International drag superstar Pabllo Vittar headlines Orlando’s Pride Stage

By : Jeremy Williams
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Pabllo Vittar may not be as recognizable in the U.S. as she is in other parts of the world yet, but be prepared to remember that name because she is on the verge of becoming a global superstar. Vittar is a musical sensation in her home country of Brazil, has been called “the world’s most popular drag queen” by Vogue magazine and is widely seen as an important voice for South America’s LGBTQ community.

Vittar burst onto the scene in 2014 with an appearance on a Brazilin music-focused television show where she brought the house down with a rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Since that performance, Vittar has released two albums, collaborated with some of music’s hottest stars and became the first ever Grammy-nominated drag queen.

She has also amassed a social media following in the millions and racked up video views on YouTube in the billions. Vittar will release her next album titled “111” on her birthday, Nov. 1, and will celebrate Come Out With Pride in Orlando when she headlines a concert on Lake Eola’s Pride Stage Oct. 12.

We chatted with the Brazilian bombshell via email ahead of her big Lake Eola concert.

Note: Vittar’s responses were received in her native Portuguese and were translated into English via Google Translate. Please excuse any responses that may have been lost in translation.

One of the reasons Orlando has its Pride celebration in October is to recognize National Coming Out Day. There are parts of the U.S. where it can be difficult or dangerous to come out. What was your experience like coming out in São Luís, in general and to your family?

My family always supported me, a lot. I had a lot of affection and respect at home. With society itself, I can no longer say the same. I suffered and still suffer a lot of prejudice, hatred and intolerance, unfortunately.

When did you know that performing on stage was what you wanted to do for a living?

It was very natural. As a kid, I loved to take anything and pretend it was a microphone. I loved to “introduce myself” to my family. I have always been uninhibited and music has had a lot of influence on my life. My mother listened to many songs from overseas stars like Whitney Houston, as well as regional songs from the cities where we lived. When I listened to the melodies, it felt good, happy, complete, you know? Anyway, being on stage was something that was born inside me, a true and unique love.

You made your television debut in 2014 on a Brazilian show singing “I Have Nothing.” That is a difficult song to sing, which you performed beautifully. When did you first realize that you had that powerful voice capable of singing a Whitney Houston song?

Look, at first I had no idea of ​​my vocal potential. I just loved to sing, especially diva Whitney Houston’s songs. She always inspired me a lot.

In an interview you did with Vogue magazine last year, they said —with 9 million Instagram followers, 5 million YouTube subscribers and more than a billion views —you are “the world’s most popular drag queen.” What’s it like to know that you have that many people around the world interested in seeing what you are doing on a daily basis?

It’s a very big responsibility. Knowing that my attitudes and thoughts influence so many people only makes me reflect on what I post, how I speak, what values ​​and messages I want to give to my audience. It is my duty as an artist to use my voice responsibly.

Who are your musical inspirations?

I have several inspirations: Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Rihanna, Beyonce, Britney Spears, as well as great national artists such as masters Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, among others.

You have collaborated with Charli XCX, Major Lazer, Anitta and Diplo. Who is on your dream list of performers who you would you like to work with in the future?

I have several people, girl! There are a lot of people who I still want to work together with, in Brazil and abroad.

You released your first English language track with Charli XCX, “Flash Pose” You also worked together on the song “I Got It.” How did you two first come together and start recording music? What is it about Charli XCX that makes her a great collaborator?

These partnerships happen in a very natural way. In Charli’s case, I’ve always enjoyed her work and admired the person she is. She is very focused and talented. She’s an inspiration to me.

“Flash Pose” is the first single from your next album, “111.” What can you tell us about your new album?

I can tell you that I will be releasing the first part of my album on Nov. 1, which is my birthday. We will have songs in Portuguese and Spanish and, for now, that’s it. I’m working hard on this project and I hope you all enjoy it.

I read that you are a fan of anime and comics, and that you actually have tattoos of Sailor Moon and the Powerpuff Girls. What appeals to you about anime and comics? What are some of your favorite animes to watch and comic books to read?

I love anime and comics. I enjoy the stories and the examples of the character’s overcoming obstacles. One of my favorites is “Hunter x Hunter.”

There are quite a few similarities between the U.S. and Brazil, some good and some not so good. One not-so-good similarity is the current political leader in charge of each of our countries is not what many would call LGBTQ-friendly. What advice would you give young Brazilian or American LGBTQ people who are worried about the social climate right now?

My advice is: Don’t be afraid to be who you are. There is nothing sadder than hiding our essences, than pretending to be what we are not. The struggle of our community is one that we are all in together. Feel embraced and fight!

You are going to be headlining a Come Out With Pride concert here in Orlando. What can fans expect from you when they come to the concert?

You can expect a lot of excitement, dancing and very high energy. It will be a pleasure to perform at Come Out With Pride in Orlando and I hope to see you all there, eh!

For more information on Come Out With Pride, check out the official COWP guide and visit ComeOutWithPride.com.

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