It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk with San Francisco's Sheena Rose about the upcoming release of her new dance single, "Queen of Clubs."
Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: You have a hot new dance single with remixes, "Queen of Clubs," coming out on October 29th and available on iTunes. How are you feeling about that right now?
Sheena Rose: I am so excited! I still can't believe it. This project came together so quickly. I jumped at the chance to work with DJ MDW and VButterfly La Mariposa on this record, and there are so many hot mixes on this release from DJs and remix producers from around the world. Its gonna be epic! Everyone is gonna love it!
DBB: Tell us about the San Francisco release party that follows in November and the music video.
SR: Oh My God! It is so exciting! I cant wait! DJ MDW and VButterfly are flying in from New York and Miami so all three of us can be together and celebrate the release of our hot new song in my hometown. You know, we actually have never met in person, and the way this project came together so quickly and the release party is happening ~ it's pretty damn amazing! To me it is the icing on the cake. The official San Francisco "Queen of Clubs" Release Party will be held Friday November 8th at DJ Alex's dance party "Release" at Club OMG (43 6th St @ Mission, 9p-2a, Free Admission). My dear friend Carla Gay will be hosting and performing, the simply amazing DJ Tweaka Turner, who is also a great friend of mine, will be DJing and getting the party started, VButterfly and I will be performing our dance music as well as our new hit "Queen of Clubs", and DJ superstar MDW will be spinning from midnight to closing. It's going to be such a hot dance/release party, I hope all my San Francisco peeps can make it out. Unfortunately, there won't be a music video yet, but we will be filming a behind-the-scenes of the release party and our weekend together.
DBB: Are you a San Francisco native? Or how did you make your way there?
SR: No, I wish I was! [laughs] I grew up in the Bay Area though, the small town of Martinez to be specific, but I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area my entire life. I moved to San Francisco in 2004 with the boyfriend at the time. We had lost our apartment in San Ramon, and moved in with his mother and her girlfriend. San Francisco was just supposed to be a temporary move for us, but I fell in love with it, so I stayed!
DBB: What kind of music did you hear growing up? How does it differ from the music you like to listen to now?
SR: Growing up, it was my dad and mom's '70s rock records like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Rod Stewart. I was born in '79, so I was an '80s kid. By the time I was in grade school, it was all about MTV. I loved the music of Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, Madonna, Prince, George Michael, Tina Turner. Though my favorite music nowadays is dance and house, I still love and listen to all my favorite '70s and '80s artists and records that I grew up on. I remember when Tina Turner came out with her comeback hit, "What's Love Got To Do With It," my mom went and bought it. I remember when she first put that record on, and I was like whoa! Even at that young age, I was like, she is something special. I've always had a soft spot for Tina.
DBB: What was the first record or cd you ever purchased on your own?
SR: That was the year Paula Abdul exploded onto the scene with "Forever Your Girl." I wore that tape out. [laughs]
DBB: How did you get involved in performing? Did you always feel this is what you wanted to do?
SR: If you had told me back in 2004, when I moved here, that I would become a drag queen and that I'd be performing all over San Francisco and later become an international dance recording artist, I would of laughed and said you were crazy. I have always been kind of a shy person. I think that comes having a very bad stutter growing up. It was so bad that, in grade school, I was afraid to speak in class or read out loud. Though I overcame it eventually, I think it left me kind of shy and guarded. Drag has helped me to become a better person in and out of drag, more open, and much more ambitious. In 2006, a friend of a co-worker (who became my dear drag sister Marcy Playground) took me to my first drag show and I fell in love with it. Something inside me just connected with what these ladies were doing. They were all so gorgeous, hilarious, fierce and entertaining in their own way, I wanted to do it. Two weeks later, I was up there. Though I still get a bit of stage fright and butterflies when I perform at a new club or perform a new song, I can honestly say that I have grown a lot over these last seven years as a drag queen, a performer, a person, an artist. Drag has definitely made me more ambitious and has helped me to take chances in my life. It has helped me to believe in myself and go after my dreams. A couple years ago, though, I started to get bored with just lip-syncing other singers' songs, and was inspired to write, record and perform my own dance music. I don't have the strongest voice in the world; I'm no Mariah Carey, but I have grown to really like and appreciate my voice and style, it works for me. Last April, I released my dance single "Make Me Over", which I co-wrote with my husband, Juan, and my friend, Michael Circhiai (aka Tweaka Turner), produced by the amazing Leo Frappier (LFB), with a ton of hot remixes by big names like, Subgroover, Doctorz MD, DJ MDW, Nina Flowers, Naked Highway and more. The single did pretty well, opened a lot of doors for me, and is being played in clubs all over the world. I have come along way on this journey. This isn't what I wanted to do or had set out to do in life; well, maybe subconsciously I did, but this is what I want to do now and what I feel like I was meant to do.
