If you're going to be in New York City this weekend (and you haven't melted from the heat wave), we're hoping you've already started resting up for all of the Pride insanity that's headed your way.
Along with annual favorites like the Dyke March, the Trans March and the NYC Pride Parade, Matinée North America will be taking over Manhattan's Governor's Beach Club on Saturday night to throw a massive Pride party.
The event will feature a four-story tented dance floor with state-of-the-art lights, sound and lasers, an open-air beach with water slides and music by DJ Taito Tikaro and Hector Fonseca. And we're happy to announce that pop star Natasha Bedingfiled -- best known for hits like "Unwritten" and "Pocketful of Sunshine" -- will also be performing.
To celebrate the occasion and Bedingfield's participation, we got the singer on the phone for a quick chat about Pride, her gay fans, her favorite gay icon and more.
What is your very first memory of playing a show for an LGBT audience?
My first proper show was at G-A-Y, this amazing club in London. I just have to say that the gay and lesbian audience is my favorite audience to perform in front of. It feels like everyone in the room really knows what I'm talking about. A lot of times -- I think because I'm a pop artist -- people know the songs because they're catchy but they don't really know what they're about. When I'm doing the show with a bunch of wonderful gay men or women I feel a connection. I talk a lot about going through hard stuff and believing in yourself and finding your voice and not letting people get you down and I think they can relate.
What about off the stage? How often do you encounter the LGBT community?
I live in Hollywood and I'm in New York City a lot. More than half of the people I work with are gay. Some of my best friends are gay.
Do you approach shows that have predominantly LGBT audiences differently than shows with "straighter" audiences?
There's more freedom to be extravagant and to be a diva at gay shows. There's a lot of diva appreciation going on [laughs]. You can be bolder. It feels like you can do anything.
In recent years a slew of female pop stars have come out as bisexual or bicurious. What are your thoughts about that? Do you think some of it might just be performers trying to be trendy?
That is such an interesting question because it is is hard to know. Everyone knows a lot of straight men like girls to be into girls, so it can feel like people might be faking it. But I think people have been more able to be honest about who they are in recent years. I think the hardest thing in life is living a double life. That's a lot of stress on someone! Having to make up stories… not letting people know who you really are. But people are finally starting to be able to be who they really are.
We recently ran a piece about the greatest gay anthems. What's your favorite? And which song of yours do you think is most anthemic?
I just sang Donna Summer's "Last Dance" at the Billboard Awards. I'm not sure if of all her songs that's her biggest gay anthem, but I do think she was definitely an icon. My song "Single" was a big song [with the gay community] mainly because it addressed the issue that our society can treat people like they're not worth as much when they're not in a conventional relationship and it talks about loving yourself and loving who you are. And I think that's why I have a large gay and lesbian audience -- because of talking about these things.
What about your favorite gay icon?
The gay icon I adore the most is Kylie [Minogue]. She's just done it right in everything. She's so sexy but also so lovable and her fashion sense is just unparalleled.
With Pride season comes... drag queens. Are you a fan of drag? Have you ever seen a Natasha Bedingfield drag queen?
Drag queens doing your songs is the biggest form of flattery possible! A lot of my friends love to go and see drag. You can learn a lot of make up tips from people who do drag. One of my friends is a make up artist and so much work goes into softening more masculine features. And I recently saw someone online who redid my "Strip Me" video frame by frame. Every single look from that video -- he did it. Every angle! Every angle my arms were in. There's a moment when I'm putting mud all over my body and he did that, too.
What else are you looking forward to on Saturday besides performing?
Hector [Fonseca]! He's my favorite DJ. I've had the wildest nights when he's DJing. Something happens and I lose all sense of self consciousness. I met him at the Life Ball and we hit it off right away. I changed out of my stage outfit and into his t-shirt that he gave me and I just rolled it up with a little knot and went out and had the time of my life. I'm feeling like this weekend is going to be a repeat of that experience.
MATINÉE NEW YORK PRIDE takes place Saturday, June 23rd from 4pm – midnight at Governor’s Beach Club. Tickets start at $49. For more information, visit www.matineenyc.com.