Making Music with Cazwell
In just a few short years, Cazwell has become one of the most sought-after DJs/rappers/songwriters/video artists of our time, and is one of very few who are openly gay. The New York-based king of "homo-hop" (gay hip-hop) will be taking the Main Stage at Orange County Pride on Saturday, August 11.
Born Luke Caswell in 1979, Cazwell discovered his dual interests in music and boys at a relatively early age. His music today focuses on gay and bisexual urban themes, with some of his songs sporting blunt titles like "The Sex That I Need" (with Avenue D), "All Over Your Face" and "Watch My Mouth." The video for "All Over Your Face" was infamously banned by Logo due to its explicit lyrics and sexual imagery. He can also be sly and funny on such tracks as "I Seen Beyonce at Burger King," "Get My Money Back," "Ice Cream Truck" and his latest, "Rice and Beans" (hint: it isn't about food). Cazwell has served as an opening act for Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Tour as well as collaborating with Boy George, trans model/performance artist Amanda Lepore, David Lachapelle, former gay porn star Colton Ford and Ladyfag.
Cazwell has described his style as, "if Biggie Smalls ate (the late) Donna Summer for breakfast." As he writes on his website: "More than anything I want to inspire people to have a good time; When I go to a club, I want to party and I want to make music that makes other people want to party." The party boy recently took time out from his increasingly busy schedule to chat with The Rage Monthly about his upcoming O.C. Pride appearance and other stuff.
You look great in your new "Rice and Beans" video (which can be viewed along with other hot videos at cazwell.com). What's your workout regimen?
Thank you! Well I'm not one of those people who go to the gym every day, I go really up and down. When I have to do a video, that's when I start working out to get in shape. I also stop eating meat and cheese and drink a lot of water, and I eat a lot of vegetables. Is that too much information? (Laughs)
Are you looking forward to your appearance at Orange County Pride?
Yes. I was there in Santa Ana a couple of months ago (during Long Beach Pride). I had a bigger reception there than I expected, so I'm looking forward to getting back.
The O.C. has a conservative reputation. Do you intend to shake things up while you're here?
Does it really have that reputation? Well, I will be taking more of my clothes off. I'll be changing outfits several times, which I usually do on stage. And I'll have hot Latino and white boys. It's going to be an unforgettable show.
Any plans to take your "Rice and Beans" or "Ice Cream Truck" boys to Disneyland?
That would be great! Oh my God, that would be sick! You have Gay Days there, right? Tell the organizers to raise enough money to fly me and the boys there-we'd love it!
What are your thoughts about (R&B singer) Frank Ocean's new album and admission that he fell in love with another man?
I think that Frank Ocean is an amazing artist, an obvious talent and a profound songwriter. Having him come out of the closet gave me a huge sense of pride. My hope is that more people in the entertainment industry will put being true to themselves before playing the role of the heterosexual superstar.
What are you currently working on?
Thanks for asking. I like to release a new video every 4-6 months. I'm working on two videos right now: "Tricky" and "Guess What?" I'm doing "Guess What?" with Luciana.
How long have you been at it now re: your music and performing?
A million years (laughs), about 12 years, maybe. Before that I was in a rap group called Foreplay. In terms of performing, I most enjoy that it's the one time I'm in the moment. That and now, to go to a club where people pay for tickets to come see me is a great feeling!
What do you most enjoy about your life today?
God, I would love to say my life isn't stressful but that's a lie. I love that I'm making a living and not waiting tables. I have an apartment in New York City, the lights are on, my cell phone's working. I'm making a living and doing well. Now I just need to wallpaper my apartment.
What's your relationship status?
I'm in a relationship with someone in New York. We're going steady. Don't worry, when I'm single I'll tell the world (laughs). I'll tweet it and send out a press release!
Anything else you'd like readers to know?
I want people to know they should buy my music and not download it for free, especially if they like it. That's how I make a living. Now, make me sound smart (laughs).
(Laughing) I don't know about that but I'll make you sound pretty.
Okay, pretty and smart!