Billy Porter - Beauty School Dropout (1994)
This is JD Doyle and this entire segment of OutRadio will be diva-licious, and I'm only going to play one artist, the amazing Billy Porter. That song was "Beauty School Dropout" and he played a guardian angel in the 1994 Broadway version of "Grease." Billy has done a lot of musical productions over the years, with the most recent of course being his Tony Award winning role as Lola in "Kinky Boots." We'll get to that toward the end of this show as I'm going to take things kind of chronological. And that means I start in 1992 with his winning performance on the TV show Star Search, and the song "A Dream Out There With Your Name On It." The sound is not perfect but I'm just glad it was preserved.
Porter - A Dream Out There With Your Name On It (1992)
That was a bit of a 1994 demo of the song "King of the World," from the Jason Robert Brown musical "Songs for a New World." Billy was in the original cast and was one of the musical inspirations for the writing, and ironically was not able to be on the eventual cast recording, done Off-Broadway the next year. I understand the reason he was not available was that his new record label, A&M, did not want him recording elsewhere. A pity, as it was not until 1997 that Billy's debut album was released. It was called "Untitled," and the record company did allow a song from the new album to get out ahead of time, on the movie soundtrack for "First Wives Club." The song was called "Love Is On the Way."
Porter - Love Is On The Way (1996)
Also from the album "Untitled" was a bit of the Paul McCartney song "Maybe I'm Amazed."
In 1996 Billy and a stellar cast took part in a concert called "Sondheim: a Celebration." For it he contributed a blend of two Sondheim songs, "Not a Day Goes By," from "Merrily We Roll Along," and "What Can I Lose," from the film "Dick Tracy."
Billy Porter - Not a Day Goes By / What Can I Lose (1996)
Just wonderful. Some of the songs in this segment I've had to edit to allow for the most material as possible, but I just couldn't bear to trim that one. We're up to 1999, and that was a busy year for Billy with projects showing quite a degree of variety. He did a duet with Jordan Hill called "Destiny" on a Jim Brickman CD, and stepped it up with the song "Sinnerman," from an Alvin Ailey dance troupe recording called "Revelations." That one was later used as backing for a number on the TV show "So You Think You Can Dance." And finally, on the TV series "Shake Rattle & Roll" he ably did the role of Little Richard, on "Long Tall Sally."
Porter & Jordan Hill - Destiny (1999)
Billy Porter doing Little Richard, who would have expected that? Now, you'll hear a little bit later how the show "Dreamgirls" was very influential to Billy, when he saw a number from it performed on television on the Tony Awards in 1982. So he was delighted that almost twenty years later, in 2001, he got to perform the role of James Thunder Early in "Dreamgirls the Concert," and among the songs was "Fake Your Way to the Top."
Porter - Fake Your Way to the Top (2001)
Of course in the middle was "Somewhere," from "West Side Story," recorded especially for an all-star benefit CD named "Utopia," in 2001, with proceeds going to HRC, GLAAD and Lambda Legal, and the CD was an excellent project. And the last song, a cover of Celine Dion's "Only One Road" was also on a HRC benefit CD, called "Love Rocks," in 2004.
We're up to 2005 and in that year Billy released, I think, a wonderful album, called "At the Corner of Broadway & Soul." If you like Billy at all you must own this album. I featured it on a radio show I was doing then named Audiofile, and got a short interview from him, and to set it up, I had just asked him to do a sound blurb, describing the album, and amazingly, he did it in one take. So you'll hear him do that, and then more of our conversation.
Billy Porter Interview (2006)
BP: "At the Corner of Broadway and Soul" is a melding of all of the genres of music that I grew up with, from gospel to R&B, to musical theatre, all rolled up in one. And I wanted to put this album together because on paper it looks like it doesn't work, but I wanted to prove that it does. So, that's what this album is about.
JD: You're good. (laughs) That's about the smoothest take I think I've gotten in a long time.
BP: I've been doing this a long time, JD Doyle. (laughs)
JD: You should hear some of the people hem and haw, and then they stop. This is great.
BP: No, I've been doing it for a long time.
JD: Is your first album ("Untitled") still available?
BP: Ah, for a hundred dollars a pop.
JD: Cause I looked around a little bit for it, Amazon and so forth, I didn't see it anywhere.
BP: Well, maybe they sold out. You know, for a while there were like...there were copies eBay were selling, for like, a hundred dollars.
JD: That's a great compliment.
BP: Yeah, it's a compliment, I wasn't seeing none of it.
JD: (laughs) Well, that's true, yeah, you've got a point there.
BP: It's like, if I was getting the hundred dollars, it would be great.
JD: You could sell some copies there, I guess. I just saw some pictures of you with Ari (Gold), in Out Magazine. It was an old copy though (September 2005). It happened to be the same page that I got my picture with Randy Jones in it. So I have that on my website. I have the whole page there, as an example, and I was looking at it and said, oh, there's Ari and Billy.
JD: Well, your album is really good.
BP: Thank you so much.
