for “Mister Sister” but things changed when we started jamming and she added some of her own lyrics. Her secret sauce is to get the melody, get the hook, get the chorus and pre-chorus and put the lyrics to that. Don’t overthink it— just do it all at once.
It was so much fun and we laughed a lot. Each song had a different third collaborator so I worried about the cohesiveness, but they came together beautifully in the end.
I was going to ask you next what was it like working with Sia Furler, but it sounds like you really had a great experience.
When I first met her, I didn’t know she was a singer. We were at a birthday party and we were all required to sing and she got up to sing and I thought, ‘Wow, this girl has a really great voice!’ So we became friends before I even knew who she was.
“Mister Sister” is about the struggles that people have who don’t fit gendertypical roles. I read that there was actually some controversy from the trans community. What were your thoughts about that?
Controversy always generates more interest but I didn’t expect for it to be controversial. It’s also not about a transgender person specifically but about anyone feeling betrayed by the mirror. The Huffington Post misquoted me saying ‘I hope that this becomes a trans anthem’—but they put in parentheses ‘gender’ and although I wanted to include transgender, I wasn’t specifically speaking about that. It also means a gay boy or girl—anyone who feels this way. It’s about loving yourself.
At first, I was hurt by the controversy but it started a dialogue about the transgender movement. They often don’t really have a voice and talking about this song was another way for them to be heard. It ended up being a really good thing with overwhelmingly positive feedback.
I heard you have some big, gay news of your own?
Yes! My partner, Monica [Coleman] and I are getting married! We are planning a Hawaiian wedding. We’re doing a simple, beautiful affair with our friends on August 3.
And it’ll be legally recognized, so congratulations!
Thanks! We actually planned the date a long time ago before we knew the Supreme Court would be ruling. We were thrilled when we heard it but I was shocked that the decision was so close [5-4]. It seems like such an obvious civil right. History will not be kind to those who opposed marriage equality.
What are you passionate about right now?
Monica and I are both passionate about gar- dening. We’re very interested in the whole farmto-table movement. We’re interested in organic and growing your own food. Monica just planted a ton of lettuce. We’ve been eating salads. We have all kinds of squash and flowers and cherry trees. She just made a cherry pie from our trees.
She sounds like a keeper. No wonder you’re going to marry her.
She’s amazing! We’re also passionate about animal rights. We have two dogs, Athena and Zeus. I just auctioned off some of my old costumes to raise money for our local animal shelter, the Animal Emergency Fund in Woodstock. Oh, and we’re also passionate about eating [laughs]!
Yes! I’ll be at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on July 17th and the Georgia Theatre in Athens on the 18th. It’s a homecoming for me. Atlanta is my home away from home. Hopefully, I’ll see a lot of old friends there. It’s going to be a great show. I hope everyone will come out and see me.
Are you excited to come back to your home turf of Atlanta next week?