'A Star Is Born' Scene Stealer Willam Talks New Comedy Album, Aileen Wuornos, Lady Gaga & More


It’s Willam’s world and we’re simply dwelling in it. Since her earlier-than-expected exit on season four of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the drag queen has managed to stay within the public eye with out being solid on a season of All Stars — an extremely uncommon feat because the pantheon of Ru ladies expands yearly.

This fall alone, Willam was A Star Is Born’s breakout star, showcasing her fast one-liners alongside Bradley Cooper (she's the queen who asks Cooper's Jackson Maine to signal her boobs) and Lady Gaga. But that’s not it: She’ll be on the small display screen in three separate tasks: EastSiders, House Hunters and Super Drags (doing voice work because the cartoon’s villain) and has additionally stored busy together with her Race Chasers podcast alongside Alaska, in addition to her super-popular YouTube sequence Beatdown.

Somehow, the drag star managed to search out time to launch a brand new comedy album, titled Now That’s What I Call Drag Music, Vol. 1. The nine-track album options parodies of classics by Britney Spears, Dolly Parton and Rihanna, amongst others, and is her solo follow-up to 2015’s Shartistry in Motion, which topped Billboard's Comedy Albums chart.

Billboard caught up with Willam to speak about her new album, her adoration for Lady Gaga and her obsession with famed serial killer Aileen Wuornos: “I've executed all of the issues that she's executed, besides kill folks. I've hooked. I've bleached my hair. I've walked down I-95. Done all of it.”

There’s been a shift lately the place Drag Race queens like Adore Delano, Trixie Mattel, Aja and Shea Coulee have been pushing to make music that individuals take significantly. You, however, have stayed in your wheelhouse of parodies. Do you’ve gotten any need to create music that isn’t comedic?

I’m a comic. I’ve by no means actually thought-about myself a musician. I do know what I understand how to do and I stick with it just about. Who doesn't wish to giggle? It's protected for me, it's straightforward. People are all the time saying, "Oh, it is best to do extra legit stuff," and I'm like, "I like what I do and I feel it’s legit, and I'm comfortable." So I simply type of maintain doing that.

Adore is wonderful. I might take heed to her sing perpetually. And I actually like listening to Shea's stuff. Aja and I shared a dressing room final night time on a tour, and we had been speaking about movies and stuff. She's produced all the things she's executed independently, and it's not an inexpensive factor to do. It's a labor of affection, as a result of music movies don't precisely make you a reimbursement. They're type of simply an costly calling card to get you booked. Like how strippers do porn after which the porn will get them the featured dancer gigs — that's how they make the cash, you realize?

I really like the title and idea of this album, Now That’s What I Call Drag Music, Vol. 1. You identified that drag queens have instructed you that they're capable of generate profits from performing your parodies. Did that affect this album in any respect?

I wanna do songs that drag queens throughout might do —  like there's a poop music on there, there's a blow job music, there's a dance music, there's a rustic music, there's a jazzy music, there's an EDM music. There's two originals, which I actually like. I didn't wish to do all parodies. And I simply wished just a little little bit of all the things.

The bar that I noticed the drag queens carry out at doing my numbers was in Key West. It's a tourist-trap drag present, the place each night time they get a special crowd off the boat and it's quite a lot of straight folks. They instructed me that “straight folks love your stuff,” and who doesn't wanna giggle? That felt kinda good.

I’m excited that you’ve got a video for “Aileen.” I feel it’s my favourite on this album. I do know that Trixie is featured on the monitor, however you co-wrote it with Jackie Beat. How did you two land on a serial killer as the subject of a music?

I've all the time been type of obsessive about Aileen Wuornos as a result of one in every of my aunts was a truck cease hooker too. Somebody as soon as mentioned that my look was like if Aileen Wuornos received acquitted and received a ebook deal. And I used to be like, "That's incorrect, but it surely's actually humorous." And I've all the time thought that she was type of like a gold mine for parody as a result of there's all these items that went incorrect in her life. So I simply wished to current all of the issues that went incorrect and put it on the market, all the things that she did. But probably not judging, as a result of who am I to guage? I've executed all of the issues that she's executed, besides kill folks. I've hooked. I've bleached my hair. I've walked down I-95. Done all of it.