JD: And I'm not inclined to live albums, but it was just fine.
BP: (laughs) You're not inclined to live albums?
JD: I'm not inclined to live albums, cause I want to hear the music. I want to hear the singer. I don't want the audience to get in the way, and sometimes they really do.
BP: Yeah, we worked really hard to produce it for that, keeping my voice forward.
JD: You did a great job, and I just love that you did "And I'm Not Telling You I'm Not Going."
BP: (laughs) I had to do it.
JD: I've already played that on my show, I love that.
BP: And where are you out of?
BP: Oh, you're out of Houston. Well, next time I'm in Houston I will look you up.
JD: Please do. If you're going to do a gig or something let me know and I'll plug it ahead of time.
BP: All righty, sounds great.
JD: Thanks a lot, Billy, it's great to talk to you finally.
BP: All right,
I'll talk with you soon. Bye bye.
Billy Porter - And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going (2005)
Again, I just love that album. At the same time "Kinky Boots" was getting its Tony for Best Musical, another show won for Best Revival of a Musical, a little show by gay composer extraordinaire Stephen Schwartz called "Pippin." And I've got a song from "Pippin" by Billy Porter, as in 2001 he took part in a benefit concert dedicated to the works of Charles Strouse, Arthur Schwartz and Stephen Schwartz. Billy got to sing the show's opening number, "Magic To Do."
Billy Porter - Magic To Do (2001)
I'm stopping that a bit abruptly to make time for more music, and a little of a beautiful song written by John Bucchino. I'm a big fan of his and in 2006 he included Billy Porter in a musical revue of some of his best songs, and believe me, picking just one from that revue was very difficult. But among the cream of the cream is the song "Grateful," and here's a little of it.
Porter - Grateful (2006)
Billy was a guest on Matt Zarley's 2009 song "When You See a Chance," and there were ten, count'em, ten different mixes of that song, but I perversely chose the only non-dance one. And here's another song I unfortunately only have time to give you a taste of, but you can find the video of it on Youtube. In 2010 David Raleigh organized a benefit recording of "That's What Friends Are For," and recruited Billy, Ari Gold and Alan Cumming to join him. Where I pick it up you'll first hear Alan, then Ari and you'll definitely know when Billy takes the Gladys Knight part.
David Raleigh, Alan Cumming, Ari Gold & Billy Porter - That's What Friends Are For (2010)
This is JD Doyle for OutRadio and thanks for checking out my special segment on the music of Billy Porter. After researching him I found that he was involved in many more projects than I ever dreamed, and it was agonizing to realize I could not include a number of other songs I considered. But of course I'm taking you out with his current awesome success, playing Lola in "Kinky Boots," and rightfully winning a Tony for that. I'm putting two songs from the show together, "Land of Lola," with Lola telling it like it is, and the finale "Just Be," sung by the whole cast. Billy, thank you for the music.
Billy Porter & Kinky Boots cast - Land of Lola / Just Be (2013)
& Below, two photos I took at a 2006 awards show;
allstar pic I found online, from 2006, in Sacramento, with
Mihanovich - I Am What I Am (1984)
That was an usual way for me to begin a segment, with two songs in Spanish. I was really pleased to find out about Sandra Mihanovich and her version of "I Am What I Am." One of my listeners in Argentina wrote me and mentioned the song, and said it was the first out song by a lesbian singer in that country. I researched more and found that the other artist you heard on that second song, Celeste Carballo, had been lovers with Mihanovich and they even recorded an album together, showing the two in a fairly intimate pose on the cover. Carballo is also very popular in Argentina and was the first female artist in that country to have an album go gold. The song I chose by her was her first hit, from 1982, and I think loosely translates to "I Get Crazier Every Day."
I'm going next to a new song by an Australian singer, Jade Leonard, who recruited two of her friends to help her on her song "Equal Love," Luke Gallagher and drag performer Dolly Diamond. It's Dolly doing the talking part.
Leonard - Equal Love (2013)
After Jade Leonard was an artist going by Conan, and he goes way back. On my other show, Queer Music Heritage, I've played from his 1978 LP "Tell Ol' Anita," and the Anita was Anita Bryant, so that also dates it topically. Well, he's still making music and still standing up, with that song, "This Queer Don't Run." And rounding out that set was a favorite of mine, Sonia, and the track "Love Out Loud," from her upcoming album.
Did you know Ric Ocasek, of The Cars, is bisexual, or at least was. One of my website visitors wrote me about it and pointed me to a quote on Youtube where he talks about it and an early song where it got into the lyrics. The song is "Ta Ta Wayo Wayo," and in the demo from 1977 in the third line he sings "the girls are so pretty," and at the very end of the song the line is "the boys are so pretty." Well, that demo version of the song didn't make their first LP and by the time it was included on an album, ten years later, the pretty boys part was dropped. Here's Ric Ocasek introducing "Ta Ta Wayo Wayo."
