Courtney Act has come a long way since making her debut on Australian Idol in the early 2000's. Her first single, Rub Me Wrong, hit #29 on the ARIA Singles Chart. In 2014, Courtney made her American debut on the LogoTV hit, RuPaul's Drag Race, where she placed in the finals alongside Bianca Del Rio and Adore Delano. Now, Courtney is back with a (fabulous) new EP, currently burning its way up the iTunes charts.
ishTalk got the chance to talk to Courtney about the concept of gender, feminism, growing up in Australia and the writing process behind the new album. Read a few snippets from the interview below and listen to the full interview on this week's ishTalk podcast.
"I feel like we're in this frontier now where... I feel like maybe we played around with gender bending in the eighties with people like Boy George and Pete Burns, but I think this is the first time that I know of, where we have serious transgender role models. I mean, when I listen to Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner or Janet Mock speak... hearing their words and being inspired by them has nothing to do with the fact that they're transgender. It's that they connect on a human level and then transcend the fact that they're trans."
I've been really impressed by society and the media's maturity and reaction to all of this because, I've got to be honest... I just don't think I've ever given the media or society enough credit. And they've really stepped up with this whole gender thing. Like the way people are really getting it."
On the new album:
"I have literally been able to create the music, the music videos, the live performances of the inside of my mind. Like, I've turned them into a real-life tangible thing. That has been so amazing. It doesn't matter what happens to it now, it's not about it's commercial success... it's about the fact that I actualized my vision.
There have been so many times, like the music I released back in 2003 after Australian Idol... it wasn't my vision and it wasn't what I wanted. My song "Rub Me Wrong" was kind of like this child that I kept hidden under the stairs for years because I didn't like it. It wasn't that I was ashamed of it, it just wasn't me, it wasn't who I was and it wasn't my expression.
One thing I feel really confident about with all of this stuff is that I'm infinitely proud of it. I love performing it, I love singing it, I love people hearing it and if people don't like it, I'm actually not offended by it because it's something that's such an expression of who I am."
On Drag Race:
"If people didn't like me or did like me on Drag Race, I found it really frustrating because I didn't feel that that was in any way representative of who I was... or only part of it was representative of who I was... and there was this other part that didn't really didn't feel at all true to who I was. So now to release this new music... it's a true expression of who I am."