From Champion to Glamazon: Sipping Tea and Throwing Shade with Lucian Piane

There’s no hope for humanity if this album doesn’t achieve world peace.

In a pop climate chock full of self-empowerment–from Lady Gaga‘s “Born This Way” to Katy Perry‘s “Firework” to Beyonce‘s “Run The World (Girls)” to P!nk‘s “Raise Your Glass” to Ke$ha‘s “We R Who We R”–it’s hard to flip to a Top 40 radio station and not hear a single scorching dance number set to the tune of tolerance.

But lest we’re all forget, RuPaul‘s already been beating that synth drum for the past twenty years.

From 1992’s “Supermodel (You Better Work)” to 2004’s “Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous” to 2009’s “Jealous Of My Boogie,” every inch of RuPaul’s glitter-encrusted career has been spent preaching the virtues of self-love. As she famously signs off each episode of her LOGO reality show, RuPaul’s Drag Race: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gon’ love somebody else?”

In 2009, RuPaul released her fourth studio album: Champion, a solid collection of uptempo club cuts produced by L.A. based composer and producer, Lucian Piane (perhaps best known as RevoLucian, producer of amazing parody remixes including the still incredible Christian Bale on-set freak out mix, “Bale Out”.)

Now, nearly two years later, RuPaul returns with a brand new collection: Glamazon, an album set to send Champion and skyrocketing into the next dimension of sound.

MuuMuse had the opportunity to chat with Ru’s musical producer Lucian Piane about the upcoming release, recording with Ru, and just what she’s got up her sleeve–sorry, weave for her next album. So what you waiting for, hunty?

Like the bulk of her discography, RuPaul’s latest studio album touches upon familiar themes of self-empowerment, love and acceptance, but turns it up a notch: “We’ve taken RuPaul’s mantras to outer space and beyond,” Piane tells MuuMuse of the upcoming effort.

Piane describes Glamazon as “a hybrid of 2030s Astropop-tronic, classical, glam-punk and tranny-hop” (taking notes, Beyonce?) referencing a smorgasbord of musical influences that helped to inspire the album’s sound: From Robyn and Madonna, to Meatloaf and Candy Coated Killahz, to Björk and Nine Inch Nails.

“My favorite track keeps changing over time,” Piane says of Glamazon, “but right now I would say it is “I Bring The Beat”–probably because it embodies my favorite sonic ear-candy.”

Creating music with the world’s most famous drag queen proved to be a verifiable recording extravaganza–and a freeing one at that: “When producing an artist like RuPaul, you have the ultimate creative liberty–nothing is off limits,” Piane tells MuuMuse. “I often would come up with track ideas or melodies and Ru would let me know which ones inspired him. There was no set method really. It was very collaborative. Ru is a very impressive lyricist…he constantly blew me away!”

The two first met after Randy Barbato–co-founder of RuPaul’s media production company World of Wonder–suggested that Piane produce the theme song for his upcoming series, RuPaul’s Drag Race back in 2008. “We hit it off and in that very first meeting,” he explains of their first encounter. “Ru said “I want to do a full album together.’ That became Champion!” And so the two became fast friends, recording and producing music for over three years and counting.

Despite Ru’s larger-than-life persona, Piane insists that the industry veteran is a breeze to work with once she hits the record booth. Still, no matter how much of a ladyboy she truly is, even Ru is prone to her own occasional Mimi moment: “There was one moment in the studio when Ru requested a lamp to counteract the ‘terribly heterosexual institutional lighting.’ We found a lamp and Ru was satisfied. No diva fits, though.” There ain’t nothin’ fabulous about incandescent.

Of course, there’s also that one lingering question everyone seems to ask: Does RuPaul hit the booth in full glam mode? “I’ve only met RuPaul the drag queen twice!” Piane reveals. “Every time was on the set of his show. So…no, he doesn’t record in drag.” (Funny–you’d think a good tuck could help hit those falsetto notes!)

While working on the follow-up to Champion, Piane also made a cameo appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race which aired last month, producing themed versions of Glamazon album track “Superstar” for each of the remaining racers (from disco to hip-hop to–yeesh, reggae). And while the process surely looked (and especially sounded) painful, Piane says simply of the experience: “Anyone can release a single!” Something tells me Heidi Montag and Kim Zolciak would only be too eager to nod in approval.

As Piane has happily tinkered away at the Glamazon for the past year (released this week!), the producer has also kept himself busy working on a few songs with Aussie pop songstress Sia, and hopes to be whipping up tracks for likes of Madonna, Kanye West and Lady Gaga by the year’s end.

And if self-empowerment anthems really are the new black in the music industry, something tells me Ru’s about to snatch every last wig amongst today’s leading pop vixens.

Can I get an amen up in here?

For more on Lucian, check out his official website and Twitter.

Glamazon was released on April 25. (iTunes)

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