I’m entirely convinced that I’m not the only one who would call 2018 a wild ride. In both positive and negative aspects, personally and on a wider scale, the last year was full of surprises for just about everyone I know. That’s part of the reason I knew I wanted to send it out with a bang. For me, celebrating something always means finding a fantastic drag show or queer party to be a part of, so you can imagine how incredibly pleased I was when Prism Toronto approached me to be involved with their Unity Party featuring Nina Flowers and Jiggly Caliente! This pre-New Year’s Eve bash, happening at Fly 2.0 on December 29th, has a little bit of something for everyone.
Being the massive drag enthusiast I am, I’m always prepared to tell just about anyone how incredible I think DJ Nina Flowers is. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her once before, as well as hearing her work her audio magic, and I’ll happily rave about how lovely the experience was all round. Leading up to this party, I wanted to make sure everyone else could have a reminder of her talent as well! I was beyond grateful when Nina agreed to sit down with me for a quick interview.
If you’re not from Toronto and you can’t attend, simply sit back and enjoy the positivity and insightfulness this inspirational artist brings to the table!
CC: Hi Nina! We’re so excited to have you in Toronto soon! Have you worked a lot in Canada before?
NF: Yes, I have. I have been to Vancouver three times, Toronto four times, and once each to Montreal, Saskatoon, and Ottawa. All were rewarding experiences.
CC: What is your favourite part of working in Canada?
NF: It’s the people. Everyone is so nice and welcoming.
CC: Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled for drag and music?
NF: A performance gig in Australia, doing an event in both Brisbane and Sydney. For DJ gigs, I did a SongKran main event in Bangkok, Thailand, and in Sao Paulo, Brazil I was spinning at The Week.
CC: Do you find it exciting traveling for gigs, or do you feel more comfortable working closer to home?
NF: It’s always comfortable at home, but definitely more exciting when traveling. Nothing can beat that rush, when you travel across the world and you showcase your talent for new audiences. In a way, it’s exciting and kind of nerve wracking – in a butterflies in my stomach kind of way – but I live for that rush.
CC: You were a huge fan favourite on season one of RuPaul’s Drag Race. What do you think of the way the show has grown and changed since then?
NF: The show has grown incredibly! It’s offered people to see the art-form of drag in a very positive light, and it’s helped people understand that it’s an art, thereby bringing more acceptance, appreciation, and respect to the art-form. The show has definitely changed since I was on. The move from Logo to VH1 I’m assuming has been good for it, for it took the show mainstream.
CC: If you were cast for RPDR now, is there anything you’d do differently?
NF: Nothing. I love everything I did and do and I’m very proud of who I am as person and as an artist.
CC: In recent years, we’ve seen a shift in the ways that people do and enjoy drag, as well as who participates in it. What do you think of the way drag has started reaching wider age ranges and different types of events?
NF: I think it’s phenomenal. The show has brought drag into popular culture. You can’t deny artistry and the appreciation of it when it’s in front of you. For too long we’ve been underground but not anymore thanks to the show. Now everyone wants to be a drag queen!
CC: Who is your favourite artist to work with, from anywhere in the world? Why?
NF: I don’t do performances anymore. I retired from the stage about 2 years ago and I’ve been just focusing on my career as both a DJ and music producer. Some my favourite entertainers are, Flava, Shokra, TP Lords and Power Infiniti, who also happens to be a fierce DJ. The ones I mentioned never stop amazing me. In their productions, I love their aesthetic, their choices, and the love they have for attention to detail.
CC: Which of your RPDR sisters (from any season) are you the closest with?
NF: My season 1 girls, of course! Ongina, Tammie Brown and Bebe Zahara Benet. Though my number ones are my Puerto Rican sisters, Jessica Wild and Yara Sofia. I love all my RPDR family, but these are my girls. We have history.
CC: What got you into DJ-ing originally?
NF: Could you believe it?! My dad! He had a coworker many, many years ago who was a mobile DJ and I was just becoming a teenager. He did corporate and private events like weddings, birthday parties, and graduations. My dad would sometimes join him on his adventures, so I would join them on occasion. I found an appreciation for the work and eventually I started doing my own thing- doing parties and corporate events until I got my first residency at a club. I was sixteen, and the year was 1989.
CC: How would you describe your sound?
NF: Edgy, spicy, colourful, energetic, original, groovy, and most of all different and at times out of the box. Very much like my drag! My goal is to bring my identity through my music and place my accents with pieces that I may perceive as mainstream. I have my own sound, my own aesthetic.
CC: Can you recommend two favourite DJs you like whose work we should all check out?
NF: There are so many; Abel Aguilera, Ralphi Rosario, Paulo Gois… the list could go on, but they are some of my favouites.
CC: What are your favourite parties to spin?
NF: Reload Afterhours in LA, Meat in NYC, Score Miami, Hydrate Chicago, and of course Prism Toronto that I recently joined! I hope to make many memories with this new relationship.
CC: Has your drag influenced or played a role in your music?
NF: It’s the other way around! My career as a DJ started at very early age. Professionally, it started when I was 16. Drag came after. My artistry in drag has always been inspired by my music. I’m blessed that Nina Flowers gave me the platform for people to now recognize my sound and observe where my core comes from.
CC: Do fans often give you gifts? If so, what’s the nicest thing you’ve ever received?
NF: I’ve gotten a number of gifts here and there. Lot’s of inspirational art, which are my favourite ones to receive. One particular one I have in my office, and it was done by a very young artist in Denver. He made a portrait of me sketched in pencil. That piece of art was so on point, I’m happy to have received it. It’s from a picture taken from a music video that I appeared in as a cameo. Impressive work.
CC: What’s something you hope your fans get from your drag and DJ sets? What do you hope to communicate to people through your work?
NF: In everything I do in life, I put considerable effort and love into it. If it leads to me inspiring others, it’s a blessing. In the process, my goal is to expand minds to a world of different possibilities. I see my art as part of a continuum, and I believe that may be what makes me different from other artists. Even with all the obstacles, I’m blessed to find my way while avoiding what I may consider negativity. While I believe my strength comes from the obstacles, the core is love of my expression. I hope that people get the love that’s in my work; I offer some “aha” moments.
CC: You’ll be at our Unity Party on December 29th to help us celebrate 2018 and get ready to ring in 2019. If you could achieve one big goal in 2019, what would it be?
NF: To release an album of original songs produced by me. Already on the works!
CC: Thank you so much for chatting with us! We can’t wait to see and hear you in action.
Get your tickets to Prism Toronto’s Unity Party featuring Nina Flowers and Jiggly Caliente here. Join us for Nina’s fantastic music, stellar performances from Jiggly, and celebrations all night long with the help of an impressive cast of local drag artists!