to their careers, they’re aren’t here to play. Playful, hilarious, spontaneous, and spry, the drag queen community in Houston is constantly tapping into its wealth of personalities, powers, and pageantry to offer audiences something new. And from queen-to-queen, there’s something different to be offered to those audiences. Whether it comes from the reigning Miss Gay Texas America Regina Blake-DuBois’s unrivaled Broadway numbers at her Monday night show, The Broad’s Way, at Michael’s Outpost, the many cartoon character portrayals of Carmina Vavra, the beautifully eccentric costumes and mixes brought to you by Ondi, or the bearded beauty herself, Blackberri, singing at you to give her a dollar, there’s no shortage of different personalities in the Houston drag scene. And creating a personality that is new, vibrant, inventive, and novel isn’t easy. But what’s harder? Keeping it alive.
Drag isn’t for the faint of heart, nor is it for those without a thick skin. Like with all performance art, performing drag is taking the risk of being rejected by an audience. Will they like a performance? Will they understand the costume? Will I remember the words to the song? How can I own this and make it mine? There’s much to be considered. What draws people to drag is the very thing that make it so unique — its aberrance. And as time goes on, drag is becoming more-and-more cultural in and out of the LGBTQ community. Whether it be noticed by people outside the community watching RuPaul on a weekly basis, locals attending drag bingos and drag story times at local bars and libraries, or LGBTQ people attending its many events throughout their cities, drag is constantly gaining more steam and becoming more popular.
So what happens when tragedy strikes a queen on the road to success who’s made a name for herself and is gaining recognition? Ask Brice Cobb, otherwise known by his stage name as Vitamin B. Vitamin first made her stage debut last February and was well on her way to her two year anniversary in drag when she snapped her tibia in half earlier this month during a performance at Magical Girl Day in Houston. The weekend-long convention hosted a number of Houston’s drag performers, but during a performance of Katy Perry’s “Hey Hey Hey” (a relatively slow song), Vitamin fell backwards resulting in her injury, only to get back up and finish the number for her cheering audience. What Vitamin hoped was a quick-to-heal injury turned out to be her tibia split in half, which required full bedrest, a cast and bone stimulator, and a hiatus from drag until as early as the beginning of 2019. What followed, however, may have been equally devastating. Cobb, who is a substitute teacher by day and a full-time drag performer by night, was forced to hit the brakes on both jobs and was even forced to drop out of the very popular Dessie’s Drag Race at Rich’s during its third All Stars season.
But is B letting the injury keep her down? Not entirely. As a queen who took her drag seriously and one that worked to prove her place in the community, Vitamin B isn’t hiding away during this time of recovery. In fact, she’s here to make sure that no one forgets her name before her big comeback early next year. One way that she’s done this has been through a hilarious and well-received release of “albums” following the release of Ariana Grande’s fourth album, Sweetener. And the first one looked like this:
Yes, that’s right. Modeled after the Sweetener album cover came Vitamin B’s own Sweet-N-Low. But that’s not all. After gaining attention from her many drag and performer friends, Vitamin B has gone on to establish a pseudo-record label and “sign” her various entertainer brothers and sisters. Each “album” mimes the personalities of various performers, with tracks and titles named after catchphrases, personal lives, quirks, and trademarks. From Carmina Vavra’s Waluigi album to Tatiana Mala-Niña’s Looking for Roman, each album is a fun poke at the artist with the sort of love-filled trolling only a fellow entertainer who has worked alongside them could muster up.
Vitamin B told About Magazine:
“I mean the reason why I’m doing is this is because, honestly, I’m so alone right now. I’m separated from my life […] Making these album posts is keeping me busy and connected with my community.”
Take a look at a few of our favorite album covers below:
Lily VonTease: I Am Breast
Highlights: “Houston’s Drag Race? IDK Her”, “Please Book Me”, “I’m a Lesbian Now” (feat. Liza Lott), “Smallest Waist”.
Blackberri: Bearded Beauty Herself
Highlights: “Angelo Where Are My Photos”, “I Host Everything”, and “U Don’t Book Me, I Book You”.
