Carmen Electra :: Back to Music With ’Bigger Dick’
It has been two decades since Carmen Electra released a record, but hopefully the recent release of two singles will mark the resurrection of her music career.
It was, after all, the genre where she got her start, having been discovered by Prince, who produced her first self-titled album in 1993. The album wasn’t a success, and Electra left the music scene, concentrating on modeling (including her celebrated Playboy cover) and acting ("Baywatch" on television and the "Scary Movie" series at the movies.) That, though, didn’t mean she wanted to put music behind her. "I’ve missed performing," Carmen told me. "I truly love... to be creative and perform in front of an audience."
Meeting publicist Jack Ketsoyan and Citrusonic-head Orlando Puerta reminded her of her love of music and performing, and led Carmen to Grammy-nominated producer Bill Hamel (U2, Seal, Rihanna, Madonna, Gwen Stefani). The result was "I Like It Loud," her collaboration with Hamel that was released in Nov. 2012. Recently her single "Bigger Dick" hit iTunes with more of the same free-to-be-me attitude set to a dance beat as is "I Like It Loud." In fact, the experience of recording again has been so great that Electra has a full-length album forthcoming.
With much musical theater and dance competitions as a youth to her credit, Carmen is no stranger for sure to performing on stage, as her stint with the Pussycat Dolls showed us. With the two singles released, Electra has been making the nightclub, circuit party and gay pride event rounds, including a performance at this year’s White Party in Palm Springs.
"It’s really fun to perform with all the visuals and stuff," Electra says about returning to what she loves to do. Performing for a gay audience has been exciting for Carmen, even though "they will read you like there is no tomorrow."
Her upcoming performance in San Francisco at Club Papi’s 18th Anniversary Celebration on Sept. 14 will further put her performance skills to the test before a gay/Latin crowd. "But, I love the challenge," she says.
Prior to her appearance in the Bay Area, I visited with the electrifying Carmen and had a high energy chat about what brought her back to the music scene, how the music business has changed over the 20 years, the meaning behind "Bigger Dick," her love of drag queens, her next film "Dragula," and her dream film role.
Loves the challenge
BeBe: I was thinking back to the first time I remember seeing you dance and hearing you sing in one of your first music videos back when you released your debut and only album "Carmen Electra," produced by Prince for Paisley Park Records back in 1993. That was 20 years ago, girl!
Carmen Electra: Crazy how time flies.
BeBe: That’s a long time between releasing new music. So, girl, what was the catalyst that got you back into the recording studio?
Carmen Electra: Honestly, the music industry is so much different from the film industry and television. (They are) completely different worlds. And at that time (1993), Prince and Paisley Park Records were running everything. It was a different era. I didn’t really understand the business side, and I’m still learning. Then my career went into a completely different direction. But during all this time, I’ve missed performing. That’s what I truly love to do, to be creative and perform in front of an audience. This time around it was about getting with the right people at the right time. It was good people that saw something good in me that I wasn’t sure about anymore.
My focus had been comedy, photography and so many other things. It was like they came and had a sort of (musical) intervention with me (Carmen laughs). They basically said ’this (performing) is what you love to do, so why aren’t you doing it?’ I thought let’s give it a try, but I didn’t want to tell anyone (not even rumored beau Simon Cowell). I just wanted to see what happened. The ball started rolling, and I’ve been rolling with it and loving it. I ain’t gonna lie, it is hard work! But, I love the challenge.
BeBe: You’re such a great dancer. That was the first thing that made me say ’Who is that girl?’ when I first saw you back in the day. You were keeping up with the likes of Janet Jackson back then.
Carmen Electra: Awww, thank you!
BeBe: Since Nov. 2012, you’ve released two singles, ’I Like It Loud’ and "Bigger Dick." Is the plan to release a full-length album, and if so, who are you working with in its production?
Carmen Electra: Yes, I am planning an album. People that I’m in the studio with with are (Grammy nominated producer) Bill Hamel (U2, Seal,Rihanna, Madonna, Gwen Stefani), Mally Mall (San Francisco Bay Area producer of Chris Brown, 112, Usher, Snoop Dogg) and his producing team. Hector Fonseco did a bunch of remixes for me, and I will be working with him some more in the future.
BeBe: Ooh, we love us some Hector Fonseco!
Carmen Electra: He’s such a sweetheart as you know.
BeBe: Your new single "Bigger Dick" is obviously not about a man’s fifth appendage. What is the song about?
