Be captivated by the electrifying talents of Queen Priyanka—a performer, musical artist, and an international force to be reckoned with. You probably already know her as the remarkable winner of the inaugural season of Canada’s Drag Race, but her journey to stardom goes far beyond the realm of drag.
From her early days hosting as Mark “Suki” Suknanan on the legendary Canadian children’s network, YTV, to her iconic crowning moment in 2020, Priyanka’s star power and undeniable charisma have always shone through.
Embracing drag as her form of therapy, Priyanka discovered a world of self-expression and growth. Through her performances, she creates an escape for audiences, channelling her childhood love for music and putting on electrifying shows that captivate and uplift. Priyanka fearlessly delivers a message of liberation that should be accessible to all, regardless of their geographical location.
‘Taste Test‘ is Priyanka’s remarkable debut musical endeavour, and has already amassed a staggering 20 million streams, catapulting her into the stratosphere of musical super(queer)stardom. But it’s not just the numbers that speak volumes—her EP is accompanied by a visually stunning episodic music video saga that leaves fans, and us here at Noctis, breathless, and hungry for more.
From a television host and producer to a musician to a drag queen whose performances leave audiences spellbound by night, Priyanka defies expectations, breaks down barriers, and showcases her extraordinary talents at every turn. She has truly embarked on an unstoppable journey towards greatness, leaving us with the burning question, “What isn’t next for this phenomenal drag queen?”
Noctis sat down with Priyanka to discuss the inspiration and creative process behind this empowering track. She opens up about the genesis of “Bad Bitches Don’t Cry,” reflects on her creative process and shares her aspirations for the future of her music career, drag, and entertainment as a whole.
Congratulations on your success as Canada’s first Drag Race superstar! What was your journey like leading up to your win on the show?
Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a win, I am so proud of being the first ever winner of that show. What a whirlwind that was and still is my life. There was something about starting drag in 2017 that lit a fire under my ass. I was working in Kids TV and i really loved it but it went from being my passion to not really feeling fulfilled which is a tough place to be in as an artist. I took Drag as seriously as I could as soon as I started with branding, music, photoshoots and it really all turned into something big. Every single thing I did leading up to Drag Race prepared me for it, and all my falls in the competition got us some iconic lip syncs – I’ve always loved roller coasters!
As a singer, how has your drag persona and drag culture influenced your music and performance style?
My music and performance style is mostly influenced by the music I wanted to perform as a young child. I remember locking myself in my room, blasting the Pussycat Dolls and putting on concerts for no one. Everything I do on stage is to create that escape that Drag performers create for audiences!
You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that drag has been a form of therapy for you. Could you elaborate on how drag has helped you in your personal life and growth as a performer?
Oh it’s 10000% therapy. I feel lucky that I even got the chance to start drag. There aren’t many playgrounds where you can try new things, play with your gender, and feel included in an amazing community. It really was the thing that helped me find myself. I’ll never forget the first convo I had with a trans person was when I started drag and that really helped me grow as a person to hear about all the different journeys the queer community has, as well as the reminder that I’m still on my own self discovery journey!
Your debut single “Cake” was a huge success, and then came along “Come Through (feat. Lemon)” to top charts, receive critical acclaim and go viral. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration and creative process behind the music of this era?
YES!!!! What a great feeling when the music does well! Makes me emotional, honestly. Music was such a passion project for me that ended up being one of my main focuses now. The inspiration behind both of those records was a boy I was dating during Canada’s Drag Race. He made me feel worthless and I just stuck by his side. It was such an interesting feeling to be on Drag Race and be so celebrated, then having a relationship where it’s one big pity party. All those experiences made songs like “Cake” and “Come Through.” So trauma does make great pop songs!
As a drag performer, your live shows often involve lip-syncing to popular songs, but with your music, you sing live. How has that transition been and how have your performances changed as a pop performing artist?
At first it was SO HARD. Now I prefer to sing live. It’s more fun and challenging. Lip syncing is its own art form that I LOVE to do. For live singing, it took so much training which I am still in with Tamara Beatty to get my voice into a place where I can sing live. I still watch videos I get tagged in after where there’s a flat note here and there but it’s all part of the journey baby! It’s constant work on your body, voice, and dance to make it all work. I see why Beyonce get’s the big bucks!! Haha
Your music videos, such as “Snatch” and “Come Through,” are known for being visually stunning and creative. Can you tell us about the process of bringing your music to life through video and what you hope to convey through these visuals?
