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Priyanka Is Ready For Pop Stardom With New Music & Cinematic Universe

Priyanka Is Ready For Pop Stardom With New Music & Cinematic Universe

Priyanka
YouTube

In an interview with PRIDE, Priyanka details her plans to take over pop music with her new single “Bad B*tches Don’t Cry.”

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Priyanka has been working hard on her music career ever since winning the first-ever season of Canada’s Drag Race.

In 2021, the OG Canada’s Drag Race Superstar released an EP titled Taste Test, which featured songs like “Cake,” “B*tch I’m Busy,” “Come Through” (featuring Lemon), “Afterglow,” and “Snatch” (featuring Cheryl Hole). Through music videos, she established the so-called Priyanka Cinematic Universe, which is now expanding to a fake streaming service called PriFlix in her upcoming body of work.

During an exclusive interview with PRIDE, Priyanka talked about her latest single “Bad B*tches Don’t Cry,” teased the new songs that will be a part of her upcoming EP, spilled the tea on her iconic interview with Priyanka Chopra, and got candid about the conservative attacks that the LGBTQ+ community is currently facing.

Scroll through to read PRIDE’s full interview with Priyanka, and make sure to watch the music video for “Bad B*tches Don’t Cry” below.

PRIDE: I wanted to start off talking about your latest single, ‘Bad B*tches Don’t Cry.’

Priyanka: I'm so excited it's finally out. It feels so refreshing to start this new music era, oh my god. Since winning Canada's Drag Race, it's been so cool to start my music career. I remember doing press for Taste Test, I know we spoke when I was releasing ‘Snatch,’ and it was all just a big pipe dream. It was like calling my publicist and being like, ‘I want music to be the focus.’ And then us curating this big plan on how to do a music takeover, to then signing with music management and having it released the right way. It's so rewarding for 'Bad B*tches Don't Cry' to be the first single because it is kind of about all those 'nos' that I heard about getting into the music industry, but also trying to just do what I got to do. It was about my high school teacher, Mr. Smith, who told me that I wouldn't be a star, and I should pick a safer route to have a safer life.

The title 'Bad B*tches Don't Cry' is from Selling Sunset because Ralph, the co-writer/featured artist on the song, was watching Selling Sunset and was like, 'Oh my god. They said this 'bad b*tches don't cry' thing in an episode and we should use it for a song title.' Then, in the brainstorming, that's when all these stories of persevering through the 'nos' came up. It's so great for it to be the first single that will be on the eventual album that comes out this year.

Telling all the stories about the school teacher on TikTok and all that stuff, it's just like… people are relating to it. So I'm hearing all these other stories about, 'Yeah, my math teacher told me to not go into accounting and now I'm working at one of the most successful accounting firms,' or, 'My guidance counselor told me not to be a lawyer. Now I'm a lawyer. ' All these success stories. It's so cool to have that be the first song because those stories are so relatable to me and then that's what my journey is and so many other people are on the same journey with me as well.

What was it like to collaborate with Ralph?

I love her. I mean, she's such a f*cking icon. She's toured with Carly Rae Jepsen and played all these music festivals and writes all these bops. We're similar in the way that people are so quick to call us icons, but we're still on the journey of what will eventually be the thing that makes us those household names, or that people come to us for our music more, like our numbers, streaming numbers explode. It's like we're both on the brink of success and great things in the music world.

It's so cool to collaborate with somebody who has the same fire that I have. She also directs and edits her own music videos, and I edit my own music videos. There are just so many parallels, so it's so cool to work with somebody who has the same fire under their ass.

Wait, I don’t think I knew that information! Do you edit all of your music videos?

Yeah, I edit all of them. I went to television school and learned how to edit. I used to sit in my basement and edit videos just for fun. I'd record myself dancing and then upload it to the computer and put music behind it and do all these fun things. I love editing, and now doing it on such a bigger scale for my music videos, it's that much more rewarding when we release it. It's truly my baby.

At the same time that this music video is the latest addition to the Priyanka Cinematic Universe, it’s also the first chapter in this new story that you’re telling.Tell me about your plans to keep building and expanding on your universe as a popstar.

Yeah. We started this fake streaming platform called PriFlix, which all the music videos will live on, but it's just the graphics of the video. Each song has a very specific story. Last time, with Taste Test, I strung them all together. The storyline continued, and I love that.

But we're doing it differently for this one. I started to write [songs] last year in June and I was going through such hardships with friends, and my relationship, and kind of finding myself in this way… I dealt with a lot of hate and hardships that I wasn't expecting to deal with. I lived such a life where it was like: you work hard, something happens, you celebrate it, and you keep working hard. But now, when you are the artist and you are the product, people treat you differently. People around you, and your stories, it's all so different. It's harder. I have so much more respect for artists now, because to release your work and have people judge it, it's so much harder.

