For drag star Jinkx Monsoon, things could be worse right now. Yes, the world is in disarray and they’re stuck in self-isolation, but at least they have people to share the experience with.
“I live with members of my chosen family, so while quarantined, I haven’t been alone,” they tell Billboard. “It’s helped keep me grounded and optimistic, even as I watch all my gigs get postponed and my life change in an instant.”
Now, the performer wants to make sure their fans are staying optimistic, too, with a brand new playlist curated for Billboard Pride. On the eclectic new mix, Monsoon went about picking some of their “most played music” to create a playlist they describe as “poignant at this time, but not too melodramatic.”
Monsoon says that they’ve definitely felt the impact of social distancing, especially after having to cancel their annual U.K. tour dates (especially considering they now have to do “digital dates” with their English boyfriend). But what’s kept the artist going, in their own words, is the fierce love they’ve felt from their fans. “I’ve also really been inspired by the loyalty and support of my audiences, who have enjoyed my live streams and little supplemental performances to pass the time in isolation,” they say.
One way fans can support Monsoon is through their new show “Gold Plated Goddess,” which is part of PEG’s brand-new Digital Drag Fest, a weeklong series of 30-minute live-streamed shows from some of your favorite queens. Monsoon already performed four shows in the festival, with two more coming April 3 and 5, and says that it was a strange but exciting experience.
“It was very odd doing a stand-up comedy show, alone in a room in front of a computer — but it was an interesting challenge,” they say. “It felt pretty amazing to share my stories with audiences all over the world, watching it all at once together.”
But until then, get into Jinkx’s brand new playlist below, and read more about how they chose each of the songs.
Eliza Rickman, “Waiting Around Again”
Eliza Rickman is an amazing singer songwriter whose music is always uplifting to me, as well as sentimental. I adore musicians who use uncommon instruments to make eclectic sounds. I chose this song, out of the many that I love, because I feel it speaks to the feeling … waiting around, I guess? That’s a bit on the nose.
Miracle Musical, “Dream Sweet in Sea Major”
I found this song entirely on accident, but it is epic. It takes you on a journey through many different variations on a theme. I don’t know how much it pertains to our current situation, but it sure is a nice song to do your chores to.
Ghost Quartet, “Starchild”
This group is very experimental, and each song I’ve heard by them is completely unique from the last. I chose this song because it’s about transformation — becoming the star child you were meant to be. I think the silver lining of being quarantined is having ample opportunity for self-reflection and introspection. Lots of people are taking this time to make wanted change in their life and daily routines.
Olivia Olson, “Everything Stays”
Anyone who knows me knows I love cartoons an inordinate amount. This song [from Adventure Time] is by Rebecca Sugar, and sung by the amazing vocalist Olivia Olson. It’s a bittersweet lullaby about accepting change with the reassurance that the important things will be waiting for you when you need them.
Irma Thomas, “Anyone Who Knows what Love Is (Will Understand)”
Not only has this song appeared throughout the Black Mirror series, making it poignant in this dystopian time, it’s also just a gorgeous and haunting song, beautifully performed by Irma Thomas.
Chopin, “Nocturne No. 2 in E Flat, Op.9 No. 2”
So this is a beautiful song that was used in both my favorite seasons of American Horror Story (Coven and Apocalypse) during the Trial of the Seven Wonders. I am obsessed with witches, and anything that reminds me of them. As someone who practices witchcraft myself, I really like putting this song on while I’m working on spells, making oils, or doing rituals.
Ella Fitzgerald, RAC Mix, “Too Darn Hot”
I love when music from the golden era of jazz and swing is revamped in a modern way. This song is perfect for self-motivation. It’s impossible not to get up and dance to this mix.
Lady Rizo, “I Google You”
I think this song is all too poignant as we turn to our computers for human connection. It’s a beautiful song, written by the author Neil Gaiman and impeccably performed by the amazing singer and cabaret goddess Lady Rizo.
She & Him, “Black Hole”
I always put in She & Him when I need cheering up. This song is kinda sad lyric wise, but very cheerful sounding. It’s about being alone, but still needing the love of someone special.
Aimee Mann, Deedee Magno Hall, Ted Leo, Steven Universe, “Independent Together”
Yes! Another Rebecca Sugar song! Can you tell how much I love the music Rebecca writes?! This song speaks to me in the idea of feeling complete with yourself doesn’t mean you can’t still share a significant bond with someone else. The lyrics seem all too fitting right now.
Alli Mauzey, “Screw Loose”
I’ll admit, I haven’t listened to the rest of this [Cry-Baby] soundtrack, just this song. I had to include one silly song about going crazy over unrequited love. This song is a tongue-in-cheek look at the inner thoughts of an obsessed admirer.
Spring Awakening, “Song of Purple Summer”
I always play this song when I’m dealing with a transition, either in mind or environment. It’s about the passage of time and how many things in life need time to develop and transition from one state to the next, but eventually, the summer comes again and time moves on.