Estella Blow: 1% African
Highlights: “I Scammed Adriana for $600”, “1 Point Behind” (feat. Ondi), “The Room Bar Stalls”, and “I Won Best Alt Queen and Quit Drag”.
Violet S’Arbleu: I Am 31
Highlights: “Carbs (Gimme Gimme Gimme)”, “Hi Hi”, and “There’s My Mom … Drinking Her Wine”.
Estella Blow & Blackberri: Blowberri
Highlights: “101% African”, “We Were Drunk When We Crowned Iris”, “Did Angelo Send Your Photo?”, and “Skin 2 Skin”.
Tatiana Mala Niña: Looking for Roman
Highlights: This whole thing is magic. Let’s be honest.
Angelina DM Trailz: AHHHHHHHH
Highlights: “Guys Come to Guava”, “Don’t Forget Your Vitamins”, and “Ahhhhh”.
Carmina Vavra: Waluigi
Highlights: (Also basically perfect, but if we have to pick) “Wahhhhh!”, “Bring Me Cigs”, and “Crimson Chin”.
Ondi: I Am White
Highlights: “I Am White”, “Zack Emerson’s Pubes”, “I’m an Artist. That Over There is Trash”, and “Have Some Taste Will You”.
Regina Blake-DuBois: Current Reigning
Highlights: “Fair Regina” (feat. the Broad’s Way), “Dessie’s Gown”, and “Good Witch”.
Dessie Love-Blake: Queen
Highlights: “Stage Mom”, “Let’s Just Have Everyone Lipsync”, “Regina is My Daughter”, and my personal favorite of all the song titles on any album, “Miss Pinky Nail 1894 … Kara Dion”.
One thing is safe to say: no matter how long Vitamin B is out of commission with her leg, with this level of love she’s showing the Houston drag scene, she won’t be forgotten and she will certainly have a place to come back home to when she’s fully recovered.
About Magazine took off to Dallas this past weekend to attend LeakyCon, the largest Harry Potter convention in the world, where editor-in-chief Anthony Ramirez caught up with Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley in the films to chat about the movies, their impact on LGBTQ people, and what he’s been up to since.
(DALLAS) – LeakyCon is the largest Harry Potter convention in the entire world, which began nine years ago in Boston. Now, getting ready to head into its tenth anniversary year in 2019 with two celebrations (one in Dallas and one in Boston) after celebrating its ninth in Dallas, it’s clear to About Magazine staffers why the convention is so popular for fans of the Harry Potter series — it’s friggin awesome. From booths selling hand-carved wands, to pints of butterbeer, to actors and creators of the Harry Potter universe meeting with fans and speaking about their experiences. From Sorcerer’s Stone all the way up to Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child, the convention celebrates it all — and proved to be especially accommodating to the LGBTQ community (see photo of bathroom signs below). There’s not shortage of things to do, balls to attend, panels discussing everything from rape culture in the series to JK Rowling’s Twitter presence. Attendees parade about in cosplay — one man in particular even striking an eerie resemblance to the late Alan Rickman — and rest in common rooms appropriately decorated for each of the four houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Ramirez claims to be a studious Ravenclaw, while his friend/pretend employee if anyone at LeakyCon asked, Kirby Mitchell, asserts he is a courageous Gryffindor, but is more likely an undercover Hufflepuff).
And while there, About Magazine editor-in-chief, both Ramirez and Mitchell were given the opportunity to meet one of the film’s stars, Mr. Chris Rankin. Rankin appeared as Ron Weasley’s elder brother Percy — the perfect prefect that had a knack for being a bit of kiss-ass but that turned out to be a hot, ass-kicking wizard nonetheless — in all but two of the franchise’s original eight films (adaptations of Goblet of Fire & Half-Blood Prince didn’t include Percy’s character). But eighteen years after his first audition, Rankin is a lot more than just the goodie-two-shoes of the ginger-headed Weasley family. He’s hard at work back on the stage in a forthcoming production of The Wizard of Oz at the Bradford Playhouse in metropolitan West Yorkshire, England; and just recently, Rankin wrapped editing on his directorial debut — a short-film entitled Dad, which will air on the BBC sometime this winter. Between his film and stage work, Rankin takes kindly to meeting up with fans of Harry Potter across the world at conventions, conferences, and other public appearances. At LeakyCon, Ramirez and Mitchell were given the chance to talk to Rankin about how he got into the Potter-verse, his feelings on Wizarding World’s representation and diversity, and what it’s like to know that the LGBTQ community relates so much to a world he helped bring to life on the screen.