So for the cinematic universe this time around, we're giving each song its truest form of story. In 'Bad B*tches Don't Cry,' it was about the teacher that told me no, it was about the music industry guy who told Ralph that she would never be a star. Just lighting that all on fire and saying like, 'F*ck you bitch, I am going to be a star.' And for the next single that you're going to see, it's about some personal friendships that have happened because people didn't get famous through me… so they took it out on me. It's crazy.

Classic Hollywood story.

Girl. Girl! But I get it. It's hard for people to make it. It's hard for people to get their fame. It takes a lot of sacrifice and a lot of hard work to get to where you have to be. And some people feel lost. Some people don't have the nerve to make their sh*t happen on their own. So I do understand the frustration when things aren't happening for them, but taking it out on people is such an interesting thing. Jealousy makes people crazy.

You’ve always made it a point to celebrate your culture and make people learn and say your name. We’re currently celebrating AAPI Heritage Month in May. What’s the importance of people like you to celebrate this month, particularly now that our community feels under attack?

In terms of what's making the news right now, it makes me feel very scared and annoyed and frustrated when you're hearing that protests outside of drag brunches and everyone's calling drag queen 'groomers' and they're banning drag in Tennessee and stuff like that. It's just frustrating. But drag has always been an act of protest. I said it on Drag Race, 'drag queens are the mascots of queer people.' We go and we show up at the front of the lines to be political and to promote equality and give everyone a hug and be welcome to a safe space.

I think it's so important to celebrate these things and also the nuances of being queer, like the Asian community, the Black community, the trans community, because even within our own community there's a lot of hate. It's important for us to all understand each other and understand why some people of color, myself included, can be angry sometimes because there is privilege within our community. It is very important to understand hate, educate each other on why we all feel the hate, and then come together to fight the actual conservative people that are f*cked up right now. I think it's just so important to come together.

I saw that you did an interview with Priyanka Chopra. That was such a really cool moment… to see our Priyanka, our Drag Race Priyanka, meeting up with Priyanka thee Chopra. What was that moment like?

I mean, I was so nervous. My heart was beating in my chest. I had so much anxiety just because, you know… they say don't meet your heroes. And she's meant a lot to me. She is the reason why I named myself Priyanka, because she was a Brown girl on TV and the lead of a crime show. She was showing us, Brown people, that we can be the stars of TV shows, the cover stars of magazines, the Drag Race winners.

And our interview was incredible! It was so cool because, at a time when drag is so under attack, she sat across from me in a junket and was like, 'I'm a fan. I watched your music videos. You're amazing and you inspire people.' The timing of it all, and the solidarity that she showed, had a big impact. It was so amazing and changed the world in a different way.

What are some artists that you would love to collaborate with on creating new music?

I've been working with Scott Hoying from Pentatonix on some new music. He was a dream collaborator of mine because he's just so f*cking cool. I worked with Damon Sharpe on some stuff. He produced 'Get Out of My Way' by Kylie Minogue and the whole Chicago soundtrack that he won a Grammy for. He also wrote 'Love Don't Cost a Thing' by Jennifer Lopez and he is like a f*cking heavy hitter. And I met him back in my kids' TV days. Now we wrote a song together, and it's so cool. I would love to have a song with Jade Thirlwall from Little Mix. To get her vocals on a song would be so cool.

I also have a song on my album that sounds like it needs Lil Nas X's voice on it. I know that's ambitious as f*ck, because that motherf*cker is famous, but we all left the studio being like, 'Imagine if Lil Nas did a verse on this.' It just sounds like it's for him. It sounds like it's meant for him to be on the song. So I'll manifest it, put out in the ethos, and who knows what can happen these days? It's about damn time for drag queens to get featured on the real pop charts.

Overall, what can fans expect from Priyanka in 2023?

This is a huge year. As Beyoncé's tour visuals just said at her first night at the Renaissance tour: grab your spoon and fork because you're about to be fed, b*tch.

If ‘Bad B*tches Don't Cry’ is any indication, we’re in for some great music videos from Miss Priyanka this year.

Yeah, I'm so excited. It's going to be incredible. I'm doing more stuff with Lemon. We're doing more YouTube and TikTok together and it's just going to be a good content year to keep everyone entertained and to give them content that not only shows visibility for queer people, but also just has people laughing at some good queer content instead of all the attack and all the heartbreak that we're going through right now.

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Bernardo Sim

Editor

Bernardo Sim is experiencing the queer pop culture multiverse. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim is experiencing the queer pop culture multiverse. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.