The TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race has bought mainstream attention to the drag world unlike any other show before. But just like any other reality or competition show, it is what you do with the platform that determines where you end up. Born Aaron Cody and growing up in Iowa, Sharon Needles rebelled against his conservative upbringing by moving away, creating her character Sharon Needles, and incorporating goth, punk, and the macabre into his drag persona. Her style of drag attracted a massive fan base and she won Season 4 of the show. Rather than rush out a melodyned club track like most of the contestants have, she wrote and recorded a full-on artist album that blends rock and electronic music in a unique and cohesive way. What’s really impressive, aside from the quality of the album, is how active she was at the Winter Music Conference – speaking on panels, hosting the IDMA, and making her presence known. She is also a pleasure to speak with, respectful of those who came before her, and not afraid to speak her mind about anything you ask her.
DJ Ron: Listening to your album, I’ve been wondering what your songwriting process is. Do you start with a track and write to it or do you write your own lyrics first?
Sharon Needles: I write all of my own lyrics, but it really depends on the song. A lot of songs, especially “I Wish I Were Amanda Lepore,” was something that I wrote when I was 18 years old. “Dead Girls Never Say No” was also part of my old poetry. I get my tracks in advance and I write my songs according to my tracks. I have a great topliner named Ashley Levy who helps me make sure that everything sounds phonetically correct and that the timing of words is correct. My production company, Killingsworth Records, are phonetic Nazis. The way that they look at timing and think of vowels and words in a song is very important to them. It is all my writing, but they just kind of chop it up and help me make it “correct.”
Continue reading Sharon Needles Interview 2014
By: Ben Norman
Owl City, a.k.a. Adam Young, has made the leap. The running start he gained with his debut track, “Fireflies,” had primed him for the kind of stardom that few in his position achieve. Think about it. Male pop stardom is usually achieved at a young age, after acquiring “heartthrob” status. Hair trends, public attention to your relationship status, dance moves… all these factor highly into single male pop stars’ resumes. And yet, here is Owl City, a soft-voiced synth pop artist with longing in his heart and vulnerability in his music, launching his name beyond one-hit wonder status and possibly into the list of artists that define this musical era (or have been defined by it). So what exactly has Owl City got going for himself that others don’t?
Continue reading REVIEW: Owl City – ‘The Midsummer Station’
German producer/DJ Paul van Dyk has always used electronic dance music to break barriers and bring people together. His music is not simply trance but a mix of countless different styles as he is influenced by everywhere he plays Released through a new partnership of his label Vandit with global powerhouse Armada, Paul Van Dyk’s artist album features collaborations with people from around the world- from Arty in Russia to Plumb in Nashville, Tennessee. At the Promo Only Summer Sessions in Atlantic City, Paul made a special appearance, surprising the crowd with the debut performance of “I Don’t Deserve With You” with Plumb. Creating quite a stir already, this looks to be a song that will break even more barriers in the music world.
DJ Ron: The name of your album is Evolution, where are you evolving from and what are you evolving into?
Paul van Dyk: Life in general is my biggest inspiration, and everything that I see somehow ends up in my music. If you look at electronic music over the last twenty years from where it started, where it is now, and the way that we communicate through Twitter and Facebook, things have changed so much. We didn’t have any of these things ten years ago. Life has drastically changed, so obviously that my influences have changed and my inspiration has evolved and is somewhat different.
Continue reading INTERVIEW: Paul Van Dyk (2012)