Metro Weekly

Monét X Change Dives Into R&B with ‘Grey Rainbow’

Monét X Change aims to bust through drag's glass ceiling with her new R&B album "Grey Rainbow, Vol. 1."

Monét X Change - Photo: Lindsey Ruth
Monét X Change – Photo: Lindsey Ruth

“You are asking a question I’ve tried to answer so many times,” says Monét X Change, sounding for a moment dead serious, as opposed to the quick-witted jokester who had kept this interviewer laughing throughout our conversation.

The drag entertainer, singer-songwriter, podcast host, and comedian — born Kevin Akeem Bertin — is responding in earnest to the question of how can people, given the ample evidence from Drag Race and elsewhere that a good drag queen has to be able to do it all, still not appreciate the loads of talent involved.

“I think a lot of queens try to answer this,” Monét continues. “Is it the gay thing? Why is it that folks do not value the immense talents and contributions that drag queens have made to the industry? I don’t understand why they don’t see the value and how fucking incredible it is.”

While frequently expressing her gratitude for the opportunities her talents as a drag performer have earned her, especially since co-winning Drag Race All Stars Season 4, Monét also spoke of her frustration that drag queens often are not being appreciated for the artists they are.

Particularly in the music arena, which is packed with Drag Race alums pumping out club tracks, perceptions appear to be extremely limited in what kind of music the market wants from drag queens. But Monét — whose first album, the EP Unapologetically, dabbled in dance and disco, with flourishes of her classically-trained operatic range — is hoping to shift perceptions with her latest, a straight-up R&B album, Grey Rainbow, Volume 1.

Recorded entirely with producer Mr. International, the project reunited Monét with her Unapologetically songwriting collaborators Eritza Laues and Cannon Mapp to craft songs built around her life in love and lust. “The three of us, we wrote and did all these songs and melodies together,” Monét explains. “Just the three of us, and International gave us all the tracks.”

And in the process, Monét, who’s definitely no stranger to recording — she and bestie Bob the Drag Queen have recorded countless eps of their popular pod Sibling Rivalry — discovered a whole new love for recording.

“Our process was just so dope,” she recalls. “Before this, I didn’t really know about writing music, I didn’t know what the process was. I met up with Eritza, she’s worked with Michael Jackson, she’s worked with Whitney Houston. And our process is, we would go to the studio, all of us, about an hour late, because why not? Then we’re there for nine hours, and International will give us a record.”

Once Monét and crew heard a track they liked, they’d turn to the emotion of the song. “How am I feeling today? ‘You know what, yo, I just broke up with this dude last month, and I have to tell you, I’m moving in this really obsessive space and this track fits that, how I feel right now.’ And we all go into the booth, take turns laying down melodies, and then we piece together the melodies that we like from all of us together. Then we write to that.”

Their process bore fruit in an album of confident, candidly confessional tracks that definitely takes Monét’s music in a new direction. “That’s how our process is for writing this music,” she says proudly. “And it’s just the three of us, kind of taking my heart and putting it to some pop filters and a microphone in a studio in the Bronx, in New York.”

Monét X Change - Photo: Lindsey Ruth
Monét X Change – Photo: Lindsey Ruth

METRO WEEKLY: Nice to talk to you, Monét. Actually, we’ve talked a couple of times before. First, when I was talking to all of the Drag Race season ten queens as they were coming off the show. And then right after you won All Stars, which is a whole different feeling. How are you feeling these days?

MONÉT X CHANGE: I’m feeling very good. I am very lucky and blessed and privileged to be one of the girls who has not stopped working since I’ve come into the public spotlight. And I don’t take that for granted, because I know that’s not everyone’s journey and I’m very grateful for that.

And on top of that, I’m just excited to be entering this new era of music, and showing people different sides of me. I think that’s probably the thing I love the most about this whole Drag Race whirlwind: you kind of get to show your fans and your followers, people who like you, all the different sides of you. So I’ve been able to do the nightclub thing, then I started doing stand-up, and I’m doing opera and I’m doing R&B, so I’m just doing all these multi-hyphenaticity, if that’s even a word, things. It’s just very exciting to me.

