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T1 with Tati: Interview with Tatianna from RuPaul's Drag Race

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We recently sat down to talk with Drag Race alumna Tatianna about her new album T1, her web series, and all things RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Tatianna rose to fame on the second season of Drag Race only to return for All Stars 2 to show viewers the full force of her talents, becoming a fan favourite renowned for her no BS attitude, wry humour and killer looks.

With her hit spoken-word single ‘Same Parts’ she put herself on the map as a rising music talent, and her new album which is out now solidifies this title, with tracks ranging from catchy dance numbers to smooth ballads you’ll have playing on repeat. 

Could you talk about what inspired you to put out a new album?

Well I had worked with Madscience who produced ‘Same Parts’ right after All Stars, and that ended up being a success, so we kept playing around and recording tracks and it just made sense to make a full album. I have been recording for the past year, since May – I was on the road, writing and then coming home and recording before returning to touring. The songs are inspired by men, relationships, parting, the life of a drag queen, but I wanted it to not be drag music per se, but something a broad audience could connect with.

 I know it’s like trying to pick a favourite child, but do you have a favourite track on the album or a few that really resonates with you?

I’ve always been really drawn to ‘Cya’ because it has a cool mix of references, with a tinge of 90s beat which I really appreciate. I love ‘Try’ which I got to work on with my hometown girl Salvadora Dali. It was such a fun, organic collaboration. I like ‘Shut it down’ because of its history. On All Stars 2 we had a challenge to write rap lyrics for ‘Read You Wrote You’ and they had told us a few days before to start writing lyrics. I left before that challenge so I took the verses I didn’t get to use on for that track and put them into ‘Shut it down’.

Is there anything, in particular, you want fans to take away from the album?

Just enjoy it! The overarching theme is empowerment, you don’t need anyone else to do what you want to do. I didn’t realise that was the message I was putting across, I was just writing from me, but listening to the final line up I realised: oh, I’m an independent bitch, werk!

You have your new show on Wow Presents Plus, T with Tati, can you explain how the idea for the show came about?

World of Wonder approached me about doing a few episodes and while we were tossing around ideas they suggested I do spoken word pieces. I wasn’t so sure about that because ‘Same Parts’ wasn’t originally intended to be spoken word, I wrote it at 16 as a rap but that’s how it turned out. I’m really into talking about stuff, so I said, let’s just talk some shit. It was very organic, if you give me too much direction it doesn’t feel authentic, the episodes are me chit chatting basically and I’m really happy people are enjoying it!

On the note of T and talking shit, for people who are unfamiliar with drag lingo, can you describe the difference between shade and T?

Well T stands for the truth. Sipping T is like a play on words, we love a good pun. Shade is talking smack but with the most style and humour, you can have. Shade isn’t fun if it’s just mean. There’s an art to being shady, there’s no art to being a dick.

 

What are your favourite phrases that come from drag culture, or Drag Race catchphrases that you really enjoy?

I don’t know why but one of my favourite phrases from Drag Race is when RuPaul says, “she already done had herses”. I also like how a catchphrase or a moment that was not purposeful ends up being popular. Like ‘choices’ - I did not plan to make that a thing but I said it once or twice and people found it hilarious. Same thing with ‘thank you’ -  I’m just a polite bitch. I think ‘Miss Vanjie’ is magical - gays now walk out of a room backwards and it’s the best thing in the world.  

Are there any phrases you’re tired of hearing or have been overused?

I always find it funny when people who don’t know the reference to what they’re saying join in because everyone else is. Like random heterosexual people who don’t watch the show but because they have gay friends they say, “yas hunty” – girl, enough out of you.

What do you think about Drag Race fans adopting phrases from the show and drag culture?

I think it’s great that people enjoy it and want to work it into their everyday lives, but I always appreciate when they know where it's coming from. But I’m all about drag becoming mainstream and so normalised that everyone’s doing it.

What are some of your favourite viral moments from the last few seasons of Drag Race?

Vanjie’s a great example. I also loved the meme of Milk saying, “Is she really going to jump from there?” when Aja was about to do that death drop in All Stars 3. Moments with Alyssa always tend to tickle me, like when she doesn’t have makeup on but she has that big ass wig and guns for the Annie Oakley character – I live for that gif!

Is there anything else we haven’t touched on that you’d like to discuss?

Yes, in the next few weeks I’m dropping a fragrance called ‘Choices’.  It’s very fresh and unisex for men and women. I’m releasing it with Xyrena, who also made Willam, Trixie Mattel and Pearl’s fragrances. And I’m looking forward to Drag World, it’s my first time and London is one of my favourite places so I’m excited to be there for four days. 

You can follow Tatianna on Twitter and Instagram and head to dragworld.co.uk to buy her Meet and Greet tickets for the UK’s biggest drag convention, taking place at London’s Olympia on the 18th-19th of August.

 

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