By Reggie Cameron
Special to Desert Outlook
With more than 16 number one hits in both the dance and jazz genres, Kristine W has become a bit of a music icon. We recently caught up with Kristine who shared with us what she’s been working on and her sentiments toward the LGBTQ community.
It’s been some time since I’ve seen you and we last spoke. How are you? Where are you today?
I’m in Delaware. We had a fun show here last night and I’m about to catch a flight to Vegas for another performance before we head to Palm Springs.
Over the years you’ve amassed many hits and a large following … what has been your approach to your work?
Being in Vegas and working in entertainment since I was a kid I’ve been exposed to many egotistical performers. When I worked at the Las Vegas Hilton we had some pretty big names that I’m not going to name … but you’d see how they treated the staff, concierge, the things they’d put the bellman through. It was just disgusting to witness human beings treat each other that way.
I try to stay real and humble. God gave us these gifts and I feel a sort of responsibility to be as good as I can be and share my talents with the world. If it helps people that relate to my music and it makes them feel good, that’s even better. I focus on putting positive energy into the planet.
You’re very musical. In addition to singing and writing your music, don’t you play several instruments as well?
That’s right. I play five instruments. As a kid my grandma taught me to play the piano and guitar. At about 10 years old I picked up the saxophone. Then in high school I was in the marching band and I played several horns and the snare drum … which led to me playing in my brother’s rock band. In college I picked up the bass guitar. [laughs] I was a big time band geek in school.
Tell us about your new album.
My latest album is called “New and Number Ones.” We have some new music, but then we took several of my number one hits and we reproduced them the ground up. My songwriting career got started in London, so I go back to my roots by working with mostly European producers. I worked with Lee Dagger, Rob Dougan and Rollo Armstrong, Bimbo Jones — great people — some of whom have never even heard of my original hits … who worked with me [to] breathe new life back into these tracks and to really create something altogether new and different.
This Friday, you’ll be joining us here in Palm Springs for “Do Ask Do Tell,” the Mid-Summer Dance Party and fundraiser for Desert AIDS Project. What can guests expect to see?
We’re going to have a great time. My dancers and I have a wonderful show planned. You’ll be the first to hear some of my brand new music, and our reworked number one hits from the CD that many of you are familiar with.
As far as the beneficiary of tomorrow’s party … I’ve been doing this for awhile and remember when HIV and AIDS was relatively new. Over the years some of these hits really became an anthem for the community with positive lyrics like in “One More Try” [where] I sing, and I am tired and I am weary. Time’s been my teacher. I don’t wanna leave you … to songs like “Land of the Living” where I sing out Alive … Alive … Alive. It’s really been a powerful message of perseverance for so many people living with HIV and AIDS, and the gay community in particular has held on to that. I love my gay and lesbian fans — love them. Getting to know this community through the work that I do has been one of my greatest gifts.
IF YOU GO
Kristine W will perform July 13 at “Do Ask Do Tell,” a Mid-Summer Dance Party V at the ACE Hotel & Swim Club, 701 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. The benefit for Desert AIDS Project starts at 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $45 and can be purchased online at http://bit.ly/LiAil9 or by calling (760) 969-5743.
Reggie Cameron has contributed to a number of media outlets including Queerty, OUT, The Advocate and the LA Times among others. He is returning this year for his second turn as the entertainment director of Greater Palm Springs Pride.