It’s Big Freedia’s world and we’re all just living in it. Big Freedia, Queen Diva, has both a big music following and a big personality, but also is big in business. The New Orleans-born and bred entrepreneur not only pioneered the popularity of bounce music, but is also known for her cooking and cookbook (set for release in 2018), her fashion-forward style, acting roles in television and on the big screen, a reality television program, a recently published memoir and the launch of a new rosé, a wine previously only available in Spain.
Born Frederick Ross, Freedia began performing by singing in the church choir, and later adopted the fabulous stage name Big Freedia, Queen Diva not long after performing as a backup dancer and inspired by her mother’s club called Diva. Freedia’s career took off on the music scene in the 2000’s, and the star soon began performing and touring nearly non-stop; a dedicated work habit that remains to today. She collaborated with Beyonce on the ground-breaking single “Formation,” and pop-artist Sia in 2015, and has plans for a new solo album on the horizon.
Big Freedia will bring her ever-innovative and iconic performance to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Saturday, April 28, and is featured in a regal portrait on this year’s Congo Square poster by Kevin Brisco (see our Art column this month for a profile of the artist).
Q: Between on-stage, on-screen, behind the scenes and on the page, is there anything Queen Diva can’t do? Doubtful. We recommend just sitting back and enjoying the ride along with Big Freedia. There’s no telling what she has next up her well-styled sleeve.
Q: Who inspires your music style? Beyonce, Patti LaBelle, Little Richard, Michael Jackson, and Kanye.
Q: On a similar note, who inspires your fashion sense? There are so many, I take my cues from lots of different people. Liberace, David Bowie, Beyonce, Rhianna, Prince, & Michael Jackson….
Q: It seems you are on tour more than the average performer. What do you like most and least about touring around the U.S. and in Europe? What I like most: meeting all the fans all over the world, traveling to new cultures and seeing new things. What I like least: The plane rides and airports.
Q: When you are home, you cook a lot of delicious dishes that you post to Instagram, but where are your favorite places to go out to eat in New Orleans? Neyow’s Creole Cafe and Deanie’s Seafood are my go-tos.
Q: On that same note, what is your favorite thing to cook? I have so many favorite things but lately I love making shrimp and grits & my booty poppin’ potatoes are always crowd pleasers.
Q: Is there anything you haven’t done that is still on your “to-do” list? Oh yes. I really want to go to Africa…which I am going for New Years’ this year!
Q: What are you looking forward to about performing at Jazz Fest this year? Jazz Fest is one of my favorite festivals of all time. Food, food, music, music, food, music.
Q: Who and what are on your “must see” and “must eat” list at Jazz Fest? Must See: Aretha Franklin! Must eat: Crawfish bread.
At a Glance
Profession: Bounce Artist Resides: New Orleans Born: January 28 Education: USL Favorite Book: My memoir, “God Save the Queen Diva!” Favorite Movie: Black Panther Favorite TV show: Law & Order and Forensic Files Favorite Food: Fried chicken with cabbage
True Confession: I’m addicted to ice… I chew it 24-7.