It’s been quite a week for the Queen Diva of Bounce, Big Freedia – and it’s ONLY MONDAY! Over the weekend, Beyonce dropped a surprise single “Formation” that featured Freedia booming out “I did not come to play with you hoes” before letting out her iconic cackle.
Since then she’s been EVERYWHERE, on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
Check out two of her most fabulous interviews.
Thanks for taking my call. I’m sure you’ve been pretty busy lately.
I am. I’m trying to get ready for Mardi Gras. It’s crazy.
How has it been ever since the video for “Formation” came out?
Oh, my God, it’s been bananas—just all the fans really responding, just knowing the sound of my voice. And you know, they’re just very proud of me of another accomplishment and that I keep opening doors and representing New Orleans.
What’s the craziest thing that has happened since?
Just some of the things that people have been coming up to me to say that the song has made them want to do. They want to pull all their edges out, they want to jump off buildings, they want to get into formation. People are seeing me at the parades and they are screaming and hollering.
How did you get involved with the song?
Well, [Beyoncé’s] publicist gave me a call and said that the Queen Bey wanted to talk to me and that she was about to give her my number, and after that she called. And we talked and she explained what she wanted me to do. She asked me to do a voice-over or go in and give her some ad lib. She explained to me what the song was about, her being a Southern girl. And it was just so exciting; I literally died in my own skin right then and there.
What was going through your mind while you were waiting for her call?
I wondered what was she going to say, what she wanted me to do, because her publicist didn’t really say. She just said she wanted to talk to me personally. And you know, we’ve been in contact before or whatever, but this was bigger than life.
Oh, yeah? When had you talked to each other before?
We hung out at her mom’s birthday party. That’s where you see the picture that I posted, that’s where it’s from.
How did you end up at Beyoncé’s mom’s birthday party?
Solange called me and personally invited me. And they all were there. And we all hung out, dance, ate, and drunk all night. We danced to a little bit of everything.
When she asked you to ad-lib, had you heard the song before? Or did you improvise without knowing what the song was going to say?
I hadn’t heard the song before. I kind of knew what the song was going to say, but I only had a very small snippet. It was very small. It was very particular about nothing being released or being out beforehand, so it was a very small piece that I was just being creative with.
Well, her chorus sings “Cause I slay, slay,” while your bit announces, “I came here to slay.” Was that just a happy coincidence?
Oh, no. I knew she was going to be slayin’. Definitely.
What do you think is so irresistible about bounce music?
It’s something that everybody can enjoy, from zero to 99. It’s the music that’s fun and it’s cultural and motivating to everybody. And people love the sound, people love the feeling. It’s a happy music, so kids love it, adults love it. Hopefully we can get on the whole world loving it.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce season five. My book is out now, too, so I’m doing all types of promoting for that. And I’m getting ready to drop a new single on the 23rd of this month called “I Heard,” and working on my new album as well.
You have been called the ambassador of bounce music. Do you think that’s an accurate title?
Oh, definitely. I’ve been at the forefront of it for the last five years and working tremendously hard traveling all around the world, traveling nationally and internationally, making people aware of the sound and of the culture of New Orleans. And definitely, I deserve most of the credit for getting [bounce music] to where it is now.
What did you think of the choreography in the video?
Oh, I love it. I just love it.
What would you say is your signature move?
For myself? My signature move is my hands in the air and I’m shaking that ass.
If you could recommend one bounce song that everyone has to listen to, which one would it be?
“Ass Everywhere,” because it’s something that everyone can have fun with. It’s a very good song and it’s my song. It will pull asses of the masses together.
Can we expect to see you at the newly announced Formation World Tour?
Hopefully you can!
Speaking to The FADER on the phone Monday just before making an appearance on CNN, she said that she and Beyoncé kept in contact after meeting at a birthday party for Tina Knowles-Lawson in New Orleans last year. Below, Freedia explains how her appearance on “Formation” came together, and how she thinks bounce music will grow in 2016.
How did this all come about?
I got a call from Beyoncé’s publicist. They said that Bey wanted to talk to me, and then she explained exactly what she wanted me to do on the song. She gave me a little history of the song and I just lost it. I dropped dead in my own skin when she called. I was just literally at home losing it, not knowing exactly what I’m going to do when I got to the studio. I was just excited for the call and I was very gracious and appreciative that the queen called the other queen to come do something on her track. It was just a blessing and I was just overwhelmed and still am.
With your lines on the song, were you given direction from her at all?
Yes, definitely. That’s why she called me to give me directions and backstory. It was very interesting and the most exciting phone call I’ve ever gotten in a long time. I was very happy.
News outlets are picking up that Certain people feel that the song is anti-police. Do you have any thoughts on that? The video features a shot where she’s sitting on top of that New Orleans cop car that sinks.
That’s about creativity and coming up with a new style. She may not even knew about it until the director or whoever had put it together. There’s not much I can say on that.
Your show is still the highest-rated show on Fuse, and now this song has made bounce music even more visible. Does bounce being in mainstream pop culture change the music at all?
Oh yeah, definitely. I think that it definitely will change it to a certain extent. I also would have those songs that will stay original to the roots, the core of bounce music. Just like the new song that came out with Missy Elliot is a New Orleans-feel song, a bounce-inspired song. The bigger artists are definitely looking and paying attention to the culture and the style of bounce music.
Your line in the song references corn bread and collard greens. What are the best places for those two things in New Orleans?
You would have to taste Big Freedia’s edition of them. Definitely.