Carmen Electra: It’s a very kitschy way of talking about self-empowerment. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your gender is, what nationality you are, we have all had that time when someone seemed to be taking advantage of you and your life. I was at a point where I felt fed up. I didn’t really know how to express it in a really sweet way (laughter followed), so I just went for it and told it like it is.
Hypes her up
BeBe: You put it down in the way you knew your peeps would understand it. That’s what you did!
Carmen Electra: What I discovered is that it’s really fun to perform with all the visuals and stuff. All my girls (backup dancers) are loving performing it. What I’m trying to do is dig a little deeper than I have before to show a side of me that people don’t know about. That’s a very vulnerable place. The journey I’m going through right now is not always good, and it’s not always bad.
Early on in this business, everything was about fantasy and not really showing the real person. I think it’s okay to show both sides. Of course, I love the fantasy. I love to get all dolled up. I feel like a different person when I have the on the nice outfits, the Louboutins, and the whole vibe. But at the end of the day when you go home and take off the make up, you’re there with just yourself.
BeBe: You’ve been talking about your love for performing which brings me to some of your performances thus far this year at some gay events. You performed in Vienna at the fabulous Life Ball, and in Palm Springs at Jeffrey Sanker’s White Party. Does performing before a predominately gay crowd get you hyped up? I mean, you know how critical we can be.
Carmen Electra: (laughing) Yes, of course it hypes me up! True, you will get read in a heartbeat. You will get read like there is no tomorrow. But, I love it.
BeBe: On a more personal note, as a resident of California, you are aware of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Prop 8, reinstating marriage equality to the state. One of my concerns is the gay community not getting caught up in the moment of equal rights and making the decision to marry just because we can, and not because we have found that right person to commit our lives to. You had some experience with a rush to marriage in your union with Dennis Rodman, which you have previously stated in interviews that you got caught in the moment after dealing with a personal loss. Do you have any words of advice to offer when it comes to making that decision to marry?
Carmen Electra: How I see it is it is the freedom of choice. People make mistakes. That’s life. What’s positive about the overturn of Prop 8 is that now the gay community (in California) has an option they didn’t have before. It’s really none of my business (how they choose to exercise the right to marry). I obviously had a quick marriage, but everything is about learning. I believe there are so many gay couples out there that are so excited to have this right that to put any kind of rules on it would be wrong. Everyone has the right to learn and figure it out in their own way.
BeBe: Now that you have resurrected your music career, are you putting the acting thing on hold for a little bit?
Carmen Electra: No, I actually just wrapped up two movies. One is called "Dragula" (a short-film directed by Frank Meli - "RuPaul’s Drag Race," "Real Housewives of Orange County," "...Beverly Hills," and "...Atlanta") with (producer/director) Adam Shankman("Rock of Ages," "Hairspray").
What’s with ’Dragula?’
BeBe: "Dragula?" Really? Oh well, I know you love your drag queens in your "I Like It Loud" music video.
Carmen Electra: I dooooooo! I love people who aren’t afraid to be who they want to be and who they are. End of story! It takes a lot of courage to own who you are, and I admire people like that. 10-inch heels and double lashes, and let’s do this!
BeBe: If you did have a choice to play your dream film role, what would that role be?
Carmen Electra: It would be so challenging, but Ann-Margret ("Viva Las Vegas," "Bye Bye Birdie," "Tommy") is an icon that I’ve idolized since I was a little girl. When I was 11 or 12 years old, I was in a musical production of "Bye Bye Birdie," and I researched by watching the movie over and over. I was so drawn to her, her fiery energy and performance. There was just this thing about her. That would be my dream role. If I wanted to challenge myself in the craziest way, it would be to have the opportunity to play her.
Carmen Electra performs at Club Papi’s 18th Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco on Sept. 14th at The Factory Nightclub. For tickets www.wantickets.com/clubpapi and information www.clubpapi.com
For updates on Carmen Electra’s upcoming music releases and performance schedules go to www.carmenelectra.com
Carmen Electra singles "I Like It Loud" and "Bigger Dick" are both available on iTunes.
Watch Carmen Electra perform ’Bigger Dick’ at the White Party in Palm Springs:
As an actress, BeBe was introduced to film with a lead role in the independent film "Under One Sun" with her character dealing with religious, racial and gender issues. Additionally, she appeared in the campy musical "Devious, Inc" (Australian Film Festival, San Francisco Short Film Fest) also adding additional vocals to the musical soundtrack. Both of these performances led to her selection for a lead role in Aisha Media’s next short film series, "Con-tin.u.um" to be released in 2012.