Anthony Ramirez: I really feel like … in doing these interviews — and I want to preface with this —
Chris Rankin: [Laughs] I love when an interview starts with, “I’m just gonna say this first …”
AR: [Laughs] I know. Right? It’s just — I mean, I talk more in interviews than I listen. But it’s fine.
AR: No, but I feel like y’all probably get the same questions over-and-over about Harry Potter.
CR: [Thinking] Yeah.
AR: So we’re going to try and be a little bit outside of the box. But I bet you that everyone thinks that they are.
AR: [Laughs] So first off, um, I guess to sort of get the general questions out of the way, did you ever think that when you got into this franchise that it was going to be continuing onto this level today?
CR: Umm … no. I think it’s fair to say that none of us really knew what we signed up for at all. I mean … we were kids. But having said that, I don’t even think the grown ups would have particularly realized that it was going to be like this. And I don’t think — yeah. Even when we kind of realized like, This is a big deal — which I think for most of us was around the time of the premiere of Sorcerer’s Stone — we kind of went, “Oh, God. There’s real people out there and they want to see this film.” I think even then, and probably even most of the way through — probably way through to like 2011 when the last film came out — I don’t think that any of us anticipated that we’d still be here … now. And I know there’s Fantastic Beasts, and that’s sort of keeping the thing alive.
CR: But I don’t know. It’s been eighteen years since we started filming. But it was kind of unprecedented.
AR: Well, we [Anthony and his friend, Kirby] were talking about that last night, too. Trying to figure out how long it had been. And we were both kind of like, “Omigod.”
CR: It’s eighteen years next — no … eighteen years in about ten days time since I had my first audition. And then I started shooting about September 2000.
AR: Wow. That’s crazy.
CR: It’s terrifying.
AR: [Laughs] .
CR: I’m 35 this year. It’s … weird.
AR: I bet. And you said not even the adults were expecting it. And you were working with people like Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith who had been in film their entire lives.
AR: And it just blew out of the water so quickly.
AR: When it comes to the Harry Potter universe — and it keeps going with Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child — do you see that at any point there might be some sort of end to that? Or do you think this is going to be something that carries with generations and generations to come like it has so far?
CR: I think — I don’t know. At some point there kind of has to become a point where Jo [Rowling] stops giving us new original creative material to work from.
AR: Well, and she won’t live forever either. So …
CR: No. Well, and that’s true. Unless … you know … well, you just never know with Jo. You don’t know.
AR: [Laughs] She’s got the Philosopher’s Stone.
CR: It’s entirely possible that Jo knows how to do that.
Kirby Mitchell: [Laughs].
CR: But we’ve been promised five total Fantastic Beasts [films]. There has to come a point where enough is enough in terms of milking it. You know there’s only so much you can get ‘blood out of a stone’ wise. But, having said that, even without Fantastic Beasts, because again I’m 35 this year, I started reading Potter when the second book came out, so in ’98. So when I was 14. So I’m kind of first gen, original Harry Potter group of people. I’ve got friends who I went to school with who’ve got fourteen or fifteen-year-old kids who have obviously started reading Harry Potter five or six years ago who are second gen. And it’s not that they’re only reading it because Fantastic Beasts exists or because Cursed Child exists. They’re reading it because their parents are going, “These books are amazing.” And they’re going, “Oh, yeah. These books are amazing.” And that will carry on and carry on. So, yeah, feasibly, we could still be doing this in forty years’ timeon like fourth generation Potter fans. It’s entirely possible. How well the films stack up against age, we can only say.
AR: Well, it’s certainly one of those things like with with The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings —those books span generationally.
CR: Yeah. Even Star Wars, which is like thirty or forty years old. You can still watch the original Star Wars and go, “Yeah. The graphics are a bit pokey. […] The storylines are terrible and it’s cheesy as hell. But … it’s great.” Maybe people will be saying that about Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets in about thirty years’ time. But, yeah they could be better. But you know what? They’re classics.
