RuPaul's Drag Race's Tammie Brown - On Her New Album, All Stars 4, and Being a #QueenWithACause
Much like her RuPaul's Drag Race sister Season 7 winner Violet Chachki, Tammie Brown is indeed a one of a kind collectible. Equal amount of smart kitsch and raw talent conspire to create one of the most quirkily talented queens around. With her new EP A Little Bit Of Tammie, Ms. Brown shows us exactly why she is one of the most beloved queens from two different Season One's of Drag Race. I got to catch up with her to chat about her musical stylings, which range from dance to folk, what advice she has for the ladies of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 4, and why having a cause to her, is just as important as having a crown.
Instinct: Tell me about A Little Bit of Tammie and how would you describe it to those that may not be familiar with your music?
Tammie Brown: Well, it’s a little electro pop and dance. There is some folk in it of course, with “I Love You I Love You I Do” and “The Whale Song” which was actually created for a charity. It was on the shelf for about four years, but finally we decided to put it on the EP. It is for what is going on in the environment, for what is going on with climate change, and the dolphins, and Sea World and other water parks collecting these animals and putting them in the water. We are spreading awareness for that and that is the whole point of “The Whale Song” Which is where #QueenWithACause stems from.
I am also campaigning for #SaveTheOrangutan, and have been campaigning a lot for that on Instagram.
So the rest of A Little Bit Of Tammie is definitely a mixed bag of both good old fashioned fun and also music that has some meaning?
Oh yes! For example “Porta Potty Prostitute” is more on the disco/early 80’s style, with a large inspiration being Amanda Lear. This song was a mix of experience with ideology, randomness and fun, and Amanda Lear-over the top-ness. “Lip Sync Suicide” is kind of a more sixties groove-funk style, and that song is more about the experience of lip sync suicide, as in when I “gave up” or refused to lip sync on Season One of RuPaul’s Drag Race to “We Break The Dawn”. It also pays homage to RuPaul himself and a thank you for sharing his love to me. I am currently working on my next album Schubert and have been in the Valley working on it.
The album is very on brand for Tammie Brown; very kitschy, very unique, and very socially conscious as well. Have you always been this socially aware?
It has always been that way, yes. I always thought we should look up more, instead of just looking down. For example, we come here alone and we leave here alone; we all kind of cluster together, but we all come here alone and leave the planet alone. So yes, I have always been socially aware. For example, I have the song “Whatever” and it was released on the album Popcorn and it was my first video as well, you can find it on YouTube. That one was about a war in the Middle East, I don’t care, I’ll run up my credit card. So that one was definitely a social commentary and that was way before RuPaul’s Drag Race. Regionally I was popular in Southern California, and I always made social commentaries, observed things and liked to write about it. Early influences for music with me was the Talking Heads, "this was a parking lot, now it’s all covered with daises” lyrics like that.
You truly are one of the most cerebral queens around. Do you think that is a fair assessment?
I do. Some people think that I am just crazy or weird, but truthfully I am always analyzing and looking and reading into things deeper than they actually are.I can back myself up because I have talked to other educated people who have said that I have a brilliant observation on something, so I know what I am saying. I also study and I am always watching what is going on and listening. I always like to gauge what is going on before I act.
In the spirit of being an observer, some of your RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 1 have returned to the completion for All Stars 4. Any advice for them? And do you think you would go back for another run at the crown?
Good for them, it’s great publicity. You never know what to expect when you do the show, they have their ideas as to what they want to do with it and how they want to do it. I say enjoy the ride and keep doing what you’re doing and enjoy it. As for me, I would love to do All Stars again. I wouldn't “love” to do it, but I would do it for the fans. There seems to be quite a demand from the fans wanting me to be back on the show. There are online surveys and I am tagged in them and it always puts me on the top as to why they would want to come back from Season One, so it’s pretty cool. I don’t know if it’s my cup of tea to do it, but I would be happy to do it.
What keeps inspiring you to do your absolute best drag and music and keep working so outside the box?
Because it’s my dream. It is my mission to entertain and that is what I do. I like to share that way. I am now noticing that the more I share, the more responses I get that people themselves are encouraged. I get messages with people saying how encouraged they are and they ask for advice sometimes. In life you have to keep going and keep moving forward and that is what I am doing. When you get stuck you have to keep going; that is what we are here to do, we are here to make it better.
A Little Bit Of Tammie is available on ITunes