MW: Talking about fans, do Monét stans call themselves anything? Are they like The X Change?

MONÉT: Oh yes! You don’t know? The Monét stans, they call themselves Mo-Nation. They’re all part of the Mo-Nation. They have T-shirts, we have annual memberships, and there are dues. And those dues go to a charity called Jackie’s Kids. And my mom’s name is Jackie, so they all benefit me.

MW: Right. Putting the causes that matter first and foremost.

MONÉT: Yeah, of course.

MW: Go, Mo-Nation. I hope they read this, and that they get this album. I genuinely am enjoying this Grey Rainbow. I have a favorite song. I even have a favorite moment in a favorite song, and we’ll get to that.

MONÉT: Ooooh.

MW: But first, what is the Grey Rainbow? Where are you taking us on this album?

MONÉT: I think for me, this is my real dive into R&B music. Before, on my previous project, Unapologetically, I had some funk with “There for You,” and I had a little clubby moment with “Beyoncé,” and “Gently” was a real R&B song. So I’m just kind of piggybacking off of the last song of Unapologetically going into this new era, into this new phase of creating music that I love.

That is kind of like my life force. And that’s like R&B, or as some people call it, alternative R&B music. And I’m kind of treading this new path because I don’t know of any queens who are in the R&B space. I think there are three of us: myself, Peppermint, and, I think, Jujubee also creates R&B. But I’m really creating a fully realized R&B project, and having some dope features on it, and having it be just about the music.

And I call it Grey Rainbow because I don’t believe that life exists in this black-and-white space. I think a lot of people like to see things as black and white, but I think a lot of life is grey, and there is — like with gender and expression and sexuality — a very big grey area that I like to play in. I’ve let myself move in and out of that throughout my entire existence, whether that be with lots of DL men, with gay men.

It’s just been this nebulous area of me discovering who I am through these experiences, and I just speak really honestly about them. That’s whether that’s being obsessed and/or upset with a breakup, whether that’s letting these dudes know that they’re in my rotation, talking about the types of dudes that I like, and allowing dudes to let me feel like less of a person in my song, “Streetlight.” So I’m just kind of taking people on the journey of my own toils with love and lust.

MW: I’m hearing the honest conversations in the songs. Also to me, it is definitely R&B. It vibes to me as summer slow-jam music, that summertime “I’m cleaning my apartment” all day, or I’m out on a bike or something. That kind of feeling.

MONÉT: Yaass!

MW: So let’s get into it. I want to ask about “Body,” which, for me, has a real classic R&B sound, down to the strings. Why did you choose that as the first single? Or is it because it’s such an R&B-forward song that it’s the first single?

MONÉT: Yeah, you’re really nailing it. To me, that one is the most R&B song on this album. I could hear Usher singing this song. I don’t know if the subject matter would be the same, but I could hear Usher singing this song back in the day, “These are my confessions.” It sits in that space. And with this dive into these next two projects in mind, Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Grey Rainbow, I wanted people to really know this is a serious R&B moment. I’m not here to make, as they call it, drag music. I’m here just to make R&B music. The drag queen happens to be the vessel that the message is getting delivered through.

So that’s why it was the first one. And I just love the strings on it. This arranger in Detroit, Maurice “Pirahnahead” Herd, has done work on a lot of Victoria Monét’s projects. He just created these beautiful, beautiful arrangements and got these strings on there. I just am in love with the composition of all of it.

MW: Now, I’m going to ask you about my favorite song, not to slight any of the other ones, but “U on U.” Love, love, love “U on U.” One thing I love about it, and what I like about almost any good R&B song, is it has a great premise. That “I’m going to pull a you on you” is a really good premise. Is there a real-life inspiration for that song, or any of the other songs?

