Bigger Than Ever

An Interview with Big Freedia

Just when you thought that Big Freedia, the Queen of Bounce, couldn’t get any bigger than she already is, she gets even louder, as in the name of her new single “Louder.” It’s early 2020 and Big Freedia is virtually everywhere. First, she tore it up in a new Facebook Group’s TV commercial that premiered during the Grammy Awards in January. Her new EP, “Louder” (East West), which features collaborations with Icona Pop and Kesha, drops this month. In April, Big Freedia performs with The Soul Rebels in Chapel Hill, N.C. at Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And that’s just the first third of the year! Busy as she is, Big Freedia was gracious enough to answer a few questions in February 2020.

Gregg Shapiro: Freedia, I want to begin by saying how much I loved seeing you in the Facebook commercial that ran during the Grammys. Was it as much fun to make as it is to watch?

Big Freedia: Yes, it was! It was a great day of production. Everybody from Facebook was super awesome and super sweet, as well as the cast members that were in it. The National Kazoo (Day) group was super sweet. The background dancers, the photographers, the videographers, the 10 directors — it was amazing! It was quite a day to make the commercial. I had a blast.

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GS: Do you have a favorite song to play on the kazoo?

BF: “Louder” right now. “Louder” is the one. We all were playing. It’s stuck in our heads.

GS: I’m glad you mentioned your song “Louder.” Your new EP “Louder,” which is being released this month, features two collaborations — “Pipe That” and the title cut — with Icona Pop. What do you like best about working with Caroline and Aino?

BF: They’re super sweet and awesome to work with. It was [a] fun day in the studio. We got to hang out and get to know each other. The energy in the studio was up. I love both of them. When they get together musically, it’s a great thing to see.

GS: I love the “Snap!” sample on “Louder” — why was that song chosen to sample?

BF: For me it was stepping up the production. The producers are the one to credit for coming up with the sound. The only thing I wanted to do was use (the line) “I’ve got the power,” with this being a powerful song lyrically. I’m coming different with all my music moving forward, exploring new sounds and new rhythms and melodies. I’m excited about the new project as a whole.

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GS: “Chasing Rainbows” is a collaboration with Kesha, with whom you are going on tour. What can you tell me about your creative chemistry with Kesha?

BF: Me and Kesha connected when I did the Kesha Cruise. I was invited to do the cruise and we hung out and got to know each other. Kesha told me about how she became a fan of mine. Her brother saw a show of mine a while back, maybe about 10 years ago. He told her about me. We did the cruise. We got matching tattoos. We exchanged phone numbers. We started texting and talking. Before we left the cruise, I said, “I’ve got a project I want you to get on.” She was like, “As a matter of fact, I’ve got something I want you to get on.” That’s where that process started. Next thing I know, (Kesha’s) “Raising Hell” is out and (my song) “Chasing Rainbows” is on the way!

GS: In addition to touring with Kesha, you are also performing with The Soul Rebels. What can fans expect from your set?

BF: Lots of energy, lots of ass, lots of fun times. Get ready to come and party. Let their hair down, wear comfortable clothes, because we’re going to turn it up and have a great time. Come loose and ready. Maybe stretch a little bit before you come. If not, you’ll probably be feeling it the next day [laughs]. That’s what you see when you come to a Freedia show [laughs].

Big Freedia performs in North Carolina with The Soul Rebels on their “Poetry in Motion” Tour on April 9 at Memorial Hall, 114 E. Cameron Ave., 7:30 p.m., in Chapel Hill. Tickets are $37/general admission and are available online.

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