Aqua: Interview with “Mermaid Drag Queen” Lagoona Bloo

0
Lagoona Bloo
“Aqua” is a new album by Lagoona Bloo, a drag queen who is famous for dressing up like a mermaid.



“Aqua” is a new album by Lagoona Bloo, a drag queen who is famous for dressing up like a mermaid. Lagoona is 1/3 of the critically acclaimed drag pop vocal trio, Stephanie’s Child, yet “Aqua” is her first solo album.

Lagoona recently discussed this album and more via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you first realize that you wanted to be a musical artist and how did you find your way into drag?

Lagoona Bloo (LG): Growing up there was a running joke in my family that I started singing before I started speaking because my parents couldn’t get me to shut up. There’s a video of me as a baby – less than six months old – singing a melody I made up over and over. Music was always a huge part of my life because it runs in my veins! My dad had an amazing voice and being his child, I sound a lot like him. We always had a karaoke machine blaring through the house and my dad would always turn it all the way up. The house would rattle with the sound. There are tons of home videos of me, my brother and sister dancing and singing at the top of my lungs with him. I like to believe that I was born to make a joyful noise! I was literally created to sing and make music! The seed was planted in me at a young age and I have always known that I’d be a singer. I never would have guessed that Lagoona would be the fruit of my labor but I’ve never been happier or more sure that I’m doing what I am meant to do.

The first time I was ever introduced to drag was through theatre. I have my degree in musical theatre, performance and directing and I had been cast in a few female roles, but I’ve never really connected to what drag was until 2016. I was cast in a brand-new musical, and it was a production of this new musical called “Toast.” They needed a beautiful voice to play a drag queen. I loved the music so I auditioned for it. Previously, I’d played women, like Mary Sunshine and Lady Bracknell, all these character women. And this character was just a drag queen. It was the first time that I was allowed to be hyper feminine on stage, because growing up I was surrounded by toxic masculinity in theatre. I remember the first time I put my hand on my hip and my leg in a bevel and I was singing and performing in a way that I had always pushed against and it just felt so good. When I got back to the city, I could not stop thinking about it. So, little by little throughout the rest of 2016, I was playing with wigs and makeup. Still auditioning for theater roles, I was 25 years old but I kept getting cast as a very specific character type playing 40-year-old backup characters. I was so frustrated by this but when I was in drag, I felt like a star! It was because of this that I decided to pursue drag as a career. By the end of summer of 2017, I was doing competitions, and really thriving on the scene. I’m doing drag full time now and I’ve never looked back. It has been the most amazing experience ever.

MM: How did you start singing in a group and what has moving into solo territory been like?

LB: I met Jan and Rosé through the competition scene in NYC. We were all immediately attracted to each other because we loved to sing – and sing WELL! We had a meeting late summer of 2017 and decided to sing together and it was one of the best decisions of my life. We aren’t only a girl group – we are best friends. Sisters – And we love and fight like family. Moving into solo territory has felt very natural, and of course encouraged, as the three of us are really broadening our paths as we step forward! Music became my solace during the pandemic and has totally defined what I want to do with my career! Putting out my own music has been a dream come true. I mean that literally. I definitely had always dreamed of being a pop star. Growing in a really super evangelical Christian home, I was never allowed to listen to any sort of music. In secret, from third to sixth grade, I played Britney’s first two albums, and Christina Aguilera’s first album, on repeat daily. All of my friends wanted to be with Britney and I wanted to BE Britney. In the back of my mind, I’ve always wanted to write and record and create pop music. However, growing up as a queer, chubby kid in the South, it didn’t feel a reality. And then when I got into theatre, I was like, Oh, this is what it means. The dream had always been there to make music but drag was the vessel that opened the world for me.

MM: What typically comes to you first, the lyrics of a song or it’s melody?

LB: Definitely the melodies – but only because it totally defines what the lyric will be for me. Honestly – the thing that’s the easiest for me is to think of is a theme – a sentence, phrase, a word, and what the many facets of said sentence, phrase or word could be. What are the metaphors that relate to them and to my life? Also, as I’m writing pop music, I find that simple but catchy melodies and lyrics are what get you! Once I have that in mind – I find a beat or chord progression and play it over and over and record myself improvising over and over until I find exactly what I want to sing. I love it so much!

MM: What inspired the songs on “AQUA” and do you have a favorite?

LB: AQUA is a journey through the experiences of the many joys and pains of love, sex and relationships in an underwater dream world! It’s a story of the way I fall in and out of love and allows a peek into my personal life. It’s a door into my fantasyland, a land that pulses to the beats of my best daydreams and beautiful nightmares. The order of the songs on the EP progress through the highs and lows of relationships and in a way that’s specific to the way that I love and have been loved.

