My Chat with Cazwell is a Hot Potato; Interview

by Accidental Bear

My interview with Cazwell is like a hot potato- I cannot hold it any longer. This shit is too good. We touched base on his upcoming album, collaboration with Peaches, Amanda Lepore and his dad’s love of air instruments. You will be proud of me , I held back from any skin flute jokes. The interview was via the telephone. As we exchanged words, I could hear, in the background, New York City breathing; car alarms and the hustle and bustle of the side walks. Our conversation had a relaxed vibe of 2 friends on a walk through the city, gossiping and talking about life, the good , the bad and the ugly. I did my usual, talked Cazwell’s ear off until his phone battery went dead. Here is how things went down.


Cazwell: Hello

Accidental Bear: Hey is this Cazwell? Thank you  for taking the time to answer some questions.

Cazwell: It’s all good

A B: I’m  kind of distracted right now because I have a shirtless, construction crew outside my window working on the house next door.

Cazwell: Try to focus, ok. Ha ha

A B: I’ll do my best. Let’s get the show on the road. Feel free to take a pass on any of the questions.

A B: I saw that you tweeted last night that you were not invited to the GLAAD awards? I couldn’t tell if you were actually upset or being sarcastic.

Cazwell: (laughing) Ummm, I was just playing on the fact that, do I have to tell them that I’m gay to be invited? But, I don’t think I am necessarily entitled to be invited.

A B: I saw a bazillion tweets when Dolly Parton was on stage. You two would have done a wicked duet.

Cazwell: ha ha, I have done Islands in the Streams at karaoke before.

A B: I see that, in response to the overwhelming popularity of your debut full-length “Watch My Mouth,” you are  gearing up to unleash a deluxe re-issue, hitting stores in May 2011.

Cazwell: Yeah, right now I have nothing else to do.

(He apologizes for police sirens zooming by that cancel out our voices and states he is walking down the street.)

Cazwell: Where are you?

A B: San Francisco

Cazwell: ha ha, I assumed.

A B: Was it my gay west coast lisp that gave it away?

A B: I was at a club the other night, and almost got trampled on by people trying to get to the dance floor when “Get My Money Back” was played.

Cazwell: Oh, shut up. That’s great!

A B: When I see images of you or your videos, they scream NYC. How long have you been in NYC?

Cazwell: For about 10 yrs now. (Proudly confesses)  I am a New Yorker now!

A B: I love your relationship with Amanda Lepore, and am quite  fascinated by it. If you and Amanda were in charge of NYC, and had it in a choke hold, what would you change about it?

Cazwell and Amanda Lepore

Cazwell: I think ultimately something Amanda and I connected with, is our passion for the night life. We would make the nightlife a place you could feel free. For instance, not getting attacked by a security guard if you light up a cigarette or a joint. I’m not that really into cigarettes, but if you are in a club and light up a smoke or a joint, I don’t want you to be hassled. I would want to make the night club hassle-free again, a safe environment for people who want to party hard (I sense a smirk on his face). [Amanda] would probably make it a little easier for a tranny in 5 inch heels to get a taxi. (Laughs)

A B: I swear to god, she is so hot and makes me want to go straight, but I’m a big homo and she’s a tranny, I’m confused.

Cazwell: Yeah, yeah she’s beautiful.

A B: What types of jobs were you doing before your music career? Were you pushing a mop at Burger King?

Cazwell: Directly before my music career I was still involved in bars and bartending. I was also a dog walker  and other shitty jobs when I first moved to NYC. I never mopped the floors at Burger King, but did at a bagel shop. (Laughs)

A B: So, what are some of your musical influences? I read somewhere that you like Eminem.

Cazwell: Well, I think he’s an influence because he’s a talent, and also, I liked that Eminem proved that he could do it. Before Eminem anytime someone referred to a white rapper they would think of Vanilla Ice and the whole idea was just a laugh, then Eminem comes out and sells more records than any of them, and he is so talented that no one wants to battle him. He basically proved that talent is all that matters and talent is all that lasts.

A B: Yeah, I think now he can flip the bird to all the doubters now.

Cazwell: But, I don’t really consider myself hip-hop.

A B: People are always trying to put labels on artists. Have you ever had a label put on you that didn’t quite feel right?

Cazwell: I think the gay rap thing is the most common. I think it becomes less and less the more people get to know me and my music, then I become …”ohhh the guy that does that Beyonce Burger King song.”, or …”ohhh, that guy that does the Ice Cream truck song” and not so much the “gay rapper.”

A B: Now, I need to ask you about at these hot tamale dancers in your videos. Several of my readers asked where your hot dancers came from. I had this weird mental picture of you walking around the streets of NYC, going to the post office and such, with about 12 back up dancers parading behind you, in their boxers, dancing.

Cazwell: Well, they’re friends of mine. We don’t go to the post office in our underwear, duh. We’re all in the same scene and work at the same clubs and bars, for instance, Marco Ovando who directed  Ice Cream truck video also promotes parties. We know these guys and party with them at the clubs or they’re dancers at the clubs.  When we made the video for Ice Cream truck, I really wanted to make the theme, and dedicate it to the hot summertime in NYC, with the hot latino boys that hang out without their shirts on and their boxers up. The whole original theme was going to be like a bunch of guys who all live together, in a small one bedroom apartment in the summer, but the air conditioning is broken and we’re all hanging out in our boxers.