I observed that Trixie was not in drag within the music video. I'm positive she was thrilled about that.

I don't know. She wasn't in drag when she recorded it, so I didn't anticipate her to be in drag when she confirmed up for the video. And I do know that you simply don't actually play guitar with nails on, so it's type of a hindrance. And if you happen to're not sporting nails, you're not doing drag, as a clever man as soon as mentioned.

Right. I really feel like some folks don't admire how lengthy it takes to get into drag. It’s work!

I imply to every their very own. I can do it in 35 minutes. And then different folks — like Jinkx Monsoon takes two hours to finish up all one colour, you realize? So I don't know.

Ha! Well however, you had Gigi Gorgeous trying actual tough. I’ve by no means seen her having enjoyable like that. How did you persuade her to do this?

Gigi's wonderful. She has such a humorousness about herself. I maintain attempting to get her to do stand-up — she's like the following Chelsea Handler in my ebook. Who wouldn't wish to speak to her? I can't wait to learn her new ebook. It's out subsequent 12 months.

When she was going about her course of for her ebook, I do know that she checked out mine and she or he's like, "My ebook can't suck. Your ebook is actually good. Tell me about it." And I'm comfortable to assist and pay it ahead. [Our] group is actually small, so once you discover associates, you follow them they usually turn into type of your loved ones and also you wish to assist raise all people up, you realize? Her ebook being a large success, which will probably be, just isn’t gonna harm my ebook in any respect. So why not assist the ho out?

Speaking of household, I'd say my different favourite monitor is "Derrick," particularly as a result of it references Billboard’s Spillin’ the Tea roundtable from final 12 months. I really like that she even tweeted in regards to the monitor. She's been such sport about this complete Stonewall snafu. Are you two shut?

Funny story: When I left to do Drag Race, I knew that I needed to do a musical referred to as The Jersey Shoresical. I used to be like, "OK, effectively I have to be in New York today." And Drag Race had two extra weeks of filming that I used to be alleged to be round for. So I knew getting in to Drag Race that I wasn't gonna be capable of keep for the entire time, so I simply went in, fucked round, and tried to make my mark — which I did.

Danny Franzese was concerned with the musical and he was on the set on the moist T-shirt contest episode [of Drag Race] that I gained. I bear in mind seeing him within the entrance row, and we had just a little speak. He was like, "You ought to keep." And I used to be like, "No, I'll be there, don't fear. I'll see you in New York. I'm leaving quickly."

So as soon as I received to New York, Derrick was there, and he's like, "Oh, Danny mentioned that he thought you had been gonna keep." And I used to be like, "No, woman, I'm not lacking the Fringe Festival." Because I believed it was gonna switch to Broadway. Or a minimum of off-Broadway. It ended up profitable the viewers award on the Fringe Festival.

But lengthy story quick, Derrick and I’ve been associates for years. And he has a humorousness about himself. If you take a look at my newest episode of Beatdown the place he was drunk on the Hater's Roast, it's hilarious. I texted him, I used to be like, "Girl, had been you blacked out?" And he's like, "The humorous factor was, I couldn't learn my notes. I’ve 20/20 imaginative and prescient. So, yeah, I used to be blacked out." He's a kind of youngsters that's keen to roll with it. I feel that lots of people endure after they aren't keen to giggle at themselves. And he completely is. And he's in on the joke. And we're simply males in wigs.

This album clearly just isn’t the one huge undertaking you've had this fall. You had been the scene stealer in A Star Is Born. It's my understanding you bought to do quite a lot of ad-libbing?

Yeah, Bradley [Cooper] was actually cool as a result of he type of simply let Shangela and I simply act like we might in a dressing room. I simply thought, "How would I act round a rock star that I cherished?" Based on that first day, they wrote the second scene for me and Shangela with the guitar. And that was simply wonderful being on set with Bradley and Gaga all day.