Cars - Ta Ta Wayo Wayo (1977 demo)
And after The Cars that was the Aussie brother and sister duo Matt & Beki, doing the title track from their new EP "Searching for Zero." They were also in a 1990's band I liked called the Mavis's. Next I played a song by the French band Plastic People called "Mr Dream."
On my June show I played a track by the Halifax, Nova Scotia all-lesbian band Perpetual Detour, from their CD called "What If It Was You?" And they were delighted and promptly sent me some more from the album to pick from. So, here are "Ran Away" and "That's Too Bad."
Detour - Ran Away / That's Too Bad (2012)
I started that set with two by Perpetual Detour and then went to two by Austin band Kari K and the Stonewall Riot. You heard "The Bartender Song" and "I'm Not the One." I first heard that band on a segment called Leztopia, which like my Queer Music Heritage show, is carried by the Houston radio program Queer Voices, on KPFT. They are also a monthly segment, mostly a talk radio format, and it is very well done. I encourage you to check them out, on the second Monday of the month. On their last show they had a live guest, a local Houston singer named Victoria Love, and the producer Angie Morena is graciously allowing me to play the live track Victoria did during that show, and you'll hear Angie set it up. And then you'll hear a studio track by Victoria Love for a song that has a very steamy video, "Yours for the Taking."
Love - Needs / Yours for the Taking (2013)
After Victoria Love was a Florida artist I've gotten to know over the years, Jeremy Gloff. His brand new single features vocalist Ashley Lash, and was called "Force of Nature."
This is JD Doyle and I'm taking you out of Part 2 of OutRadio with a band from Ontario, Canada, called Saracen Cross. Their debut single is "I'll Be There."
Saracen Cross - I'll Be There (2013)
Welcome back, and this will be a very up-tempo segment of OutRadio. This is JD Doyle and I don't usually favor remixes of songs, but that one worked just fine for me, as I love, love that artist. He's Matt Fishel and if you heard my April show then you got to share with me an hour-long interview with him, and of course it included the studio version of that song, "When Boy Meets Boy."
I'm going to stay with dance music for a while, and next is Eric Alán. He's not your typical singer, as at least for right now his day job is an oil rigger, meaning he spends three weeks at a time off shore, so to answer your question, despite the first song I'm playing, he's not a pornstar, he's just singing about them. I picked his tracks "Pornstar" and "L.O.V.E."
Alán - Pornstar / L.O.V.E. (2011, 2013)
In the middle of that set was one of our drag icons, Lady Bunny, and her new single, "Take Me Up High," as remixed by Wayne Numan. And then a duo going by Jaymes & James. They are the Chippendale dancers who were runners-up on the latest season of "Amazing Race," and guess what, they also sing. The one who spells his name Jaymes, Jaymes Vaughan is the gay one, and they both were Celebrity Grand Marshals for the Houston Pride Parade this year.
And here comes another sort of dancey set, starting with Kevin Mikal and "Heartbeat."
Mikal - Heartbeat (2013)
Okay, after Kevin Mikal was the band Candy Apple Blue and a little different sound for them, as it featured guest vocalist Daveo Falaveo, and he definitely spiced up the video for the song "You Turn Me On." And then was Discovery and "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," from 2009. That is actually a side project of the lead singer of the very popular band Vampire Weekend. His first name is Rostam and I'm afraid I'm going to butcher the pronunciation of his last name, but I found on Youtube an interview clip where a member of the band pronounced it (Batmanglij), here.
And then after Discovery, I played his main band, Vampire Weekend, picking the song "Diplomat's Son," from their 2010 CD "Contra."
Now, you know by now on OutRadio that I can rapidly switch from genre to genre. And since I prefaced it that way, well, you know I'm ready to do that, as here's a Canadian artist I just love, Kate Reid. She has a brand new CD with an interesting concept. It's called "Queer Across Canada," and in her touring she collected stories from LGBT folks, and turned them into songs, so there'll be a lot of social commentary in them, like these two, called "That's So Gay" and "Boys Who Wear Dresses."
Kate Reid - That's So Gay / Boys Who Wear Dresses (2013)
I have a hunch I'm going to like that CD a lot. Up next, Paul Clay and "Queer Shit." No, that's the name of the song.
Paul Clay - Queer Shit / Boise Idaho (Drag Queen) (2013)
That was fairly spirited. That was Portland, Oregon, artist Paul Clay and his from his 2006 CD "Lab and Family" were the songs "Queer Shit" and "Boise Idaho (Drag Queen)." And I guess I could have included that on my Queer Music Heritage show for July, which was called "Songs About Drag Queens." Next we go to Warsaw, Poland, for the band Zdrada Palki, and the bisexual lyrics of their new song "All Is Full of Love."
Zdrada Palki - All Is Full of Love (2013)
This is JD Doyle and thanks again for checking out my OutRadio show. It included quite a variety and was a very international show, with artists from six countries other than the U.S. Taking us out is the Los Angeles duo Hi Fashion. Their new EP is called "You Are Gorgeous," and the first single from it is called "Eighteen."
Fashion - Eighteen (2013)