AR: At that point all movies will just be in 3D.
KM: We’ll just have VR [virtual reality] movies in forty years.
CR: AR [augmented reality] movies probably by then.
AR: Exactly how did you get to — because obviously you were very young at the time — but how did the audition come about?
CR: It was — basically there was a TV show on the BBC, it was called Newsround, it was a kids news bulletin and young adults, I guess. And they put the last article on the program [which] was, “And finally, Warner Bros. is making a film of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and they want normal kids — just every day kids — to audition to play the parts in the film. So, if you want to be in film or you like Harry Potter and you want to do that, write to this address, send them a photo and a letter and say I wanna play whoever because of whatever. And if you don’t hear from them in two weeks, forget it ever happened.
CR: And a mate of mine I was at youth theatre with — I was sixteen at the time and he would’ve been 14 or so — he was ginger, as well, which is key. He rang me up on the landline, because this was before mobile phones — that’s how long ago this is.
CR: And he said, “Did you see that thing on Newsround? I think I’m gonna write in and say I wanna play Ron Weasley.” And I was like, “Yeah. I saw it. But I didn’t think anything of it.” And he was like, “Well, you should do it, as well.” So I did. I was like, “Yeah. Okay. Why not?” And my brain process was like, “Okay, well who should I play for?” Because I was sixteen and was sort of like, “Okay, well I’m sixteen. I’m too old for Ron. Harry’s not likely — besides everyone wants to do that. Hermione? Probably … unlikely.” And then I sort of thought, “Well, I’m ginger.” And Will, my mate, is ginger, as well. So I was kind of like, “Well, we’re both gingers. So Weasley is an obvious option. I’m not a twin. But I am sixteen. Percy’s sixteen. And I am a prefect. Percy’s a prefect. I’ve got ginger hair. Percy’s got ginger hair.”
AR: Wow. That aligned really well.
CR: It was like, “If I’m gonna get a part, it’s most likely to be Percy.” And that’s kind of just what I wrote. And then I didn’t hear anything for like five months. And then they just rung up out of the blue one day like, “Yeah. Can you come in tomorrow for an audition?” And I was sort of like, “Yeah. Sure.” And I did. And then like four days later I met Chris Columbus and David Heyman and reauditioned. And I started about a week and a half after that.
CR: When it happened it was just like poof! There you go! And then we were like on the Hogwarts Express chugging into Hogsmeade to do our first days’ filming.
AR: That’s insane. You were a very realistic sixteen-year-old knowing all of that, too.
CR: [Laughs]. I hedged my bets. I was like, “What part am I most likely to get? Let’s go with that.” Nobody likes Percy. He’s probably like the least popular choice.
AR: Oh, gosh. I don’t know. I always related to Percy because … I was a snitch.
AR: So we are an LGBTQ publication.
AR: And that obviously has a huge fandom just within the Harry Potter fans, too. And a lot of comes just from within the fact that LGBTQ people identify with Harry Potter’s story. As somebody who was a part of creating that story and bringing it to life, what does it make you feel like when people who are not just queer people, but people of color, and people with disabilities find that correlation — when they’re able to see themselves in those characters?
CR: Yeah. I think it says an awful lot about the world that Jo’s created. Interestingly, in my panel yesterday, somebody asked me about the lack of diversity in Harry Potter, which really kind of threw me, for a start. Literally the entire room went deathly silent.
AR: That’ll happen.
CR: Yeah. And I was like, Shiiiit. How am I gonna answer this without digging myself into an enormous hole?
CR: But what I was trying to say, although what i couldn’t quite work out how to say, is that there is a lack of diversity in Harry Potter. We can’t get away from that fact. However, the diverse masses have sort of focused on it and said, “This is the book for me! This is the book that makes sense and that I identify with.”
