Having been on the scene a number of years now, La Voix won the nation’s hearts on Britain’s Got Talent this year performing with the London Big Band, sadly losing out at the Semi-Finals, but concreting her career as one of the UK’s top drag acts. Of course there was only one question we could ask first…
Has the cheque become bigger?
Of course it has, I’m not gonna lie. I mean, two years ago I was working as a makeup artist and I was doing the odd gig here and there. Now two years later La Voix is full time. It’s what I do. I’ve got an office space I rent, a PA for bookings and invoices and It’s crazy, It’s like the world of camp gone mad.
Do you get a lot of gigs with the London Big Band or do you now work alone?
The immediate after-mass, the band took a break because it was a long rehearsal, you can imagine trying to get twenty-five of us together for rehearsal was hell because they’ve all got jobs. Next year we’ve got lots of exciting bookings together. We’ve got theatre tours all up and down the country, but this year for me has been majority solo.
Is there any bitching from the other queens on the scene, since your new found fame?
I get a mixed reaction. I think I’m half loved, half hated. I’m very ambitious and I’m not scared to let people know that. Sometimes people think that It’s a bit of a bitch but I think I’d say I’m a bit of a diva, but not a bitch, I think there’s a difference. I just think It’s about time, if the drag scene is gonna move forward, like it has done in New York with Ru Paul’s Drag Race, we need to step it up. I think it can be a little bit ropey over here. Like I said on Britain’s Got Talent I think you can get a bit of a naff vibe and there’s some great acts out there and some great talent but it just doesn’t get the light of day really.
Drag had been fading from the public consciousness but seems to have come full circle with popular TV drag shows. Was there a fear in the drag community that the art was dying out?
I came into the cabaret scene quite late off the back of wining Drag Idol in 2012, so I’ve really only been on the gay scene as an act for two years, which is quite short compared to a lot of the names who have done ‘20-25 years darling’, to quote Danny La Rue. When I joined I didn’t realise there was such a big scene and it opened my eyes. You’d imagine going to Soho and it’d be dripping with drag shows and drag bars but there’s a lot more on the outskirts with your Clapham, your Camden, your Brighton. I thought drag was definitely on its way out but I think its gone a bit more main stream with Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and it’s bound to come over here in some form at some point.
Well, we know that Ru Paul’s Drag Race is coming to the UK, so what are your thoughts on that?
Do you know what? I am more than prepared for it. I’ve been preparing for this for more than a year. I’ve taken sewing classes. If that comes about without a doubt I’ll be going hook line and sinker to get on that show. I like a competition.
Are you any good at sewing?
No, I am one of those lazy ones that has everything made for me. I literally, no word of a lie, started an evening sewing class. I’ve got a sewing machine and this is literally all in preparation for whet Ru Paul’s Drag Race comes to the UK. I think it’s such a great opportunity to get the drag back out there. I mean, just look at the work those guys get for being on that show, why on earth you’d be a drag queen and not be on it I do not know.
Do you think that Simon Cowell would make a good drag queen?
No! He’d be horrendous I mean look at his style as a man. Imagine what he’d be like as a woman. No.
Taking in his shape and size, is there any advice you’d give him if he was looking for a moment in drag?
Oh My God. He’d just have to wear a huge cover all and lots of ostrich to try and cover that shape but he should definitely keep his flat top hair style. He could maybe be the first lesbian drag look.
You came about during Drag Idol in 2012, so were you doing drag at all before then?
Yeah. I was a resident down at Madame Jo Jo’s on a saturday for seven years, but I don’t think people knew I was down there really because it’s very much a non-gay crowd now, like all stag and hen nights. It was very choreographed and stylised and I was quite snobby about the cabaret scene for a long time. I didn’t want to be part of that ‘singing in a pub’. I came from a theatre background and had my degree and I very much wanted to be a serious actor for a while. The drag thing, it sounds corny, kinda found me. I was working as a make up artist and also a singer and it just happened, I put the two together. I didn’t realise how lucrative it was and how much work you could get otherwise I would have done it years ago. So I’m absolutely loving it.
So where did the name come from?
I was really inspired by a retired lip syncer in America who, although I’m a live singer, I was just amazed by his You Tube. He had red hair and a 50s look and I was always very honest that I literally stole that image because it was so iconic and I think gay men are so intrigued by your Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, but there’s not many acts that actually embody that 50s era. With his name being Lip Syncer and what he did was lip syncing, I quite liked the the idea that his name told you what he did and I thought my point of difference was that I sing live, which is not that different in Britain but it certainly is in the States. We were just playing around with the voice, singing and different languages and we just came up with that really.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from the North East, Stockton-on-Tees
And do you ever get to go back?
Yeah, It’s a very small scene because Newcastle is 45 mins up the road and Leeds is about 45 mins to an hour the other way, so you’re in between two quite prolific cities really that have got quite good scenes. You’ve got the odd one or two bars, the one that’s gay on a Tuesday night, so It’s very small. However, what was wonderful was this year, off the back of telly, I headlined the Middlesborough Community Pride, which is one of the first gay prides they’ve ever done in the North East.
Did your folks attend?
Yeah, they walked the gay parade march with me this year and that was lovely. My mum tries my dresses on. The first thing she does when she comes to london, oh let me try this on, let me try this one on.
So you haven’t just burst from no-where, you’ve almost got one foot in the older more established drag queens camp and also a foot in the new crop of queens that have come about, because of TV, so looking back at the ‘heritage’ queens, the Dave Lynn the Titti La Camp, is there anyone who’s your favourite?
Well Titti La Camp, who hosted Drag Idol, was a wonderful support for me very early on. I remember having this phone call with her and she went through every single cabaret venue in the uk from the North to the South saying this stage is like this and this town’s not very good, this town’s good, this is the money you need here this is the money you’ll get there, you wont get any higher than that there and she was really, really lovely and supportive and I’ve always had a soft spot for Titti La Camp. I think without him I wouldn’t have won the competition and still been a little bit snobby about it all and not done as much work as I would have. He basically said, take the money, take the booking, say yes to everything, just do it, and it was the best advice he gave me. It exploded me onto the scene.
From the new batch has anyone caught your eye?
I like Myra Dubois, he’s very original and quirky. He hosted the Cabaret Awards last year and I was just in tears with laughter as he was just so clever. He can’t sing a note for toffee but his comedy’s great. [Laughs.] To be honest I think we need a new school. We need some fresh blood there.
Do you think the idea of a drag girl-band works or do you think there’s just too many personalities?
I think with the age group of some of those acts they’ve got in, what spills across the footlights for me is the politics in the group or the problems with rehearsing. If you were to do a girl group of Dave Lynn, Miss Jason and Titti, straight away what you’d get is triple the energy, you’d get fun and any politics and jokes would be thrown to the audience to laugh at.
How do you think you’d fair in the executive realness? What kind of look would you pull?
I’d go for Ann Widdecombe.
Oh dear, that’s an image. Tell me the very first time La Voix came about, where were you?
We came up with the name and the look and I decided I wanted to be with a live band, even though now that’s few and far between because of the logistics, but I hired Madame Jo Jo’s myself, and Shadow Lounge, and did a ticketed show with a live band, which was brave as I had no following – which showed in the ticket sales! We literally launched like you would a new product. Looking back it was a little too premature, however it certainly prepared me for a couple of months later when the whole Drag Idol came up.
Do you have a partner?
In La Voix’s life does she have a partner?
Oh that’s a very deep question. No, I don’t think she does. She’s been married before. She’s got kids but she lost them somewhere. She put them up for adoption when she got gigs because she didn’t want to lose her record deal for being pregnant.
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.