Cary NoKey is slated to open for RuPaul's Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons Feb. 19 at the House of Blues. NoKey will be performing a high energy dance set, using EDM ( electronic dance music ) style to some of his more low key songs.
"One of the most fulfilling things for me has always been to be a part of somethingbeing part of something bigger. And I feel like this is one of those moments."
Cary NoKey also goes by Rob Fusari, former producer for big names including Destiny's Child, Whitney Houston, Will Smith and Lady Gaga. Fusari has gone through a painful, yet rewarding transformation into Cary NoKey landing him first as opener for Adore Delano's band in New York to then being invited to perform with the Drag Race family.
Although Fusari doesn't identify as a drag queen, he believes the Drag Race community recognize and appreciate both his artistic and gender bending performancesin a sense expanding the definition of its community by choosing him as the opening act.
Wishing to leave his identity as 'Rob' behind, Fusari over time made the realization that, "It's okay to be different people in this life. [Both] the personalities are me and they're expressed through the music and through the performance."
Fusari's transformation from producing with famed Lady Gaga to becoming an artist, becoming Cary NoKey, was a difficult journey not just artistically but required Fusari to face and accept this other part of himself.
"The transition came out of pure necessity," expressed Fusari.
For Fusari, the Gaga project reach a point where it was so immense that it almost took on a life of its own. "It just became a monster in every shapeform," said Fusari.
Retiring from his work with Gaga, Fusari dabbled in several projects but frustrated with himself and realization that he couldn't just find another Gaga, Fusari muddled in "dark place" for a while.
"I hadn't experiment with drugs in all my years. But this was so difficult for me to deal with musically and creatively that I started to get into a dark place," recalled Fusari. "I wasn't hearing magic and for me to say that about my own musicthere's a problem," said Fusari.
On a not so-dark day, Fusari sought out to at least write a song without thought or intention of where it would leadjust to write a song. Upon completion, he tried to think of someone who could sing it with the particular intonation he envisioned. When he came up empty he resolved to sing the song himself at the recording studio and to just go from there with the song.
Following the session, after a group of professionals listened to his recording, one of them asked, "Why in the hell are you looking for an artist? You're the artist," recalled Fusari. "It was an aha moment for me."
"With Gaga, I put every ounce of me and I put it into her. Everything that I would see myself doing, I was doing it through other artists," said Fusari. "When Cary NoKey was born, things took on a new life and the music started to become more visual."
Now Cary NoKey has many singles including his latest, "American Dream," in which the music video features his child self as a girl and his mothers as trans women played by actresses Trace Lysette, Dina Mari, Victoria Beltran and Bailey Jay.
"Transsexuals represent the larger idea that the American dream is something within," said Fusari.
Cary NoKey continues to seek his new definition of the American Dreamfinding happiness within himself. "The transformation became the reward," Fusari added. "It's like the prize was finding myself. But it's also very painful at times."
RuPaul's Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons hosted at the House of Blues Chicago, 329 N. Dearborn St., Feb. 19, at 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com .