Constantly writing songs with a gritty feel and his signature tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, the singer has enjoyed hit after hit with tracks including "I Seen Beyonce at Burger King," the unabashedly raunchy "All Over Your Face" (initially banned from LOGO), everyone’s favorite campy Summer anthem "Ice Cream Truck" and many more. Unafraid of flipping the commonly accepted gender roles of the urban music world, Cazwell has undeniably paid his dues by doing his part to increase the profile and acceptability of gay entertainers in the public eye.
Cazwell’s latest singles – "Unzip Me," featuring Peaches, and "Rice and Beans" – have been very well received by fans and press alike, with recent features on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio, Huffington Post, Fleshbot, Perez Hilton and xoJane.com. Cazwell has over ten million combined views on YouTube and VEVO and sold over one million downloads – a feat made even more impressive by the fact that he is a completely independent artist distributed through Brooklyn-based indie label Peace Bisquit. For those who just can’t get enough of the hunky musician, the latest season of his hit show "Boombox" will also return to Here TV for Round 3 this Fall. Featured in a SNOG Frozen Yogurt commercial that aired across Europe, chosen as national ambassador or Société Perrier along with muse Amanda Lepore, performing for huge crowds internationally (including forthcoming ‘Summer Rites’ in the UK and ‘Poptronik Festival’ in Barcelona) and with new album Hard 2B Fresh in the works, this truly unique artist has already accomplished great things and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer/songwriter/producer? I was inspired by the MTV era, when MTV was all about the videos. I used to love the "making of the video" series. I always wanted to make music videos—good ones. That was my goal. I took acting classes throughout my childhood. I loved the idea of being onstage, but saying someone else’s words never seemed rewarding. I dreamed of getting onstage and rapping my own lyrics to great music. I knew it was the only way I would feel fulfilled.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Missy Elliott is at the top of my list. Her talent and creativity have always had a huge influence on me.
3. You are one of the early artists in the music industry to be open about your sexuality. What made you want to be out from the start? How do you feel this openness has helped other artists come out? When I first started making music, I was in a group called Morplay with a butch lesbian. We had both come out as teenagers—everyone in our small Massachusetts city knew we were gay. Going back in wasn’t an option for us. I think that being out really helped other performers I’ve met to come out and stay out of the closet. I’ve been told that I’ve proven to a lot of kids that it’s actually possible to be out and successful.
4. Your music is a brilliant mix of electrified dance and old-school hip-hop. What is it about these two genres that made you want to combine them together? I’m always inspired by what I hear in the clubs. The most powerful music is the music that makes me want to dance. I was lucky that my management at Peace Bisquit initiated a relationship between myself and West End Records. That partnership granted me access to all of their classic disco samples and I felt like my lyrics really complimented their classic tracks. Those tracks became "All Over Your Face," "Watch My Mouth," and "Get Into It." I'll be releasing another song from the West End sessions called "Let's Go Dancing" on my forthcoming album.
5. Your songs and videos such as "Ice Cream Truck," "Rice and Beans," "Unzip Me," and "I Seen Beyonce At Burger King" are very fun with a tongue-n-cheek sense of humor. How did you decide this is the style of lyrics you wanted to write? How do you come up with the concepts design of your music videos? Just like anyone else, I’m inspired by the people I surround myself with. My friends tend to be very funny—they talk the craziest shit. I'm sure that most of my ideas came out of conversations I had with them. For example, I wrote "Beyonce at BK" right after I heard Jonny Makeup do this twenty-minute monologue about how he met Beyonce at American Apparel. I still don't know if it’s true, but who cares? It was just so funny to hear. I just want the video to look like how the song sounds. "Beyonce at BK" (Directed by Francis Legge and Bec Stupak) was very cartoony, "Tonight" (Directed by Robert Jason and Eric Miclette) was more dramatic, and "Ice Cream Truck" (Directed by Marco Ovando) was a colorful cute summer jam. I try to make videos that visualize the mood of the song.
6. You have worked with one of today's biggest artists, Lady Gaga. You are featured on her hit song "Just Dance" and opened up for her on tour. What was the best part about working with her and what did you learn from her? I am featured on the remix package for "Just Dance." I performed with her a couple of times before she got super famous, and Amanda Lepore and I opened for her for her first Fame Ball. She always took herself and her live performance very seriously--whether it was at a dive bar or on a big stage with an amazing sound system. I really respect that about her.
7. You frequently collaborate with Amanda Lepore. How did the two of you start working together? What do you like most about collaborating with her? I love working with Amanda because she's always inspiring me. She is a constant reminder that anything is possible and to always be true to yourself. The first song I wrote for her was "Champagne." I was at her birthday party and I saw her sipping a glass of champagne, looking glamorous as always, and I thought ‘that vision deserves a song,’ so I went home and wrote it that night. The rest is history.
8. As if your recording career isn't keeping you busy enough, you also host weekly parties at NYC's G Lounge and Fairytales and the third season of "Boombox" is back on Here TV! What made you want to have this kind of show? What do you get from working in television that you do not get from strictly recording? I love being on television. Here TV had the idea of having me host a show that would introduce music videos to their channel. I wanted to use the show as a platform bring more attention to some lesser known bands and artists in the New York scene. The show has offered an amazing opportunity for me to meet more musicians through my interviews. I would love to do more television work!
9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer/songwriter/producer? I've learned that my creativity comes from trusting myself. It sounds corny, but it’s true. I learned to go with the flow and stop putting pressure on myself to constantly have some big, award-winning song. Sometimes the simplest idea that seems so small will turn out huge.
10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Smile.
11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Kicking it on the couch watching Judge Judy and eating Thai food.
12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Everyone wants to know how you keep that slamming body! Don’t eat processed food, stay away from red meat, avoid alcohol, and buy a juicer!!! Use your juicer twice a day! And get on that stairmaster!
13. Boxers or Briefs? Boxers and boxer briefs.
14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? To know when someone is lying, and to see people’s true intentions.