MONÉT: Oh, ab-so-lutely! Every song on this album is from a real-life situation, a real dude that got me to that point to write it. And “U on U” was about someone that I was dealing with, and I felt myself building so much resentment because I was just taking all this stuff that this person was doing to me, knowing that I was being upset about it. And then at one point, I just remember waking up and I was walking through Soho, and I had my Beats in my ears and I’m walking around like, “You know what? Why the fuck am I dealing with this shit?” And then everything that I felt he did to me, all the shady things too, I did right back to him. And was that the most mature way to handle it? No, but it’s how I handled it, and it is what it is.

MW: Do you feel better after that?

MONÉT: Oh, I felt way better. It was good for my mental health, and how he feels about it is his business. I had a thought, I was like, when this album fully comes out, should I just send each one a text and be like, “FYI, this is your song on this album. Just to let you know.” I really want to do that, and I think I am going to do that.

MW: I feel like you should normalize doing that. If Taylor Swift isn’t already doing that, she should be, right? So, okay, to my favorite moment in that song. On the line, “You lost a real one, what a waste / Stupid ass look on your face,” I laughed. And then I noticed that you are also laughing on the track, and I’m like, “Oh my God, we’re in sync.” So did you have a really great time recording this? Were there also down moments recording it?

MONÉT: Yeah, in recording a lot of this stuff, I had a good time. People don’t realize being a recording artist is its own art form — there’s so much involved. Being a studio artist is so different. You’re in there and you’re trying to find moments, and find pads and stacks that make sense, and really are trying to describe what your heart feels. And I sang that line, and that is a genuine laugh I laughed, and then when I was listening back, we heard it. I was like, “You know what, Cannon? Keep that in. I love that.” And so we kept the laugh in there, because it’s really authentic, and it’s how I felt: “You’re sitting there with a stupid ass look on your face, you look dumb as hell.” And that’s what I felt, and I laughed, and I love that you heard that. You think it’s funny, I love that.

MW: I love that I heard it as I was laughing. You mentioned the fact that not a lot of drag performers are making music in the R&B space. And that’s true. Just from my position, I see a lot of the music that is coming out, and it’s generally club music. From your point of view, is it difficult getting people to see past drag celebrity, and their expectation that it’s going to be another bitch track, more rapping over beats, to get them to really take the music seriously?

MONÉT: Yeah, one hundred percent. I feel like people hear a drag queen putting out music, they have this preconceived notion and thought of what it’s going to be, what it’s going to sound like. And I’m like, “Can y’all just give me a chance? Can you not anticipate what this is going to be, and let it be its own authentic thing?”

And again, this is no shade to girls who are making club music and dance music and drag music. There is no shade. And I’m like, just because I’m a drag queen singing it does not make this drag music. It’s just R&B, and I just feel like I’m on this uphill battle. Trixie and I talked about this on her podcast recently. In drag music, in general, you just feel like there’s this glass ceiling that we just have to get through, and it has to be shattered to get through, to be recognized and be realized as actual, real talent in all of our disciplines. You know what I mean? So yeah, I feel like this ceiling that is just trying to keep me down, and I don’t know what it’s going to take, but I’m going to try my damnedest and I’m working really hard, and I’m creating really good music. So my hope is that some of the powers that be recognize that, and help me shatter that ceiling so that I can be recognized and realized as just a fully functioning R&B singer.

MW: And what is that battle like, as it relates to getting on the radio and other mainstream platforms?

MONÉT: So, I produced this entire project indie, which is very expensive, and trust me I know. But for distribution, I teamed up with my management company, PEG Records, because they have a deal with Warner and ADA. We’re working on playlisting. Because honestly, I know the radio exists. I’m not dumb, but I don’t even know how songs even get on the radio, and I’m a kid of the ’90s. It’s not like I’m beyond it. But the music industry just feels so gatekept, and there are so many secrets in how things operate. I don’t even know how I would even go about it. Can I submit a request? Do I have to email someone? I don’t even know how that would happen. But the chance to hear my song on a freaking radio would be crazy!

