2012 Santa Fe Reporter Arts Festival
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Big Freedia (pronounced “Free-da”) is the undisputed “Queen Diva” of Bounce Music, and performs six or more times a week in various venues throughout her home town of New Orleans.
Bounce Music is an original urban music rising up from the challenging yet fun-loving nature of the New Orleans housing projects which dominate the city’s street culture, and Freedia performs a derivative of Bounce reserved for self-proclaimed “Sissies” (a locally used name for biological men with varied and ambiguous sexual identities) that has risen to prominence in recent years and features explicitly gay and cross-dressing musicians and themes. Big Freedia, like other “Sissy” artists, has achieved mainstream success with several New Orleans hit singles such as “Gin in My System” and “Azz Everywhere!” from her albums “An Ha, Oh Yeah” (1999) and “Queen Diva” (2003). Freedia began her musical career almost 15 years ago at the Walter L. Cohen High School in New Orleans, where she was enlisted as choir director from her Sophomore to Senior years. She sees her performance as a Bounce artist as an extension of this work, often interacting in a call and response/teacher and student fashion with her audiences.