A B: It sounds  like one of those hot web cam apartments. I would definitely subscribe.

Cazwell: Ha ha yeah, exactly.

A B: What about your wardrobe. Do you throw it all together yourself or do you have a team of people helping out?

Cazwell: No team. Well, ultimately for the videos, I know what song I have to do, and I’m the first one that brings an idea to the table. Then I work with Marco Ovando and the machine starts grinding. Ultimately, it becomes a collaboration–no one does anything by themselves.

I was really specific about the wardrobe for “Get My Money Back,” and the bonobo monkey idea, which are known for the hyper sexuality and homosexual activities that sometimes travel in gay gangs. I liked that concept and was also inspired by the Fight Club movie because of the lighting of it. For the most part I liked the idea of these gay monkeys, or gay friendly monkeys, and wanted to portray the idea that there is strength in numbers, and they fight for each other as a group, and I hope to show some gay people watching that we are stronger in numbers.

A B: This reminds me of your It Gets Better video, where you talk about not backing down from bullies. Here comes some flattery. With your striking good looks, would you ever consider acting in a Hollywood movie?

Cazwell: Awe, well thank you. I’ve been talked to about reality shows, but it would have to be right one. What I really like though, about music and song writing is that I get to write and say what I want. I get to create my own characters that way. I would be down to try anything though, especially if it was a role I was really interested in.

A B: If you could choose to share the stage with anybody, who would it be?

Cazwell: (Without hesitation) I would really love to share a stage with Peaches. I think that she is an amazing performer, she’s like a hero to me because she’s done it all and sick! I saw her (Peaches) at Terminal 5 here in NYC and she was the sickest performer. She’s a natural and knows what she’s doing. She does something different for each and every song whether it’s a costume change or a new look, she’s just fucking amazing.

A B: Ok, let me have a Barbara Walters moment next. Have there been any obstacles or hardships in your life that you had to work through, that have made you a better, stronger person today?

Cazwell: You gonna make me cry. Ummm, well…. I think something I needed to overcome was that, before I was solo, I was in a rap  group called More Play, and when we went our separate ways I had to overcome working alone. But as far as living in a van or a parent that beat me, not really. Actually the biggest thing I had to overcome was getting out of Worcester, Massachusetts, it wasn’t a really great place to grow as an artist, I really had to push myself to get out of there. It would have been really easy to settle, a lot of people get stuck there but, (In a singing voice) I moved on!

A B: Did your talent get passed down to you by any family member? Like, did your grandmother juggle in the circus or anything?

Cazwell: My dad actually plays the flute. He plays like 27 kinds of flute and is really into wind instruments. My mom isn’t an artist per se but she’s a very sensitive person and I see that strength in me and my ability to write songs. Being sensitive doesn’t mean, oh, I’m going to go and cry in the corner, but, I’m sensitive to other people’s feelings. I don’t want to sound corny, but it definitely gave me some good ingredients to become a good collaborator.

A B: In the next 12 months what can we look forward to with you and what are you really excited about?

Cazwell: Um, well, I’m really excited about a song that I’m doing with, umm…Peaches(!) and also my whole new album. It’s going to be a fucking sick dance record and every song on it will be a song I DJ. It’s an album I’ve been slowly testing out on the dance floor. I’m also excited about all the songs coming up and the video I’m going to do this summer, although I haven’t decided yet, but it’s going to be for a new song.

A B: I feel like there is always an element of surprise to what you will do next and I like that.

Cazwell: You know, as long as the music will change, the videos will change. My goal is to make a video that reflects the song and looks like how the song sounds.

A B: Is there anything that you would like your fans to know?

Cazwell: Well….. I want my fans to know that when they actually buy my music on , it makes a big difference, because then I am able to make more music. I really appreciate when my fans come see me out.

(Cazwell to friend on street, “Hey, got a new tattoo? You dancing tomorrow? Alright, bye” )

When I first started out, I would have to beg my closest friends to come see me, and now it’s at the point that people I don’t even know leave their house and buy a ticket to see me. That means everything to me and I am so grateful and I never take that for granted. I have been doing this for a really long time and so many people have been working their asses off for years and don’t even have a song that anyone recognizes. So, just the fact that people respect me like that, even to send me a Twitter message or an e-mail, I never forget that.

A B: Are you going to be out in San Francisco any time soon?

Cazwell: I’m trying to work something up for SF Gay Pride, but have something else that same day, but trying to work that out right now.

A B: And finally, if you were to take me out on a romantic date, how would that go?

Cazwell: I would just take you to my place and get the sex out-of-the-way first!

A B: Cazwell, I like that answer!

What a genuine babe, a wicked sweet guy that is doing all the right things. Cazwell is good people. I will hold my breath until his video comes out this summer and this song of his he’s doing with Peaches. Score!

photo: Marco Ovando


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