Big Freedia: My personality drew all these people to me

Categories: Q&A
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Courtesy of the artist
New Orleans bounce pioneer Big Freedia doesn't struggle with gaining converts. Since her 2011 Minneapolis debut, Freedia's crowd sizes have perpetually ballooned to the point where Saturday's Turf Club performance could sensibly be the last time she swings through town on a little-top stage. This Queen Diva stage persona of Freddie Ross arrives at a time in popular music where eccentricities are adored rather than shunned. Still, Freedia's larger-than-life sexuality brings something a bit more raw and subversive than someone like the five-foot-two Nick Minaj could ever toss around a stage. 


City Pages: So your publicist tells me you just got back from a handful of dates in Switzerland. How were those shows?

Big Freedia: I had a blast. The shows went very well. I was very excited. The people were very excited, because it was something new for them. And it was something new for me, so we engaged in it together, you know. It came pretty naturally in Switzerland. Just like it came naturally in every other place I went. I'm assuming most people there were familiar with my videos, because they seemed to know the words. I know my videos were being pushed around more for promotion, and some DJs were putting me into more heavy rotation. So they knew it. I was shocked.

Nowadays, your live show really seems to take priority over recorded material. Was there a point that you noticed a change in demand for Big Freedia?

Oh, definitely. It was after a while that I'd gotten into it, probably three years after or so. People started calling more frequently here in New Orleans. From that moment, I decided that I was going to begin taking it more seriously. It wasn't going to be a game anymore. This was going to be my career in that I was going to be the best at it.

Pitchfork just did a pretty hardy documentary on you, and it does a great job of establishing the powerful and notable presence you carry through New Orleans. 

Oh, most definitely. Like I was saying, I'm at the hospital right now, and as I was walking out, I've been putting finger up to people's faces like, "Quiet, I'm doing an interview." But people were still hollering at me all through the hallways. So I am a big part of the community. I've done all my work here, and they know me and love me and respect me. And I give that all in return to my fans and community. 

As your success continues to grow, do you ever think about leaving New Orleans for a place like L.A. or New York?

This is always home, and there's no place like home. If I do decide to leave, I will always have a home here. My mom won't relocate, so this will always be home and we'll just leave that as that. In time, I may venture off somewhere else, but no place soon right now. 
 

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