10 Qs: Music Producer Lucian Piane on Pushing RuPaul & Working with Idol Contestants
By Stacy Lambe
Photo: Mathu Andersen
Tonight on RuPaul's Drag Race, composer and music producer Lucian Piane returns for the series' recurring music challenge. Like he did in seasons past, he not only wrote original music but also guides the girls through nerves and stage fright. Outside the show, Piane is also a longtime collaborator of Ru's. He has produced her last three studio albums. On Born Naked, Piane expands Ru's sound, putting her to werk. Ahead of his return to the show, Piane answered our 10 most burning questions about the show's new contestants, his dream collaboration, and his thoughts on all these queens making music.
Out: How has RuPaul's Drag Race changed for you now that it's in its sixth (regular) season?
Lucian Piane: This is the first time where the show folded in on itself. Here we are and some of these kids were in high school when the show started. How did that happen?!
What was it like working with actual singers this season?
In writing the music for the challenge, I was like, "Oh god, I hope I have singers." I've been on the show before, and in one season, we didn't any singers at all. You just have to work with what you have. So I was excited there were two people not only with voices but great voices.
Sadly for the other girls, there's no auto-tune.
Fortunately, musical theater is a little more forgiving because you can act through a song.
How do the contestants on this season compare to previous seasons?
The talent and the competition keeps getting better. The talent is really first-rate. They're exciting; they're fun; they're performers and entertainers.
After three albums together, how do you and RuPaul get inspired to create new music?
Ru and myself are both people constantly working on ourselves as human beings. Just by proxy, the art is going to evolve. Since this was our third time around, I think Ru was a lot more open to collaborations and a wider range of material. I really wanted us to push the limits and expectations of Ru. There is a ballad with Martha Wash, which no one expected, but it came out really beautifully. It shows this side of Ru that's never been recorded before.
You're also featured on the album. Was that planned?
I do all the opening vocals on "Geronimo." I didn't know I was going to be featured, but at the last minute, Ru said she was going to put my name on there as well. I was not expecting that at all. But I love that song. I would love to sing a proper duet with Ru someday.
What do you think about all the former contestants making music now?
You know, it's all part of the package. The contestants are smart. They've become pop stars. And pop stars doesn't even necessarily mean music. But it can mean music if you have a little bit of rhythm and say something. You can do a good song if it's smart. I love some of the songs coming out.
What's next for you?
I really want to write a Broadway musical. That's one of my main focuses this year. Besides that, I'm working with the new artist Conway. Right now, she's on tour with Ellie Goulding. And I also just scored a short film produced by Adam Shankman called Dragula, about a kid who does drag for the first time.
Who do you want to collaborate with?
A Madonna song would be just the best.
What's your spirit animal?
I think it's a wolf. I think a psychic told me that. Yeah, it's a timber wolf.
Watch Piane work with Adore Delano in an exclusive preview of tonight's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race. The show premieres at 9 pm EST on Logo TV.