CR: And that’s regardless of the fact that it’s mostly white, straight, middle-class people. It fascinates me. However, it is a story about a selection of people who, for various reasons, don’t fit in with the “normal” population. Like … it might be because Harry’s an orphan who lived in a cupboard half his life and therefore doesn’t understand friends, doesn’t really know what love is, and doesn’t really know who he is because he’s lived this life of being a muggle when he’s really not — he’s actually a wizard. And suddenly he’s a wizard and he goes, “Oh. Hello. That makes sense.” One could liken that to sort of living your life as a straight person and then going, “Oh. I see! This makes sense. I’m not that person. Now this all clears up.”
CR: And you look at the Weasleys. There sort of just a whole family of people who don’t really fit the norm — who don’t really fit into this pureblood society that they’re supposed to be a part of. And I think that it’s really special. I think somehow Jo has created this perfect little mathematical equation that can answer so many questions and that provides so many different answers that — even if you don’t know you’re looking for them — you can find them. And even — and I’ve been talking about Harry Potter for the last eighteen years of my life pretty much on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
CR: And I do ramble — and I know I ramble when I’m answering questions.
AR: No, it’s okay.
CR: Especially when I’m not entirely sure what point I’m trying to make. But sometimes in the middle of all of that, I realize that another penny has dropped. And I’m just like, “Oh, shit!” [Snaps] “That makes so much sense!” All of the sudden this like rambling nonsense is suddenly, “AH! Got it!”
AR: [Laughs] I do the same thing. I get it. It’s revelation after revelation.
CR: Yeah. And Harry Potter — you could liken Hogwarts to Professor Xavier’s Academy for Gifted Youngters — you know? It’s a place where you don’t fit into the normal world. And that fits with a million different ethnicities, religions, races, genders, sexualities — everyone can go, “I don’t fit into this category.” Everybody. Even straight, cis, male, white, middle-class people can say, “I don’t fit into this community,” and therefore I can find something that I identify with in Harry Potter. It may be that, “Oh. God. I’m really like Draco Malfoy.” … which … is not necessarily a good thing. But if you can identify with him, then it’s a great thing.
AR: No, yeah. Absolutely. So I did want to ask you one last thing, because I know you’ve started working more in TV production, and you’ve started to move from in front of the camera. So what else do you have going on? Anything exciting happening?
CR: God. So much. I literally last week finished editing a short film I’ve just directed for the BBC–
AR: Oh, wow.
CR: … which will air in the UK in like November or December time. It’s a short film. It’s only ten minutes. It’s the first thing I’ve ever directed.
AR: Congratulations. That’s awesome.
CR: Thank you. I’m really excited about it.
AR: And what’s the title?
CR: It’s called Dad. And it’s written by a guy called Joshua McCord. It’s based on — it’s not loosely based, but sort of semi-based on something that happened in his childhood. And it’s interesting because it’s a piece sort of about accepting differences in people, interestingly. Yeah. And it’s really, really sweet. And I’m really happy with where it’s going.
AR: That’s amazing.
CR: Yeah. And I’m back on the professional stage this Christmas. I’m giving my Scarecrow in a sort of pantomime version of The Wizard of Oz. I have done proper stage work in ten years now, so that’s going to be fun. So, yeah. Life’s exciting. I’m having a go at everything.
AR: Yeah. You’re doing a little bit of everything. That’s amazing.
CR: I’m loving it.
AR: Well, congratulations, and thank you so much for sitting down with us.
CR: It was my pleasure. We should do it again sometime.
AR: This has been Chris Rankin — [gayer voice] Percy Weasley from Harry Potter.
This Free Life hosted an event at The Round-Up Dancehall & Saloon in Dallas with a ‘Strut’ contest hosted by Justin Johnson won by Kimberly Moore.
(DALLAS) – This Free Life is an organization focused on 18-26 year olds living in the LGBTQ+ community that want to live a tobacco-free lifestyle. This past week I had the pleasure of attending one of their events at The Round-Up Dancehall & Saloon in Dallas, TX.
As I parked my car and began walking towards the front of the venue, I noticed a line halfway down the sidewalk and that’s when I knew I was in for an exciting night. It was the first time that The Round-Up had done anything 18+ and the building was packed. This allowed This Free Life to target a wider scope of individuals rather than the 21+ crowd they were used to hosting. This display showed the community just how supportive The Round-Up is of this initiative and how influential the This Free Life movement has become. This Free Life creates a safe space for young people to come out and not feel obligated to start smoking or continue smoking in order to be social. Especially those from 18 to 21 who are new to the community and use smoking as a tool to meet new people.
