Brandon James Gwinn delivers pop/country with a touch of cult classic with his infectious new single ‘Cristal Conners’. Yes, the single is named for the icon that was born on the big screen in the cult-classic Showgirls and that is with the most deliberate of intent. With the single being a love letter to aggressive feminine fierceness; it is something Gwinn can relate to (after a number of vodkas). “As the song says, “I try to be good but baby, I don’t try too hard,” he laughs before noting how there is a dark side of Cristal. “As fabulous as she is, she wreaks a lot of havoc.” It’s a quality that Gwinn admits that he definitely can relate to.
The video for the single plays heavily into Gwinn’s own New York City performance roots. Filmed at the iconic Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, the video showcases DJ and performer Chauncey Dandridge in a cameo, along with Alysha Umphress as the voice of ‘Cristal Conners’ herself. New York City drag dynamos Bootsie LeFaris and Chelsea Piers also both contributed their own talents to the production (LeFaris as costume consultant, while Piers designed Cristal’s makeup).
If the performer portraying Cristal in the Chris Ruetten-directed video looks familiar, there is a reason for that-it’s Brandon James Gwinn himself. “I can be, at times, very specific about what I want and then, in other moments, at a loss for how to connect the dots,” Brandon explains. “Chris and Chelsea were really great about meeting me at that vision and then filling in the blanks where needed.”
As the first single off of Gwinn’s new album Bullit, ‘Cristal Conners’ fits in with the “queer pop, theatrical rock ‘n roll” vibe that Bullit exhibits perfectly. “I want ‘Bullit’ to be fun when you need it to be, and a devastating feel-fest, if that’s what you’re after,” Brandon says.
Gwinn went on to say “Like life, the album’s a journey where you deal with shit, but then look around and realize the darkness you were complaining about is sexy and dangerous. You’re older and maybe a little tired, but you came out on the other side learning a thing or two. Sure, you made it by the skin of your teeth, while faking it just a little bit, but you smile because ultimately it doesn’t matter how you got there. You got there.”
Get Brandon James Gwinn’s ‘Bullit’ on all streaming platforms
Follow Brandon James Gwinn at brandonhamesgwinn.com