5 Times RuPaul Slayed the Music Industry
RuPaul Charles has been an icon in the entertainment industry for decades. Now, after nine seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, two Emmys and a laundry list of other accomplishments, the drag icon is finally receiving his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Among his many projects, RuPaul has been a recording artist since the early 1990s. The icon has performed with legendary musicians, seen his songs climb their way up the Billboard charts and has recorded a grand total of 11 studio albums.
But even still, some young people still only know Ru as the host of Drag Race. So in honor of the drag star finally getting a Hollywood star on Friday, here is Billboard Pride’s list of five of RuPaul’s best musical moments.
“Love Shack” music video
When watching The B-52’s' campy video for their iconic hit “Love Shack,” viewers will notice a young RuPaul dancing through the background and tearing it up in front of the camera. Ru’s star was still on the rise at that time, and many pinpoint this moment as the beginning of the drag diva’s ascension to superstardom.
Smash hit “Supermodel”
In 1993, RuPaul’s time finally arrived with his hit single “Supermodel.” The queen watched as he became an overnight sensation; the song reached No. 2 on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart and No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100, and RuPaul started touring the world performing his music. This song is the very definition of a breakthrough moment.
Duet with Sir Elton John on “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
The same year that RuPaul saw “Supermodel” catapult him to fame, he also got the opportunity to perform a duet remix of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with the Rocket Man himself, Elton John. John had previously recorded the track with Kiki Dee but decided to have Ru join him for a version of the song for his album Duets. The song reached No. 7 on the UK Singles Chart, giving RuPaul yet another big win in 1993.
Performance of "I Will Survive" with Diana Ross
RuPaul has always said that his greatest idol of all time is the legendary singer Diana Ross. So imagine Ru’s absolute delight when, in 1995, he got to appear in the music video for Ross’ cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” The video shows the two stars strutting around a stage in the middle of West Hollywood, belting out the lyrics to the classic disco hit. Truly, this was a personal highlight in RuPaul’s life.
Appearance with Lady Gaga on her Christmas special
Before her appearance on the premiere of Drag Race season 9, Gaga worked with RuPaul on 2013's Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular. Singing her song “Fashion,” Gaga brought RuPaul out onto the stage, and Ru worked the runway along with rocking the mic for his very own verse in Gaga’s number. In a time when we were used to seeing RuPaul on the set of his own show, it was nice to see him bust out a great performance with another icon in the industry.