From Australia to Hollywood, drag superstar Courtney Act (aka Shane Jenek) has been wowing audiences since the early 2000’s with her charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. A few years after moving to LA, her life would change again thanks to her stint on the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which she placed as runner up alongside Adore Delano after Bianca Del Rio took the crown. Courtney Act has never forgotten her first love, which was to write and perform music, since Drag Race ended she knuckled down and penned tracks with the likes of Sam Sparro and Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters); thus her debut EP Kaleidoscope was born, funded by her fans on Kickstarter and is said to be (in Courtney’s words) “A little bit Kylie, a bit Tove Lo, a bit Robyn and a good dollop of Vegemite”. We can’t wait to give it a spin!
A cool guitar strummed and picked intro with a smooth bass line helps to shape the soundscape of title track Kaleidoscope, a decent dose of anthemic and boppy pop sure to get you in a bouncy mood, whilst lyrically uniting the world under the one umbrella. Lead single Ecstasy is a dance/pop infusion inspired by how music and the dance floor can unite to become a liberating force, the perfect track to have chosen to hype up the EP with its ‘feel good’ and ‘let loose’ vibes, not to mention that it’s catchy as all hell; its video, directed by longtime Kylie Minogue collaborator William Baker, sees Courtney giving pop divas a run for their money with her intoxicating femininity. Current single Ugly is possibly the deepest track lyrically on the EP and is one of Courtney’s favourites, it highlights the negative effects social media can have on your self esteem, its video allows us to see Act successfully express an array of emotions when dealing with her inner demons.
Body Parts sees Courtney explore her sexuality, her vocal performance is somewhat reminiscent of Olivia Newton-John, Kylie Minogue and even Paula Abdul, if you somehow haven’t managed to get any of these songs stuck in your head this is the one! Want to hear some bad girl attitude? Your wish is Courtney’s command with the thumpy and seductive Boys Like Me, the vocals are as captivating as the explosiveness of the arrangement, and the sweetheart we heard in the beginning made way for the more body confident diva we came to know and love on Drag Race. Lastly, Inhale has a completely different vibe than the rest of the EP whilst still fitting in quite well, made up mostly of vocals and a deep bass line it brought some more versatility to the already versatile release.
Kaleidoscope is a vibrant, colourful and meaningful release and easily cements Courtney Act as one of drag’s most talented musical offerings; already having a background in music thanks to Idol (similar to Adore Delano), and her natural God-given talent, helped establish that. You definitely wouldn’t have caught her in the act either, if you weren’t aware of Courtney’s career you would think you were listening to yet another pop diva on the radio. It’s not just drag for performers of Courtney Act’s calibre, it’s a living and a passion and you can easily hear the amount of heart and work that’s gone into the writing and the production of Kaleidoscope. The EP makes for a great listen on a relaxing weekend, or you can listen to it how Courtney recommends you do, which is whilst “jumping on the bed in your pyjamas”.