About Magazine had the pleasure of talking with a few patrons throughout the night; and all of them said they would definitely be back for future events. They also added that out of all of the events they had been to lately at LGBTQ bars and clubs, this was one of the best because it was targeted toward a great cause and because they still had so much fun. The evening eventually led into a “Strut Contest” hosted by Justin Johnson! Contestants have their best “struts” and then the audience voted for their favorite. The winner, Kimberly Moore, walked away with a sickening $250. The audience was so invested and enjoyed everything from the free swag, open bar, educational value and entertaining competition. About Magazine looks forward to attending many more events hosted by This Free Life and maybe even “strutting” into a collaboration of our own.
The country music world is getting to know her better and better each day, and recently, so has the LGBTQ community. Her name is Cam and she’s here to help queer people and make good music.
(DALLAS) – While visiting the American Airlines Center last month in Dallas to catch Sam Smith’s The Thrill of It All tour, About Magazine got the chance to catch up with country music star Cam. The young country sensation opened up for Smith on his tour and recently penned an open letter to the LGBTQ community in which she told us all she would always have our backs. And while that might seem like a strange thing for a straight country star to do, Cam is more than just a straight country star, as we came to find out. She’s also an educated student of psychology who left the field to pursue her dream of being a musician. And thank God she did. Where would country music be without her contributions to it, as well as to artists outside the genre, including Smith himself.
Just having wrapped her time with Smith, Cam has just released her new single “Road to Happiness” ahead of her second album on which it is featured and a tour of the same name beginning in September. Having just switched record labels from Sony imprint Artista Nashville to the Sony-owned RCA Records, Cam is keeping herself busy and she’s showing no signs of slowing down. About Magazine Dallas contributor Mallorie Hall sat down to talk to Cam while in Dallas.
Mallorie: Can you tell me a little bit about the tour and what’s it’s been like to play these packed venues?
Cam: It’s amazing. It’s like a musical theatre guy who designed the stage, so it’s very — you’ll see it. It’s a very intimate but also a very dramatic, grand thing. It’s really cool to be on a stage like that and be so personal. You know? And everyone seems like they’re here. I said it on stage and I really did mean it — everyone. I think because [Sam Smith is] so comfortable with who he is. He’s so genuine, like how he seems on stage is who he is and I resonate with that; and I think everybody does.
What do you think is the most different for you — just being yourself and being on stage?
Oh, like from my personality? Honestly, I think it’s just a forever dig to try and make sure that I know myself. And the more I do it offstage, the more real I can be onstage. […] You know when something catches you off guard and they’re like, “Hey how’s it going? Tell me about yourself!” and if you haven’t really figured yourself out, you’re gonna kind of say not the coolest thing in that moment. But that’s how it feels. Like … my difference offstage is more like figuring things out. You know what I’m saying? Like … whatever I’ve got, whatever truth I have.
So, you actually began your career as a songwriter composing for other artists. So, what has it been like at this stage of your career to take the mic on stage, having radio hits, versus writing songs for others?
Yeah, well, I actually started job-ness with being a psychology researcher. So I like looked at emotions and cultures and stuff like that. And then when I was like twenty-four I decided that I didn’t love it enough to put up with the downs. Every job has goods and bads; and I realized that the things that came with that, I couldn’t be in love with it. I was like, what should I do? And my professor was like, well, when you’re 80-years-old, picture yourself looking back. What would you regret? Missing out on music or missing out on psychology? Music, duh.
Plus don’t you feel like you can incorporate some of those messages into music? Just the positive ones?
