Drag artist VIZIN ( pronounced V-I-S-I-O-N ) may have covered "I Was Born This Way," but it is not the Lady Gaga song.
It is a remake of a song that dates back to the '70s and even the original writer was impressed enough to track VIZIN down. Windy City Times talked with the openly gay singer about the songs' origins, her transformation and what Barbie means to her.
Windy City Times: When I first heard the title of your song, "I Was Born This Way," I thought that it was a remake of the Lady Gaga song of the same name. But then I found out that it was a cover of a song from the '70s.
VIZIN: I'm learning a lot more about the song now that I've covered it. Originally, I thought it was a song covered by Carl Bean. There's been a lot of versions of it so it doesn't have just one person attached to it now.
WCT: Chris Spierer, the original writer, reached out to you on YouTube?
V: He said that our cover was probably one of the best he's heard in a long time.
WCT: You went through a transformation where you lost 500 poundsdown from 700 pounds. Where were you in your life at that time?
V: This was in 2009 and it was kind of a low point in my life where I had just moved back in with my mother, and I was around the 700 pounds. My mom made an appointment with the doctor and when I went in and it was a total 180 degrees. The doctor said, "So we're talking to you about gastric bypass?" and I had no idea.
WCT: Were you mad at your mother for doing that to you?
V: No, I wasn't mad at her; I was more afraid. I was either going to eat myself to death or I could die on the surgery table, so [I said,] "Let's give it a shot." So look at me now! [Laughs]
WCT: What are your weight-loss tips?
V: I drink lots of water and I don't eat a lot of sweets anymore. One helpful tip for me is every morning I drink a lot of coffee or tea with a teaspoon of cinnamon or honey in it. It keeps me at a stable weight.
WCT: Were you pursuing music at that time?
V: I've always been singing and I briefly studied opera out of high school, but that didn't work out for me, but drag came into my life when I was 21, so I was doing drag a lot back then. What I wanted to do was do what I'm doing now, the crossover from being a drag queen to being a pop star.
WCT: You used to have a five-octave range?
V: I used to have a pretty decent range when I was younger but puberty took care of that. [Laughs] I used to hit the whistle register with Mariah Carey.
WCT: Is that why she is one of your idols?
V: Oh, yesdefinitely. I've always been attracted to her and Whitney Houston. They were my biggest idols growing up. It's kind of interesting that I didn't have any male idols until I was older.
WCT: Who are some of your male idols today?
V: Now I'm very much into Prince and it's sad that he's gone now. I love listening to his music and trying to sing along with him. He was such a visionary.
WCT: You are also a fan of Marilyn Monroe.
V: I've always loved Marilyn Monroe; she's just the ultimate. She's a sex symbol but she [was] also a tortured soul. I've always connected with the idea of her. I just love her and she's always been one of my icons.
WCT: Another one of your influences is Barbie.
V: She's definitely an influence. You can see it in the video: the yellow hair and the Barbie room. We shot at the Barbie suite at the Palms in Las Vegas. It was my dream to actually stay there and it was really a good time.
WCT: How much fun was it to shoot the music video?
V: It was my first time actually shooting something like that. It was really tiring but it was so much fun. We showed up the night before and we shot it all in one day.
WCT: Did you always envision your music career to be what it is like today?
V: I've always considered myself an artist so I keep saying that serendipity is when you put it out there in the universe and it always comes back to you somehow.
WCT: What's next for you?
V: In the next few weeks we're going to be releasing a cover of "You Make Me Feel ( Mighty Real, )" by Sylvester. So right now were working with that and making sure the timing is right.
To find out more about VIZIN, visit Facebook.com/vizinmusic/.