On the eve of Willam Belli’s "WILLAM: The meWme Show" on April 18 at the Gramercy Theater in New York City, Out caught up with the drag superstar, who had moments before just recorded a new song with fellow RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Latrice Royale. Willam was driving in Los Angeles during the conversation.
Out: Tell me about this new song.
Willam: It’s called “Big Thighs Make the Dick Rise.” I just sing about my truth, you know.
When can we hear it?
I think I might play it at the Saturday show before or after, if its done. But it’s on my album, which comes out May 12. Very soon, I’m very excited. The album… Can you hear that shit?
Can you hear my traffic thing talking to me? It’s telling me to turn and shit. I bet you don’t miss L.A. at all.
I do! You know how horrible the winter was here. But you’re traveling all the time, you must miss L.A. too.
Yeah, this is true. I’m only here five days a month. My album is very Lonely Island—songs that in the car you can jam to, like, “Yeah this is a banger!” But then videos that are straight-up fuckery and comedy. But I can do what I want now that I’m not playing transsexuals on television anymore. Because transsexuals are playing transsexuals on television now.
But that’s good, right?
Well it’s great for the community but it fucking kneecapped my SAG benefits. But whatever.
What can we expect at the show on Saturday?
My goal is to get kicked out of my own show. There will be nudity, there will be fluids, there will be um—you know those hot little peppers in the Papa John's pizza? It’ll be like you ate one of those. I might have a jar of peppers for everybody to just reach in. No tongs, just straight-up dirty fingers. You’ll think, Why did I eat that? But it’s so good. Kind of like my show.
There are VIP tickets available. What do VIP tickets get a person?
A handjob with my mouth. The VIP is basically where I scope out who’s going to be good audience participation, who I’m going to find later to take my makeup off on—the people that are down for anything.
The good thing about New York is you just go somewhere and then you go back. In L.A. you’ve got to drive everywhere, and blah blah blah.
You need one of those little gyrocopters that the guy flew on to Capitol Hill.
What? Is that recent?
Yeah, but if you did it in L.A., you’d be shot down by police helicopters.
Yeah, I live in Inglewood now, there’s tons. [I live there] for five days a month anyway. It’s like a giant Youtube studio that I rent out to other drag queens when I’m not there. Ginger Minj just did a photo shoot there. It’s a cute little set-up.
Are any of the other videos I’ve seen going to be on your album?
Yeah, the “American Apparel Ad Girls” [Courtney Act, Alaska 5000, and Willam] song is on there, might be a remix, I’m not sure what yet. The cool thing about working with Alaska and Courtney—I’ve been in girl groups that haven’t gone so hot before—working relationship-wise—and the good thing about Courtney and Alaska is that we all have our own thing, we know what we’re doing, and we all entered it as equals, and it stayed that way, and we’ve never been in an argument, it’s so wonderful. We’re all featured on each other’s albums, and we all have albums coming out. Courtney’s is in June I think, Alaska’s is in April, and mine is in May. It’s so cool going to a club and seeing all these people jam to your friend’s song. And Alaska has kick ass-music. It’s just so catchy. Courntey’s is going to be awesome. It’s feels like Kylie—she basically is Kylie with a dick.
It works out well for all of us. We get to do our group songs, out solo songs, and it’s a fun little tour. It’s like when Elton, Bette, and Cher did a concert together. Gay minds exploded.
What’s the album called?
“Shartistry in Motion.” It’s like artistry, but shart, when someone shit-farts. It’s not technically a curse word. I had to fight with my publicist for it. He’s like “Really? Willam, Really?” I’m like, “Shut up.”
It’s art! Or something.
You’re also raising money for season three of YouTube series “Willam Belli Beatdown”?
What does Patreon do that’s different from the others?
Um, I don’t know. But the girls that produce it—it’s basically a sponsorship, it’s a like an extended thank you, I think. I’m not really sure. You know [filmmakers] Andrea James and Calpernia Addams, right?
They produce “Beatdown” for me, and I couldn’t do it anymore, and I was like, “Girls, I’m sorry this is so much fun but blah blah blah,” and they were like, “Let’s do a Kickstarter,” and I hate asking for money, but they help me manage it and it works, so everybody wins. I knew people watch because of the views and stuff, but I was like goddamn, $55K? Shit—you know?
That’s impressive! Do you ever hear back from any of the YouTubers you beat down?
Yeah, a couple of them have said stuff to me, but well—people don’t want to fuck with me, you know? If they can’t crack a joke on themselves they look like assholes. If someone is making fun of someone else and you come back with, “oh my God, that’s bullying” it’s kind of lame sauce. It’s just the Internet and I’m a clown. I always wanted to be in the circus and I just have my circus with wi-fi basically. That’s how I look at it. I’m a comedian and a clown. I wear as much makeup as a clown, and who doesn’t love being under a big top, you know?
You’ve got engagements in Scotland and England coming up, with Alaska and Courtney Act. Are you worried anything will be lost in translation?
No! They get me really good over there. I’m overseas once a month at this point and they get all the jokes. I can’t understand a lot of stuff that they say unless I look at their lips, especially the Scottish people—because their accent is fucking thicker than my beard sometimes. But it’s really hard to get, some of the slang—I’m still lost on it. But Courtney get it. She will translate for me.
That’s funny, an Australian translating Scottish for you.
Yeah, she’s so nice to people and she actually cares what they say. At a certain point of the night, after 2 a.m., I’m like, “If we’re not fucking, I’m cool. I’ll take a picture but please don’t make me try to have a conversation with you or make my sober face at this point.”
What are you doing for the album release?
I’m not even in America for it. In July I’m going to do a bunch to listening parties, get a U-Haul and go East, to Nashville and Louisville, cool places like that. And then I have RuPaul's Drag Con, a big drag convention back in L.A., and then I shoot the video with Latrice the next week, and then it’s gay Pride season. I’m in Zurich, London, I think I’m in L.A. for party that Casey Alva is throwing, then one more. Make Hay when the sun shines—it’s like Drag Queen High Holidays.
See you Saturday!