MM: What do you think the music videos for this album might look like?

LB: I released a video for my second single off the album, “Hands.” It was the first music video I’ve ever shot and it truly felt like my first step into the “pop star” world I’ve always dreamed of! It was directed by my friend, Austin Nunes, who is an incredible queer videographer. It was really important to me to utilize the incredible group of queer artists that I surround myself with and I feel lucky to have always had their support. “Hands” is a really special song to me because it’s based in so much of my personal reality. So, when I imagined the video, I felt called to allow myself to be very vulnerable. I wanted to pull away from my typical, gorgeous over the top look with big hair and fantastical costumery. I wanted to push myself out of this comfort zone and into something that made me a little uncomfortable. I’m not a drag queen who has a hyper-feminine slender body and I have always criticized myself unfairly for it. I wanted to challenge myself to utilize this platform, not only to create music, but also to let others know who are insecure about their bodies, that they are beautiful and that they deserve to be touched. The imagery for the video and concept are simple yet focused on the performance. Shot on a very simple clean white background. I’m rocking eight-inch platform thigh high boots and a gorgeous jacket by my friend Casey Caldwell with scenes of a blue fog filled dreams and strobe lights and confident action, movement and storytelling.  I felt like a total rock star.

Currently, I’m working on a video for the next single off the album, “Wings of Love.” This one is going to have much more production value, with backup dancers, costume changes, location changes, etc. It’s going to be incredible and I’m so excited for everyone to see it when it comes out later this summer.

MM: You are an actor as well as a singer so how did that help you develop Lagoona Bloo?

LB: Well, acting gave me a TON of experience on stage – and as a solo act, it’s my job to entertain a crowd for hours all by myself! So as much as I love to jokingly ask myself “why did I go to theatre school to perform in nightlife?” It’s absolutely been to my benefit! Also, as I’ve been working on music, I also like to focus on the story that I’m telling. The EP is incredibly theatrical which obviously comes from my previous career!

MM: Why a mermaid, what is it about mermaids per se that so inspired you?

LB: I’ve always been obsessed with Ariel, the Little Mermaid. Even as a child I was fascinated by anything that came from the ocean! In college, I came across the Monster High doll series which had a doll named Lagoona Blue, who was the daughter of a sea monster. The name immediately sounded like it belonged to a mermaid pop star and I thought to myself, “if I ever were to do drag, THAT would be my name.” So, in the beginning of my journey in drag, my first night out in full drag in NYC in 2016, Brita Filter invited me out to one of her shows and asked what my drag name was. I just blurted out “Lagoona Bloo” and it was ABSOLUTELY the perfect name for me. As a singer, I’ve always related my sound and persona to mermaids. When I think mermaid, I imagine an incredible voice, one that calls and lures you in. I also have a very androgynous voice. Is it male? Is it female? The answer is – it doesn’t matter – it’s cool. The sound of my voice is very unique and different, yet so inspired. I’m super excited to have been able to not only utilize but blend my inspirations into this one-of-a-kind musical and magical experience.

MM: How similar is the character of Lagoona to you?

LB: Lagoona is me! She’s just the heightened version – the sparkle and pep in “turning it on” for the lights or the camera. She’s always there because it’s ME! I used to think that Lagoona and David were very separate but as I’ve grown up in my career and in life, I’ve come to enjoy the fact in knowing that I’m just being myself. Lagoona is to David as Superman is to Clark Kent.

MM: What has been the best thing about working in the music industry so far?

LB: I would say meeting and collaborating with my producer, SIXFOOT 5. This was my first-time writing music and when I showed him this little voice note on my phone, he looked up at me and said “I want to make this song with you.” He was the first person to listen to a song of mine and say, Yes. Every time I have an idea, I’m like, ooh, what about this? Or what about this line? It’s always, yes. There’s never a no. He has always just endlessly believed in me. He is insanely talented and the production quality of the EP is really incredible, thanks to him. He is amazing.

MM: What projects are coming up for you soon and is there anything else that you would like to discuss?

LB: The AQUA EP drops on midnight May 18 on all streaming platforms. To get the latest on what I am doing, check out my website LagoonaBloo.com and follow me on Instagram at Instagram.com/lagoonabloonyc.

*****

For more information, visit lagoonabloo.com.  Follow Lagoona Bloo on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok @lagoonabloonyc.

*Photo credits go to Cesar Razza