Nathan Carroll is hardly impeded by his speech.
Following his standing-room-only events It’s Hard to Rap with a Speech Impediment
and Ghetto Thuperstar
, This Is My Biggest One Yet
is going to be just what the title implies. With a full band, drag diva Tynomi Banks opening, backup dancers and many more surprises, Carroll is going to rock the Gladstone with daring renditions of his favourite pop and rap songs. Matt Eger speaks with the man himself about summer camp, Sharron Matthews and Kesha.
Matt Eger: You don’t have a speech impediment . . .
Nathan Carroll: I do have a lisp but had years of traumatizing speech pathology as a kid. Being gay and having a lisp sometimes go hand in hand, and you know, it made for a certain kind of childhood. I still don’t always know what to do with my tongue [that’s what he said
]. It has had a big impact on my identity. When I
started doing pop covers, I wanted the music and the lisp to be the focus of my first show.
Do you think you started rapping as a tool to prove yourself?
I think so, in a way. I just like to sing music that I really shouldn’t be singing. That usually gets an awesome reaction.
What kind of music should you be singing?
I am a musical-theatre guy. I should be singing Rodgers and Hammerstein and Sondheim, which I love to do and do that in my normal career. But I wanted to do a cabaret where I could do whatever the fuck I wanted to do, which was '90s stuff, Tupac, Nicki Minaj, Kesha . . . I wanted to see if it would translate into cabaret form, and it totally did.
What does rap/pop music mean to you?
To be honest, I owe a lot to Kesha. I’m not always a big fan of the theatricality of current pop music. I’m not a fan of Lady Gaga. Kesha was refreshing in a trailer-trashy way, she loves to go out dancing and drink Jack Daniel's, she said she likes giving blowjobs on Facebook . . . “Tik Tok” is to date the best acoustic cover that I have ever come up with, and I still perform it to this day. One day a few years ago, my friend was running an open mic at some super-straight pub in Liberty Village, and when I played it the bar went crazy. My friends told me I had to pursue it.
When did you get up the balls to do your own cabaret?
I grew up going to and working at a Christian summer camp, and in December I got kicked out for being gay. It kicked me into a pretty bad depression and was a pretty rough start to the year. But what happened was fuel for my desire to say what I want to say, and the tremendous success of my first cabaret really helped me get through that part of my life. The decision to fire me has since been reversed, but it is just the beginning of a long conversation and a long battle for LGBT rights in private Christian organizations.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Hands down, Sharron Matthews. She is responsible for the reemergence of cabaret in Toronto. I would come in to the city from Simcoe just to see her as a teenager. She picked music that was specific to memories in other people’s lives, therefore specific to everyone else’s lives. She would sing a song she loved when she was 14 and everyone would have a memory attached to it. They would laugh and cry with her, and even though I was in a younger generation, it was incredible watching that connection. I am trying to do the same thing for my generation. — Matt Eger
This Is My Biggest One Yet! is Thurs, June 28, 8pm at the Gladstone, 1214 Queen St W. $10
Painted Nathan photo is by Matti McLean mattiwrites.blogspot.ca