Kristine W opens up about her struggles, her record- breaking chart achievement and her upcoming Dallas gig
STEVEN LINDSEY | Contributing Writer
Who among us hasn’t had at least one vivid dream where we’re in the company of Madonna, Beyonce and Mariah Carey?
For recording artist and gay icon Kristine W, it’s her current reality. Not only did she recently pass Carey for the most consecutive No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club chart (with her single “The Power of Music”), she was also named one of the top three Billboard dance artists of the 2000s — alongside Beyonce and Madge.
“I was so honored — and a little in awe that I was in their company,” she says of the announcement. “That is quite the trio there of hard working women.”
Of course, a collaboration between Kristine W and any of her diva colleagues seems like a no-brainer.
“That would be amazing, but I think I’m the only independent label owner in the group at the moment, so that may be hard to negotiate. I would love to sing with either of them. You never know,” she laughs.
Her latest album, New & Number Ones, is a chronicle of most of the chart-toppers so far in her career, with a twist.
“I took four of my first No. 1 dance hits and hired brand new producers from scratch. We re-recorded everything top to bottom — it was a big job. I then wrote and co-wrote nine new songs, including a remake of ‘Through The Fire,’ changing [it] from a ballad to a dance song.
That raised a few eyebrows!” she laughs.
The first single, “Everything That I Got” has been in heavy rotation on Pride Radio locally and it’s got an addictive beat and catchy melody.
“‘Everything That I Got’ was an amazing experience,” she says. “Lee Dagger, one half of Bimbo Jones, flew in to Las Vegas from London to write songs for the album and one of them was ‘ETIG.’ Lee stayed at my rehearsal studio, which looks like a little farm- house on a couple of acres. I have my horses there, a rescue goat, three sheep and lots of cats that people just dump off, so we feed them.”
The experience was like something from a children’s story.
“He’s like Doctor Doolittle, carrying on full-length conversations with them all lined up staring at him like they totally knew what he was saying! Everybody loves Lee, including my animals. That’s how the album got started. Pretty nuts.”
With many hits and dozens of other songs in her discography, Kristine W’s favorite song tends to change depending on her current situation.
“Presently, ‘Land Of The Living’ is my favorite because I really know what it means to be glad to be alive and in the land of the living. After I battled leukemia from 2001 for a couple of years, I lived the words I had previously written. It was surreal and took on more relevance,” she remembers.
Another source of strength in her life and career has been a deep admiration for Donna Summer, though the closest she ever came to meeting her was waving at her through a window of a recording studio.
“Donna Summer’s voice spoke to me when I was very young and searching to find a musical role model. She definitely changed my life.
Something in the power, emotion and perfectly rich tone of her singing made me want to project like that. I grew up singing in the church choir like Miss Summer and my hometown, Pasco, is very diversified culturally. I was encouraged to embrace my soulful side and sang!” she emphasizes with a laugh. “Donna showed us all what a great live performer should b,e as well as being an excellent songwriter. She is and will remain a musical hero to many.”
As for her legion of gay followers, she’s forever devoted.
“I love my gay fan base, because they embrace life and tell you the truth even if it hurts, live out loud, love the arts, are survivors and super creative. What’s not to love and admire?” she laughs.
In addition to her support of gay rights and marriage equality, she’s also deeply involved in animal rights, protecting the planet, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Music in Our Schools, many of which are featured on her blog.
For this weekend’s show at Station 4 in Dallas (which she calls a “great city with amazing people”), she promises one thing to fans.
“I am going to fit as many of my hits into a 30-minute show as possible,” she says. “See you all there!”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 8, 2013.