“There is a central hub of queer genius over at World of Wonder,” describes Leland of the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” production company. He and fellow composer Freddy Scott take inspiration from the ideas of producers RuPaul and Tom Campbell to write the catchy tunes featured in the hit VH1 reality competition series. For Season 13, this most notably includes the retro bop “Lucky,” sung by the top four contestants. Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Leland explains that RuPaul and Campbell “had a vision for the title of the song, what the song should say, and the influences genre-wise.” With their directive in hand, the pair of composers got to work on expanding the concept. “We tried to give it a timeless and fresh feel,” says Leland, “breathing life into the melodies and fleshing out the lyrics.”
“They really do have their finger on the pulse in terms of what is going to hit,” Scott suggests. He is particularly happy that “Lucky” was the perfect “Drag Race” tune to debut during the world wide pandemic. “The song title and just the essence of that song coming out during a time where we were all under lockdown, all feeling unlucky,” explains Scott. “To put out a song with so much joy, the opposite of what we were all feeling, was just a wonderful chef’s kiss.”
Of course, the pair’s work on a song isn’t finished until the top four queens record their own verses during the episode. “It truly is a wildcard,” admits Scott, as they never know what the queens will create ahead of time. And once they record each verse, the composer has to lock himself away and furiously create a final product by the queen’s evening choreography rehearsal. “We don’t have time to overthink anything,” notes Leland. “There’s no room for error…once the parts are in, they’re in.” That is true now more than ever, as the pair is constantly writing for “Drag Race” and it’s many spin-offs (they also gifted the world the earworm “UK, Hun?” this year). It’s a challenging full-time schedule, but according to Scott, “it does help you really trust your instincts, creatively.”
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