Blade staff spoke with several performers slated to appear on the Capital Pride festival stage Sunday. Here are some of the highlights.
Headliner Deborah Cox remembers performing at Capital Pride once before. The heat is what stands out in her mind. When she’s not traveling — she guesses she’s on the road about 70 percent of the time — she enjoys spending time with her husband and three children (ages 8, 5 and 3). As one might imagine, she loves classic R&B and says she owns every album Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin ever released. She’s exploring more jazz — Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald — these days.
She plans a 30-minute set at Capital Pride.
“I always research what songs did well in certain markets so it will be a custom show,” she says. “And it will be fierce.”
Crystal Waters’ newest single, “Le Bump,” with Yolanda Be Cool, was released in 2011.
Overall, Waters has 16 No. 1 and top 10 singles in more than 15 countries. She had two other songs make the Billboard Hot 100, “What I Need” and “Say … If You Feel Alright.” She had several other songs hit the U.S. Dance charts, including five number ones.
Waters was nominated for three American Music Awards in 1991, an MTV Video Music Award and four Billboard Music Awards in 1994, winning Top-Selling Hot Dance Music Club Play Single for “100% Pure Love.”
The D.C. Cowboys are prepared for an emotional final Capital Pride appearance.
Founder Kevin Platte — one of this year’s Pride heroes — isn’t sure where or when the final performance will be, he says this is “absolutely” their last time at Capital Pride.
“I just want folks to remember us as a group that left smiles on the faces of people who watched us,” Platte says. “We’ve always had such a good time doing it, we just want to make sure we’ve passed that on to our fans and the people in the audience as well.”
Alma Tropicalia is also slated to perform.
“The LGBT Community has seen some great victories this year and D.C. Pride is a great way for us to celebrate that,” says gay member Bill Dempsey. “Alma Tropicália is all about recognizing diverse backgrounds, so playing at Pride makes a lot of sense for us artistically.”
The band released its first recording in April — a self-titled EP available for digital download. Expect big percussion and a mix of styles at the band’s Pride performance.
“Life is a journey,” says hunky gay singer Aiden Leslie, another Pride singer. “And I am expressing this journey through my music.”
Leslie has never performed in D.C. and is looking forward to rocking it out and kicking off an exciting summer. He will be starting off his time in Washington with a special performance with Pepper MaShay at Secrets. He is also planning on debuting a new single on the Capital Pride stage along with three other songs.
Ani Hesse, 13, has been attending pride events with her two moms, Dana and Dale, for as long as she can remember, but this year’s Capital Pride marks the first time that she will be part of the entertainment.
“I’m so excited,” says Ani. “I love performing for big audiences. I can’t wait.”
Crys Matthews performed at Capital Pride last year, but this year’s performance will have a special significance: her fiancée will be in the audience. Matthews and her partner recently became engaged and plan to marry in 2013.
She thanks the organizers of Capital Pride for the chance to perform for D.C.’s LGBT community again and for the incredible work they do in “bringing our diverse community together.”
Simulover is two out performers: famous DJ and producer Alex Lauterstein and singer and producer SIRPAUL. Lauterstein and SIRPAUL think of themselves as “partners in crime.” They met 12 years ago when Lauterstein was the first DJ to play SIRPAUL’s song. They always knew they wanted to work together and when they finally got their schedules synced Simulover was born.
“It is time to go beyond labels,” SIRPAUL says. “It’s not gay marriage, it is marriage, and it isn’t ‘cute that you are married’; It’s what two people who love each other do.” SIRPAUL recently married his husband Paul and feels strongly about eliminating the labels that hold our community back.
Both Lauterstein and SIRPAUL have been involved in the gay community and culture for years and the community and culture influences their music. They believe they have something to offer everyone and hope to see a large D.C. crowd at their Pride performance.
Xavier Toscano loves Pride festivals because they give the community a chance to get together and celebrate our lives and our accomplishments. It is not all about the glitz and glamour but instead about living our lives and being happy with ourselves.
Toscano, who was afraid of performing early on has now overcome many of those fears, although right before he gets on stage he is going through his performance in his head, and “hoping he doesn’t forget his lyrics,” which he shyly admitted to doing early on in his career. He promised to not forget his lyrics for Capital Pride and put on an amazing show.
At last year’s Capital Pride, Consuelo Costin performed in front of about 400,000 people. “I had a great time. With the pulse, the drive, the energy, being around such diversity all celebrating one cause, was a memorial experience.” Costin says.
She’s straight but staunchly supports the gay community because she feels strongly about equality and people being who they are. Costin will be back for this year’s D.C. pride, bringing another awesome show. She’ll also perform at Los Angeles Pride.