DBB: Who are your idols -- the music divas, the movie stars?
SR: Well, musically, of course, Tina. She really is "Simply the Best." I also love the music of and idolize Macy Gray, Cyndi Lauper, Kristine W, Sylvester, Divine, Amanda Lear, Nina Flowers, Boy George, Jeanie Tracy, Cher, Dolly Parton and more. Now, in terms of music and movies together, the ultimate diva for me is Bette Midler. The Rose is one of my favorite movies of all time, Bette rocked it!
DBB: Tell us more about your song, "Queen of Clubs" and how that came together ~ from concept to production and release.
SR: Wow! I am so excited! It came together so quickly! We started the project in June. I had the wonderful opportunity to reconnect with Michael Crespo (MDW), he wanted to produce a really hot dance house/vogue track set to some real bitchy, cunty vocals. "Queen of Clubs" were lyrics that I had written in 2011 for, and were inspired by, Nina Flowers, after hearing her single "I'm Feeling Flowers" with MDW. I chickened out and never sent the lyrics to her. Nina Flowers is the queen of the clubs. Little did I know two years later Nina and MDW would contribute remixes for "Make Me Over" and I would be working on a new track with MDW! MDW loved the lyrics and produced a hot banging club track, suggesting Miami-based Puerto Rican house vocalist VButterfly La Mariposa sing on it as well. Of course I said yes. I jumped at the chance to work with VButterfly ~ she is amazing! I love her work with Nina Flowers on "Bailar" and "The Queens," and her classics like "Fuck My Drums" and "Vaporize the DJ." I went into the studio here with Leo Frappier (who remixed "Queen of Clubs" and produced "Make Me Over") and recorded my vocals, and sent them to MDW in New York. By early August, our track was finished, and a ton of hot remixes started pouring in from some of the hottest DJs and remix producers from Miami, New York, San Francisco, Brazil, Mexico, Canada. The cover art is amazing as well. My husband, Juan Duenas (Diva Deluxe Drag, gowns and costumes for plus size queens on Ebay), came up with the Evil Queen concept, designed the black lace gown, beat my face, and shot the cover. I am so very proud of this project, everything came together perfectly. "Queen of Clubs" will drop worldwide October 29th (iTunes, Beatport, Amazon) on the Flava Music label.
DBB: My readership is international, largely LGBT. Would you care to shout anything out to them?
SR: That is great. I have so many friends and supporters around the world - having their support in each of my music ventures has meant the world to me. Thank you! I think that we have come so far in the LGBT civil rights movement, in this fight for our rights, but we still have so much more work to do. I feel for all my LGBT brothers and sisters, who because of where they live, they have to live in fear of being persecuted and forced back into the closet, or killed or take their own lives ~ it is just heart breaking. I really feel for all my LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia ~ my heart goes out to them.
DBB: What do you see that is wrong in the world today? And what do you see in it that gives you hope?
SR: I think that we have become so obsessed with technology, I think it has made some people numb and cold. I think we need a little more compassion for others. I feel sometimes we are so quick to judge others that we don't know and turn a blind eye when they are in need. There's something really wrong with society when someone is robbed or attacked by another in a crowd full of people and no one stops to help. They're so quick to whip on their camera phones but not actually stop to help the person in need. I hope that, as a society, we can learn to show a little more compassion and not be so wrapped up in ourselves and our gadgets.
DBB: I really believe the dancefloor is a great uniter for people all around the world. Do you feel there is inherently power in the messages of dance music and in the tribal gathering of people on the dancefloor?
SR: Yes I do. That's what dance music is there for. It's there to make you dance and feel good about yourself and forget about your worries. You hear it in the lyrics, the melodies. There's just something about the music and the dancefloor that really brings people together and unite. You really see it and feel it in the gay community; we hit the dance floor for everything! Like the night Obama won the election and Prop 8 passed here in California, even though the night was bittersweet for the LGBT community, we still closed Castro Street down and had a dance party and rally in the streets. That kind of unity gives you hope and inspires you.
DBB: Sheena Rose, thank you for your time and thoughtfulness in answering these questions. We look forward to the release of "Queen of Clubs." Are there any last words you'd like to leave with my readers and me?
SR: Thank you so much for all your love and support in what I do, it means everything to me. If you are in San Francisco, come down and see me at Dream Queens Revue (2nd/4th Wednesdays) and Hot Boxxx Girls (2nd/4th Fridays & 1st/3rd Saturdays) at Aunt Charlie's Lounge. Don't forget to get "Queen of Clubs" with DJ MDW and VButterfly La Mariposa October 29th, and watch for my holiday single "Just Can't Wait ('Til Christmas)" with LFB and Gypsy Love ~ available December 3rd on iTunes!