“Gone tomorrow, but you’re here for today / catwalking like the world is your runway,” RuPaul declares on the opening verse of “Kitty Girl” — a fan favorite off her latest album, American. The 6’4” drag icon is certainly making people pay attention: between a hit TV show, two new albums (with a third on its way!) and a biographical TV dramedy with Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams in the works, Mama Ru is serving working girl realness. Hot on the (size-twelve) heels of RuPaul’s Drag Race season nine premiere, the straightforward shapeshifter talked to Billboard about her B-52’s breakthrough, her collection of unreleased Lady Gaga tracks, and — given the patriotic theme of her latest album — politics: “This election is a reaction to having an African-American president in the White House for the past eight years.”
First off, a condragulations is in order: nearly a million viewers tuned in to the season 9 premiere of Drag Race, making it the most watched episode in the history of the series and doubling last season’s debut. Were you shocked?
No, I wasn’t shocked because we’ve moved over to VH1 which has 93 million homes. It’s a lot more eyeballs that can watch our show. I’ve been out promoting our show for years and years to get people to tune in on Logo, but not a lot of people have Logo. And if they have it, it’s usually one of the most expensive cable packages around, so it was quite a feat. We had great success at Logo, but I knew it was more accessible to people on VH1.
Lady Gaga stopped by for the premiere. She was brilliant. What’s your favorite Gaga song?
You know, I believe it’s the one I did with her called “Fashion.” I love that song. Also, there’s this other one that’s part of this unreleased package that floated around the internet called “Nothing On But The Radio.” I don’t know the story behind it. I have a whole album of b-sides and unreleased Lady Gaga stuff. I don’t know how I got it.
You know, I’m a music freak. I’m sort of like the Underground Railroad of music people. They send me things and I’ll send them things because we love music so much.