Gaga was on set the entire time. She wasn't in her trailer, she was simply hanging out with me and Shangie. At one level somebody was rubbing my shoulders and I circled and it's her and I used to be like, "Girl, watch my wig." But simply kiki-ing — the type of shoulder rub the place somebody places their arms on you they usually give a pair squeezes and stuff. She's simply all the things I want RuPaul was. She's sort, giving together with her time. She treats all people the identical. She is aware of all people's title. She might be that movie star who's like, "Don't take a look at me. And I'll be in my dressing room."

This isn't the primary time you labored alongside Gaga. You had been within the “Applause” lyric video. What would you say you've discovered from watching and dealing together with her?

You know what's loopy? I used to be actually simply going to Mickey's to choose up a wig for Morgan. And she was strolling up the entrance stairs. And I used to be like, "God, she seems to be like Gaga. That's Gaga impersonator." We went into the identical room and I used to be like, "That is Gaga." And then she's simply sitting there, nobody else within the room — simply Morgan and me chillin’.

Every time since then that I've been together with her, she's been gracious and giving. At the wrap occasion for A Star Is Born, I introduced my greatest good friend Rhea [LitrĂ©] and we had been simply hanging out. And impulsively, the group parted and Gaga comes proper over to Rhea and I, and she or he was like, "I noticed your hair" — my hair was big. We had been simply dancing and kiki-ing for 5 minutes after which I used to be like, "This is my good friend Rhea. She truly has a tattoo of you." And she seemed straight into Rhea's eyes, pointed at her, and mentioned "TigerHeat" — which is the membership that Rhea confirmed her the tattoo and Gaga remembered it as a result of it was the primary Little Monster tattoo she had ever seen in like 2008. She remembered the membership 9 years later. And it's loopy, 'trigger I bear in mind being the door bitch at Here Lounge and having to get the strippers off the stage as a result of this woman was gonna carry out, and it was Gaga. I simply bear in mind pondering, "Wow, this woman's wonderful." And take a look at her now.

I don't have sufficient good issues to say about her. My life is gonna be perpetually modified due to this film. And the truth that her and Bradley noticed one thing particular in me and the drag group to place it in there — as a result of normally drag is the punch line. And on this, they didn't make a farce out of it. They revered it.

I get so excited that this drag zeitgeist is going on and I get to be part of it. And not a small a part of it proper now, 'trigger I'm on two totally different Netflix exhibits, I received that Super Drags present. I'm filming the final season of EastSiders beginning subsequent week. I'm gonna be on HGTV, which is nuts. I filmed House Hunters final month in drag. It's cool that drag is being seen and being talked about now I feel.

I completely forgot to ask about Super Drags.

Yea! I’m the villain. The villain will get all the nice traces.

I bear in mind texting Shangela an image of her character and she or he went, "uhh." Because her character is, I wouldn't say, the prettiest one. But neither is mine. But it's so cool to get to be part of it. It's good that my nieces and nephews are gonna be capable of watch a cartoon and listen to my voice on it. It's a good time to be a drag queen, I feel.

I assume my final query for you: Are there any tracks that you simply wished to parody that didn't make it this time round? Like perhaps "Shallow" or "Hair Body Face"?

I’ll by no means parody a Gaga music after this. The line is simply too high-quality to threat ever irking her within the least. I’d by no means wanna try this or disrespect her music. Every artist that I've parodied has been cool with it to date. I do know one hasn't cherished a model of it, however she didn't sue me over it or make me take it down. They've all been fairly cool.

I wish to maintain A Star Is Born with the best reverence ever. I don't wanna fuck with it and make enjoyable of it in any approach. Someone mentioned I ought to do a parody referred to as “Swallow" and I used to be like, "No, I have already got a blow job music on this album referred to as 'Oral.'"

Check out Now That's What I Call Drag Music, Vol. 1 under.