The NYC superstar talks about the Queen City, Peaches, Beyonce and more!
Cazwell isn’t a new face on the music scene, but since he began working with the record label Peace Biscuit, he has become a much larger presence in the LGBT music scene outside of New York. His unique mixing of dance beats and hip-hop blend with sexy, and sometimes hilarious, lyrical content to create a sound that is fun, engaging and truly his own. He has described his style as “if Biggie Smalls ate Donna Summer for breakfast.” Cazwell visited the Queen City on Jan. 25 to play at Phoenix Nightclub’s official 2012 HRC North Carolina Gala after party and we had a chance to talk with him before the show.
Have you had the chance to perform in Charlotte before?
I actually have. When I first started my solo career I had a song with Avenue D called “The Sex That I Need” and I would tour with them. I played in Charlotte a couple of times with them. I really felt that the people of Charlotte have a good sense of style. I have met a couple of stylists from Charlotte and I really like what I’ve seen. I have a T-shirt with North Carolina on it, so I’m going to make sure I wear it.
In your new video “Unzip Me” you were working with Peaches; how was getting to work with her and collaborating on a piece together?
She’s amazing. She just does what she wants and doesn’t really play by the rules. We share a lot of the same friends. She was in New York and we were hanging out and I told her I would love to do a song together. She told me to send it to her. I actually sent her three songs because I didn’t want her to be able to say no. She chose “Unzip Me” and I thought it was awesome. I remember the moment I got her vocals a cappella and I got chills. I couldn’t believe Peaches was going to be in my song. Her voice is just so strong and bad-girl that she brought a whole new element to the track that I knew she would.
When we were doing the video we had a lot of solo shots without each other and when we finally got to be with each other at the end of the day in front of the camera, I remember having a mini-anxiety attack. Just looking at her and realizing that she was right there beside me and wondering if I was cool enough to be standing beside her. She is the ultimate.
You are working on your second full-length album with Peace Biscuit right now. How is that going?
It is going really good. I feel like I am in a race against time right now to finish all of my vocals. I really want to turn in a bunch of songs that I actually want on the album. I want it to be my own personal masterpiece, so I am trying to get things done and record every day.
I just finished shooting a video called “Rice & Beans” which is going to be my next single. It is actually my 10th video and I am really excited about it. It is going to be the best video I have ever done. I definitely look better than I ever have. I have changed my diet and my workout routine. It also has this Latino-boy theme and it’s going to be sickening!
You are really cranking out videos! You said “Rice & Beans” will be your 10th video?
Well, I didn’t just start doing this yesterday. I’m not dropping videos like Rihanna. When I first started doing this everyone was like ‘oh, the gay rapper’ which was corny, but now people are like ‘oh, the guy who does Beyonce at Burger King’ so that is good for me.
Speaking of “I Seen Beyonce,” is there any story behind the origin of that song?
Well, Johnny Makeup, who at the time was living in New York, was in a gay rap trio and they were going to play and I was working at the club that night. Johnny is just funny and he is non-stop entertainment. He’s one of those people who doesn’t drink or do drugs and is so out there. We had finished their sound check and we were just hanging out when he went off on this 20-minute monologue about how he met Beyonce at American Apparel and I was so fascinated by it and how he put Beyonce in this situation.
I thought it was funny and literally walking from my house to the store I came up with ‘I seen Beyonce at Burger King.’ I just thought it would be funny to see her there. You’ve got to love Beyonce, besides the fact that she is a quadruple threat and just so amazingly talented. She’s really nice, she’s humble, she thanks God when she gets an award and you’ve just got to love her. She is just the personification of beauty and perfection in the entertainment industry. So, the fact that you see Beyonce in some establishment like Burger King, it’s just a funny statement. Like if I said I saw Britney Spears there you wouldn’t care. So, that’s basically where it came from.
I heard from someone in her camp that she liked the song and that she thought that the video was funny. It’s just about the simple things that make you laugh.
Is there someone that you would like to collaborate with on a song?
I actually just sent an email to Iggy Azalea, the rapper from Australia. I just love her so much. She totally gets it. She knows exactly what she is doing and it’s artistic and sexy and she has an ingredient, definitely as far as her looks go at the very least, that hasn’t been used the way she does. I think she has the whole package. It’s funny, I like Azealia Banks, too. I think a lot of these chicks coming up in the game are hot. I really like deadmau5 and I really love Fake Blood. I would really love to work with them.
I am actually working with Jesse Novak, he goes by Tugboat, he actually produced “Rice & Beans” with me and it’s sickening!
In May, North Carolina is voting on Amendment One, a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. What are your thoughts on an amendment like this and what would you say to people who are against gay marriage?
Besides “lighten up?” You know it’s hard to know what to say to people who are so head strong about taking away other people’s happiness because I don’t get it. I really don’t get it. I think people need to realize that just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it wrong.
I just got the chance to see this movie “For the Bible Tells Me So” a couple of months ago. I really liked that documentary and I really liked how honest it is. There is this part with this woman who has a daughter that is a lesbian and she talks about how uncomfortable it makes her, but she couldn’t really wrap her head around why. Finally the woman is just driving and she just says “you know, the ultimate answer to me is I just can’t be comfortable imagining my daughter having sex with another woman” and I think that is the thing. The bottom line is people just aren’t comfortable thinking about gay sex. For me, when it comes down to gay marriage and people who oppose it, just because it makes you uncomfortable and you don’t get it doesn’t make it wrong. Clearly it is right for somebody.
The way for straight people to end their homophobia is to hang out with other straight people who aren’t homophobic. It can seem kind of one-sided coming from a gay person telling a straight person to not be homophobic. I think the way to end it is more and more heterosexual support. If it’s only gay people asking for gay rights it’s not going to happen as fast, but when it’s straight people asking for basic human rights then it’s different. : :