If there is some gay out there with the in, to just, even if it’s just one time, let me know the date and time my song is going to play on Z100 or Power 105, or Hot 97, whatever it is, just let me know, so I can have that moment. Because I’ve always wanted in my life, those moments when you see celebrities before they blow up, like Britney or whoever it is, and the first time they were in a car with their friends — and back then, it was on a camcorder — the first time hearing their song on the radio. I want to have that moment so bad, that I would sell Bob for it. I would sell Bob the Drag Queen if I got to hear my song on the radio, at least one time.

MW: Bob might even go willingly, just for that.

MONÉT: You know what, he would. If he’s a good friend, he would.

MW: Just this week Abbott Elementary had a scene set at a drag brunch, featuring Shea Couleé and Symone. So drag is always present. But there is this compartment where people want to keep drag queens. In your opinion, what is the current state of drag in the mainstream?

MONÉT: RuPaul had famously once said a few years ago that drag would never be mainstream. I’m like, “RuPaul, your ninety-seven Emmys, they would beg to differ.” I see the more mainstreaming of drag and we’re seeing drag queens on lots of TV shows.

I just did — and it leaked early — but I just did a couple episodes of Ren and Stimpy as a main character on there. And I just recorded something else that’s really mainstream that’s coming out. I don’t know when it’s coming out, but I was a featured role in something. So I think drag is permeating the mainstream. I think that the next step is having drag queens nominated for Grammys and Oscars, and why not? We even had a drag entertainer, Crystal Demure [J. Harrison Ghee], win a Tony the last Tony Awards season.

I think that it is coming, and I don’t know, because if you look at the U.K., the U.K. has queens in everything. They’re on all the game shows, all the celebrity TV shows. I’m really making myself sound like a cornball, but I love watching game shows. I love The $100,000 Pyramid, I love all these shows. And to my agent, I was like, “Hey, I want to get on $100,000 Pyramid.” I literally watch every episode with Michael Strahan, and all these shows. He’s like, “Yeah, they just don’t, they’re really funny about drag talent.” I’m like, “So you mean to tell me that me with my measly 1.2 million followers can’t get on there, but squiggly bubble pants, some bitch that played character C, because she’s a straight white woman and she has 10,000 followers, she’s somehow more valid and a better guest because she’s not a drag queen?” I’m like, “Oh, okay, sure.”

I think when we start seeing drag queens have access to these spaces that other celebrities have, I think that will feel more mainstream-y. But it’s happening and it’s coming.

MW: I’ve also been listening to Fist of Glory. Great title, by the way. I didn’t know about Fist of Glory. What prompted you to make a comedy album?

MONÉT: Two and a half years ago, I got done with All Stars, I was doing a podcast and my agent came to me, he’s like, “Have you thought about stand-up?” I was like, “No. I don’t think I’m a stand-up comedian.” He is like, “Well, why not?” I was like, “Because I don’t write jokes.” He was like, “Let me ask you something.” Before I got on Drag Race, I was working in clubs in New York City. I had six shows a week over seven days. And drag shows in New York are really different, right? In New York, it’s like one or two queens entertaining a crowd for two hours, and that was what I did. All my shows were solo shows, except one duo show with Pixie Aventura on Wednesdays.

But it was literally me keeping a room of drunk homosexuals laughing and tipping for two and a half hours. So I was like, for all intents and purposes I was doing stand-up, you know what I mean? Because I would only do three numbers over the course of those two hours. So the rest of it is just bits. Then he was like, “What would you call that?” I was like, “I guess stand-up.”

So, I sat down and I wrote some jokes over a while, and I did one show at the Brea Improv, and then I did the recorded stand-up Fist of Glory set that everyone is hearing now, and that birthed my stand-up career. Since then, I’ve done lots of comedy clubs across the country. So I really, really, really enjoy the stand-up lane. But I will say Fist of Glory was literally the second time I had ever told those jokes. You ask any comedian, that is not the process. You do that show 50 times, you record the special at the end, but going in, I just did it. If I had to do it all again — because that show that you’re even listening to is so different now, it’s so much funnier. But I’m happy, it’s a little etch in time of my stand-up journey at the very, very, very beginning, and next year I’m going to be bringing back some more stand-up. This year I’m focusing on the music.

