Kimberly Wyatt on Don’t Cha Disco and love for the queer community: ‘They make me feel alive’

Grammy-nominated artist Kimberly Wyatt has spoken to PinkNews about stepping out solo, learning from drag queens and how the queer community has always embraced her with open arms.

Wyatt achieved worldwide success as part of pop behemoth The Pussycat Dolls, but now the former girl group diva will be bringing the finest pop throwbacks to The Clapham Grand as part of The Grand Pride After Party on 1 July, in one of the stops for the iconic one woman show, Don’t Cha Disco.

Wyatt’s desire to “create experiences and moments” for her fans follows a triumphant outing at Mighty Hoopla and the Isle of Wight festivals. The Don’t Cha Disco shows see her not only spin the decks as a fully fledged DJ, but also bust some gag-worthy dance moves accompanied by the very best queer talent.

PinkNews: Why did you give the world Don’t Cha Disco?

Wyatt: “We’ve all been through so much in the past few years that we need a space for joy and celebration, and finding our fire and owning our space and just having a bit of a boogie together.

“The Pussycat Dolls have my heart, we’ve been through so much and been around the world, and being able to pull from that, and bring DJ-ing and dancing into a show to celebrate everything that we accomplished together, is really exciting.

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“I love being on stage but it’s nice to finally have a home where I feel that exactly who I am as a person and a performer is accepted.”

As you say, Don’t Cha Disco is an amalgamation of your past experiences, but it’s also exclusively your own. What has it meant to step out and create something independently?

“It feels like destiny. It is mine, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s allowed me to enter these spaces with people who I’ve connected with on such a deep level for such a long time. When I’m on stage, I create a space for you to own your space, feel free enough to be joyous and to love the skin that you’re in. And we’re all pining for those spaces.

“That’s why Hoopla was amazing, and judging a Sink the Pink competition when Bimini (Bon Boulash) was crowned… seeing what these spaces do for people. Being able to close out Pride in that way, and bring people together. Your vibe attracts your tribe, and it’s good to finally find my tribe again.”

Kimberly Wyatt performing at Mighty Hoopla. (Supplied)

On the subject of safe spaces, what is your relationship like with your queer fans?

“It means everything to me. I come from the dance community, and that’s where a lot of people who feel that they want to perform and need a safe space go. My relationship with the queer community goes so deep and that’s where I found my space, that’s where I feel accepted and seen.

“They let me own the way I dance and create a safe space to celebrate that. My friends, these brilliant queens such as Deziah, Paige Three, Asttina Mandella and Bimini, seeing what they have to go through just to feel safe to go from one space to another is unbelievable. I feel we have to speak up for ourselves – it’s needed in this very divided world.”

And what have you learnt from your queer peers and colleagues?

“They’re a reminder of what makes me feel alive. When we shot the promo for Don’t Cha Disco, it wasn’t just the performance and the hair and the makeup and the costume, it’s being surrounded by people who love it too.

“I remember my hat fell off, and Paige and Asttina were like: “Who’s the queen in the room now.”

Don’t Cha Disco has hits from lots of divas, from Beyoncé to Britney Spears. Who is your pop diva?

P!nk. She came to me at a time in my life when I needed to feel that my eccentricities were OK and accepted. She asked me to be in her “Trouble” video and to stand next to her and she’s just such a soft human and a brilliant artist, but has this real punk rock vibe about her.

“She has continually been an inspiration. She’s mind-blowing. And my whole journey has been so similar with being punk as a Pussycat Doll, and tapping into that masculine-meets-feminine energy.”

What’s it like being a female DJ in such a male-dominated field?

“A lot of times, male DJs will make it difficult for you. They’ll try to mess with the deck when you’re at the club, just to see if you know your stuff.

“But I fell in love [with the industry] and went to Run DMC’s Scratch DJ Academy, and I always had this idea with DJ Esquire about creating this set. But it was always about something much bigger in my head, that no DJs were doing, male or female.”

What does it mean to you to be named “Mother” by the gays?

“It’s lovely. I think I’m still coming to terms with it. I love teaching the next generation of dancers and empowering them and helping them find their fire. Often [with] boys, sometimes gay, we just have this connection where I’m able to bring out their artistry. That comes from a mother role.”

And what do you hope people take away from Don’t Cha Disco?

“Your job as a performer is to help people in times of trouble to forget every-day worries, and enjoy the moment. I really hope we’re able to create those moments for people. That’s ultimately what it’s about.”

Tickets for Don’t Cha Disco with Kimberly Wyatt at The Clapham Grand for The Clapham Grand Pride Afterparty on 1 July are available now.