Music videos are my favourite. My creative partner/director Caroline Torti and I come up with all the music videos. It’s such a special relationship that I am forever grateful for. Imagine being able to dream up situations, environments, costumes that you DREAM of wearing and making it a reality? That is what putting together a music video is like. Our Fashion Director Amber Watkins really plays a heavy hand in making sure all the fashion is up to par. Team work really makes the dream work. I can’t wait to show you my new videos!
“Bad Bitches Don’t Cry” is such a hit. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the song and what listeners can expect from the track?
I LOVE BAD BITCHES DONT CRY! The inspo behind the song was from RALPH who came into the studio and had just watched an episode of Selling Sunset and was like Christine Quinn’s friend caught her crying and said “Bad Bitches Don’t Cry.” There’s something so funny about that saying cause I get it. I work so hard to be a bad bitch and make all my dreams come true and within that you are told no and people can be mean. But like a true star, you take it all with grace and don’t cry. I had so many teachers tell me I wouldn’t be a star and now I am so this Bad Bitch didn’t Cry and made her own dream com true!
How does the music video for “Bad Bitches Don’t Cry” tie into the theme of the song?
The music video is meant to represent the hopes and dreams of someone who wants to be a star. The black abyss that we shot in was meant to represent the mind and scenes that you see play out are my thoughts. The opening scene is my guidance counselor Mr. Smith who is actually a Clown in my mind, I slap him and he turns to confetti. It’s meant to be the place the mind wanders when you just want to dream!
You’ve mentioned that the song was co-written with RALPH. Can you talk about your creative process in working with other writers and how you collaborated on this particular song?
The creative process differs for each song. But what’s been happening is, I’d get a co-writer or two in the room with a producer and we all jam on how I’m feeling that day.
As an artist, what do you hope to bring to the music industry and how do you see yourself fitting into the current landscape of pop and dance music?
I dream about this all the time. My music has so many stories of rising above the hate, falling in love, telling yourself that you are the best – I just want people to feel uplifted and inspired by someone who knows exactly what being told ‘no’ is all about. I am so excited for everyone to hear my new music because it truly does have a special genre-bending sound to it which is super unique to me as an artist. I’m not going to fit INTO the current landscape, I’m going to carve out my own space.
You’ve mentioned that music has been a passion of yours since childhood. How have your experiences and growth as a person and performer influenced your approach to creating and performing music?
There is something about being a pent up closet kid that now has all their dreams coming true that is influencing how I make, perform and promote my music. Everything that I’ve dreamed of as a young kid is happening!!!!!!!!!
In addition to music and drag, you’ve also worked in television and hosting. How do you balance these different aspects of your career and what do you enjoy most about each?
Oh yes! Kids TV baby!! Now I also host Etalk in Canada – which is incredible. I love acting, it is such a challenge and I get to come out with my own rom-com and Netflix Shows and Movies which is SUCH A WIN. I love hosting because I love turning a camera on and just being a complete idiot and having fun. Making music is so therapeutic and performing is my happiness. I love to put on shows for people.
You’ve mentioned that drag is about self-expression and creativity and that everyone can benefit from exploring these elements of themselves. What advice do you have for people who may be interested in trying drag but are hesitant or unsure where to start?
People have to remember that there are no rules to drag. Do it for fun, if you want it to be a job take it seriously and be professional. I think just experimenting and trying new things is the best way to go. There are some videos I see of myself where I’m performing Rock Music and at the time it made sense to me but now I watch and I’m uncertain of what EXACTLY was happening lol. I think the more you explore yourself and the more you don’t give a fuck – the better! Surround yourself with yes people who make you feel supported no matter what!
Looking ahead, what are some of your goals and aspirations for the future of your career in music, drag, and entertainment in general?
I am so excited for all the movies and shows that I shot to come out and to share my music with the world. People are going to be shocked and surprised when they hear the new stuff and I absolutely can not wait. I feel like I’m sitting on a secret because soon everyone will know all my secrets. My music is my diary!