Yeah. Oh my god. I think it’s that same search for truth. You know … like … what’s going on? Who am I? And why do we all do this? So I think that’s what songwriting is too, [but] more personal. When I first started […] I didn’t know any musicians. So the stereotype was like, Oh you can’t do this. […] And then statistically, like how could I actually be an artist? Then when I started doing that and I had a few random things like a producer was supposed to be in one room with someone and then couldn’t show up, so I’d get in the room. And then with Sam, another producer was there, and they were working on something and I got in. So it’s never like I was a really successful songwriter either. When I first got to Nashville I was like, Okay, if I want to do songwriting people will get publishing dues — which is basically like them giving you money up front and then they take a percent of your business. And as you can imagine, in the music business, for newbies, it’s horrible. It’s god awful. Thank god I was from California, and it’s so expensive to live there that I could just laugh at it. You’re fucking kidding me? I better just invest in myself. And you’ll all see when I’m worth it.
What was your first surreal moment, was it like, “Hey, I’m in a booth with Miley Cyrus?”
Probably. I would say like the record deal — which is not by any means the end of the ride. It’s actually really far in the beginning. That always feels like a legitimate thing. You can turn around to your parents and say, “I have this.” You can sit there on Thanksgiving and be like, “You have to respect me!”
You recently penned a letter to the LGBTQ community in which you showed your support for our community and said that we could always count on you. So what inspired that?
I think it’s the human thing to do. I think it’s a normal bar. I don’t think it’s spectacular. Like … it’s really kind of interesting in the country music community. I think it’s a normal thing. I don’t understand that it’s so sweet. People say, “Aw, thank you for saying that.” And I’m not even doing anything. I’m not even doing anything for you. That’s just saying, “Yeah, I’m not an asshole.” And I could be an asshole still … like look how I act! You know? So, for me, I think also I came from the San Francisco Bay Area and I think that our culture is a little bit different. Very special culture. But there’s still ups and downs. And with close friends of mine, when I hear experiences that people have to go through in different parts of this country, and in all parts of this country […] things like suicide rates — if you’re quiet, you’re condemning a lot of kids to living in a dark bubble. And they don’t always get out. So it’s just the least you can do. I feel like we need to get past just clapping and being like “Yay! You said it!” and start pushing the Okay. How are you educating yourself on what this really means and how we need to take care of each other?
You are obviously on tour with one of the most celebrated LGBTQ artists in the world, with whom you cowrote the song “Palace”, for his latest album. What’s the experience been like working together?
He’s incredible, we were actually just talking about this. He said at one point in his life, “I’m just such a proud gay man and I’m standing here on this stage.” And everyone’s just screaming [for him]. And how many times in history has that happened? Someone’s just stood on stage and said this is me and this is who I am. And you just get goosebumps … like everyone’s just so moved. I don’t know. Because we’re still in the stage of that being kind of new, we’re really lucky that he gets to do this and he just spreads so much acceptance purposefully during each show. So it’s amazing to be around. He’s just like … you know … how you think pop divas look sweet but then in the background they’re like bitching people out? Nope. His whole crew, everybody, just are genuinely hardworking, good people.
So both of you are so talented and outspoken and individualistic in your music. What’s the dynamic like from your set to Sam’s when performing?
You will see. I think it actually flows really well. There’s something very musical and vocally driven and like … almost musical theater-ish. Very storytelling. And it just sort of builds. It’s weird because I have to think about it. I can’t sit in the audience and watch. Because my set is so vocally driven, and then it goes into his, I think the theme is very clear and people will appreciate that.
Could you tell us a little bit about what you have planned following the tour?
I just put out “Road to Happiness” which is a new song. And this is like the lead up to my second album. So, basically, I’m going to go over to Europe, come back, and have a tour in a lot of the same places that I was just here with Sam for the fall. And then there are some songs that are going to start coming out.
If you could go back and give your younger self any piece of advice, what would it be?
No one knows what they’re doing. Stop looking for someone who knows what they’re doing. I still catch myself thinking that somebody older — some dude, some white dude –needs to tell me what to do. There’s definitely been people in my career that I have overly trusted thinking people are there to help you. But the people that are going to help you the most are going to say, “What’s your answer? Let me help you find your answer.” People who say “I know what you’re supposed to do. I know what you’re supposed to wear. I know what you’re supposed to look like,” they’re doing it for them. And when there are a lot of people who are younger, it’s just … this is how the world works.
You can get tickets to see Cam on her Road to Happiness tour here.