Monét X Change - Photo: Lindsey Ruth
Monét X Change – Photo: Lindsey Ruth

MW: Do you have a comedy mentor, or did you get feedback on Fist of Glory from any comics?

MONÉT: Yeah, I have lots. Matteo Lane is my very, very good friend, who is hilarious. We had dinner last night, and we were commiserating about a few things together. A friend like Atsuko [Okatsuka] is a very hilarious comedian. She enjoyed it, and Nicole Byer, and obviously Bob the Drag Queen. And Bianca Del Rio, a very good friend. So I have lots of really fierce comedians in my life, and Bianca was like, “Girl! You’re going to record that special after the second time you do it?” I was like, “Yeah, girl.” It’s like, “Okay, faggot.” “Okay.” But at the end, she’s like, “Oh wow, you did a really good job.” I’m like, “Thank you.” But yeah, I have lots of good comedian friends helping me out, that I can bounce jokes off of. “Bitch, you think this is funny?” And they help you punch it up, and it is great. It really is a great community I have, I’m grateful.

MW: You just threw me a segue to what was going to be my next question, about your set in Fist of Glory. You talk about wanting to reclaim the word “faggot,” which, I’m going to tell you, I’ve been called that word more than any other slur.

MONÉT: Really?

MW: Absolutely. In fact, the other slur, I’ve never heard to my face. Faggot, I’ve heard, since I was eight years old. Why do you want to reclaim the word faggot?

MONÉT: Because I think it’s a word that has been used to malign and make Queer people feel less than, and there’s just such a power in saying that word and seeing how uncomfortable straight people become. And I salivate at the chance of making straight people uncomfortable. So that’s really why I like saying it, especially because when you say it in mixed company, you know exactly where they are, and I’m like “Mm-hmm, now I know who my enemies are in the room.”

MW: Yeah, you can tell a lot by how people react to reclaimed words like that.

MONÉT: Reclaimed, yes, reclaimed.

MW: Will any of the Fist of Glory material make it into Life Be Lifin’, and when will we see Life be Lifin’?

MONÉT: So, Life Be Lifin’ is my one-woman show, my little brainchild that I wrote, and BenDeLaCreme directed it, and it is one of the things I am so proud of. Because, again, this multi-hyphenate thing that I’m discovering that I am over the past decade really showed itself. I did the Drag Race thing, I did the club thing, and I did some stand-up. And then last summer, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, they invited me to come to do a show.

My agent was like, “Well, you can just do stand-up.” I was like, “No, I don’t want to do stand-up.” I just saw Jerrod Carmichael’s — who is in hot water right now — special, Rothaniel. And what I liked about that special was, to me it was not stand-up, it was more like a one-man show. It’s him coming out, and basically telling stories, and I’ve always been a really good storyteller. So I sat down and I got a bunch of stories together, and we saw what the throughline was in them, and Life Be Lifin’ was born.

People leave that show and I get so many DMs and tags on Twitter about like, “Wow, I was not expecting to be bawling tonight, but the show was so well done, and you really got me there, girl,” and the singing in it. So I think it is one of my proudest things, and I will be touring it in January 2025. I’m doing 12 cities, we added Toronto and Vancouver. Yeah, I’m doing 12 cities of Life Be Lifin’, coming January 9, I think is the first show, and it goes to the end of January.

MW: I’ve seen BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx’s holiday show twice live. I can understand why you would want to work with Ben to direct, but how did that come together? Had you guys worked in any capacity like that before?

