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Canada’s Drag Race winner Priyanka on working with Madonna producers: ‘I want to make pop music for everyone’

Exclusive: The drag icon has her goals set on pop superstardom

By Dale Fox

Priyanka against a pink background
Priyanka (Image: Nick Merzetti)

While Priyanka first captured hearts as the winner of the first series of Canada’s Drag Race, she’s quickly proved herself as a multi-talented force with her sights set on international pop stardom.

Following the success of her 2021 debut EP Taste Test, which racked up millions of streams, Priyanka is preparing to launch an ambitious new chapter with her forthcoming full-length album coming later this year. Her latest single ‘No New Friends’ is out now.

“This music creation process was so different,” Priyanka told Attitude. “For Taste Test, I didn’t expect it to blow up like it did. I just did it for me. But it gave me the confidence to approach big American producers and they all said yes to working with me.”

Those producers include heavyweight hitmakers like Josh Cumbee (Madonna, Girls’ Generation), Scott Hoying (Pentatonix, Meghan Trainor), and more. The resulting collection is shaping up to be a departure from Priyanka’s drag queen roots towards a glossy, high-fashion pop princess with universal appeal.

“I’m a drag queen and I own that, but my music can be for everyone too”

“I want to make pop music for everyone,” she explained. “I don’t want people to hear my song and skip it because it sounds too ‘drag queen-y.’ I’m a drag queen and I own that, but my music can be for everyone too.”

Though mainstream success is the goal, Priyanka hasn’t shied away from opening up lyrically and getting vulnerable. “The more you write, the more you accidentally reveal about how you’re actually feeling. There are songs that unveil truths I didn’t expect to speak about publicly, but they’re massaged into big pop songs.”

Fans can expect those emotional truths to be unveiled through her upcoming album, arriving this autumn. The music video for lead single ‘No New Friends,’ coming 11 April, finds Priyanka “playing myself in and out of drag – at one point I give my drag self a lap dance in a strip club setting. It’s going to be wild!”

Return to Drag Race?

And while Priyanka hasn’t ruled out a potential return to the Drag Race franchise (“Never say never,” she teased), her priorities currently lie elsewhere. “I heard Bob [the Drag Queen] say, ‘Don’t worry, I do drag other places.’ It’s an interesting perspective – do you want to compete again or just keep creating art?”

As for any fears about making the leap from viral drag sensation to global phenomenon? “Josh Cumbee told me, you need to believe your song is the best song ever. If you believe it, everyone else will believe it too.”

‘No New Friends’ by Priyanka is available to stream now.