MONÉT: No, Ben and I had never worked together, actually, but Ben is so brilliant and so smart. I had seen her show, Fully Committed, which is her one-woman show, and it’s just so funny, and just the way that her mind works is so great. And so when I was going on this journey, I hit her up, before I started the writing process. I was like, “Hey, I want to write this one-woman show. I just wanted to have lunch and maybe pick your brain about what your process is. I’m really interested in how you go about it.” Then, we had lunch and we talked about it, and I took a few things away. Two days later she called me, she’s like, “Hey, by the way, what we talked about the other day at lunch. How would you feel about me coming on board and being a part of this process with you?” And I was like, “Yeah!”

I would go for a week or so and just write. Just write, write, write, pages and pages of all these stories, and then she’ll come back. She’d be like, “Oh, that’s an interesting story. Can I hear more about that?” And then I’d write 10 more pages about that. And she’s like, “Ooh, that’s really good. Can I hear?” And so, she really helped me facilitate just writing all this stuff, and then together we kind of found a throughline I was trying to tell, and she ended up directing the show. I’m so happy to have her as part of the process. She really, really helped me discover what my process was. Because she has the way that she does it, but she helped me figure out what my process was, and how I can go about writing these shows and it was amazing. Amazing.

MW: You recently appeared as a guest at the “Celebration Tour” in Tampa. Please tell us how much fun it was to surprise Bob in that performance.

MONÉT: Oh, my God, it was incredible. So I first worked with Madonna on — I was in her “God Control” video, which I famously left the Murray & Peter Queens of Comedy tour for. Was that 2019, or something like that?

MW: We talked about it in our last interview.

MONÉT: When it happened. Right. So, I basically opened the door for Bob to tour with Madonna. But that’s another story. So, they originally wanted me to come and do the Houston dates, but I couldn’t do Houston because I was coming back from London and it was just timing. It just wasn’t working out. So I was home and then my agent was like, “Hey, they actually want you to come and do Tampa now.” And I was like, “I will go on one condition. They can’t tell Bob. It has to be a surprise for Bob.” Because yes, performing with Madonna is amazing. Madonna the icon. But for me, it was more appealing that I would get to surprise Bob coming to Tampa. They were like, “Yeah, that’s no problem.”

So I get to Tampa and we’re staying at the same hotel with them. I’m at the front desk whispering my name, “It’s Monét X Change.” Bob might be there close by. And even Madonna was in on it. Apparently, she was in rehearsal, and she was telling everyone to not tell Bob who the special guest was. As I was getting ready, Bob literally FaceTimed me and he’s telling me about something. He was like, “What you doing tonight?” I was like, “Uh…” Then he’s like, “Why are you getting in drag?” I was like, “I have a show tonight in Salt Lake City.” And normally, for anyone who doesn’t listen to our podcast, Bob will always pry. He’ll be like, “Well, what’s the show? What’s the bar?” But for some reason, he didn’t ask that night, thank my lucky stars. So, it was a surprise to him, and hearing him do that scream, his little squeal made me so happy, because he was genuinely surprised. He had no idea.

MW: It made people who support you both really happy, too. Obviously, Madonna had drag queens in that guest spot for lots of the shows, which was great promo for her, but she was also making a statement. What are your thoughts on the point that she was making by giving queens that spot every night?

MONÉT: Well, I love it. Madonna has always been on the forefront of Queer issues. Back in the ’90s when the AIDS epidemic was ravaging our community, she made a song about our community, and she was dancing with us onstage, and having us be a part of some shows and people were like, “Oh my God, you’re going to touch them?” She’s like, “Yeah, I’m going to do more than touch them. I’m going to love them.”

So Madonna, that’s always been her thing. I think that’s why she resonates so true with the Queer community, because when everyone else was afraid of us and scandalized by us and disgusted by us, she embraced us.

She continues to do that now, which is why her career has spanned 40 years. Because I think that love permeates all the bullshit. So to have drag queens as a special guest on the shows along with other celebrities, right? It is not like we were in the “drag queen” part of the show. It was like, no, the celebrity guest portion heavily featured drag queens. Which is part of Madonna, again, being part of that mainstreaming of us, which is fabulous.

MW: Do you and Bob have any plans to take Sibling Rivalry Live on tour again?

MONÉT: I don’t think we’ll ever mount the show that we did in September ’22 again. That was featuring the House of Juicy Couture and all these costumes, all these dancers, all these changes. That show was a lot. I think that what we have been doing, like at the Balboa Theatre, we have a date on August 8 in San Diego, where we’re just doing a live taping of our podcast, and not necessarily a full performance show. I think that seems more doable. Girl, Bob is about to be 40. Crazy. I’m in my mid-30s, girl. The knees don’t work like they used to, honey. So I think that we are just going to stick to the live podcast episodes, and maybe in the future we’ll do one-off, these big performance shows like in New York, L.A., D.C., Seattle. You know what I mean? We’ll see.

MW: I want to see you live. I never saw Sibling Rivalry live.

MONÉT: It’s a good time.

MW: Actually, I have a Sibling Rivalry fan in the house. My husband listens to literally every episode. Every episode.

MONÉT: Oh! Well, tell your husband I say, “Hey, boo.” Respectfully.

MW: I will. You talked about Madonna having that love between her and her fans for so many years. I wanted to ask you about longevity. Have you considered what longevity like that is going to look like for you? Do you consider what it looks like for any drag queen who isn’t RuPaul or Lady Bunny?

MONÉT: [Deadpan.] Oh, well, Lady Bunny will be dead soon. If she lasts to the end of this year, girl, it’s going to be a miracle. But I think that something that carries your career is authenticity. And I think that that is what Madonna possesses, and I think that’s what RuPaul gives. You look at all these people who have had these massive, long careers, and it is the authenticity that carries you through, because you can only fake it for so long. No one can fake it forever.

So I think when your fans recognize who you are, and you show them who you are, honestly and earnestly all the time, that is what carries you through. And again, that does not mean that you’re always saying or doing the right thing. That means that you do mess up and you do make mistakes, and you do all these things, but when you own up to it, and you let your fans see you through all that, I think that is what carries you.

And that’s what I’ve always been. Throughout my career, the misses, the slam dunks, whatever they are, the missteps, the misspeaking. I’m just myself through it. And when I need to apologize, I do. And when I don’t, I don’t. And I think that that is what staying power is, being authentically yourself, through and through to your fans, letting them see that you are that girl always.

MW: Is there anything you’d like to apologize for right now?

MONÉT: Not today, but you know what? Tomorrow’s a new day.[Laughs.]

MW: Very last question then. What are you up to for Pride season? Where are you gonna be? Where do you wanna be?

MONÉT: Oh, Pride season… Girl, I’m already tired just thinking about it. My first official Pride gig is WeHo Pride. I’m doing a 20-minute set of my music, all live singing with dancers and visuals. This is my Renaissance, on May 31 in WeHo. And then on June 2, I’m in Buffalo for Buffalo Pride. I’m DJing Buffalo Pride. And then June 6, I’m in Capital City. And then June 7, I’m in Cincinnati for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Pride concert. That’s just the first three days. I’m already winded.

And then where am I at? June 12, I’m at Lincoln Center doing a show with Sapphira Cristal. We’ve been writing the show, and it’s a beautiful classical music show at Lincoln Center, which is crazy that two queens are headlining that. And then I’m doing the Bold Love Festival in Jacksonville on the 15, and something on the 17. Those are the big things right now. But Pride always gets crazy and I’m very grateful that I get to work and do my music this Pride, which is very exciting for me.

MW: Two opera queens in Lincoln Center — are you performing any opera?

MONÉT: Yes, we’re doing lots and lots of opera. At the end, though, I get to do my song “Body” with a full orchestra, which is going to be crazy!

Grey Rainbow, Volume 1 is available wherever you buy or stream music. For more information on Monét X Change, visit

Follow Monét X Change on X at @monetxchange.

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