Septimius somehow remains mysterious even though he puts a lot of himself out there.
First, he goes by Septimius the Great, a Roman emperor who conquered the Parthian Empire, which, we assume, is a lot to live up to. Septimius (the singer, not the emperor) says he is influenced most by "diversity and adversity," which is simulatenously confusing and intriguing.
A few minutes spent on his website, septimiusthegreat.com, and you're deeply immersed in striking fashion, tunes such as "Iam Fashion" and "Zodiac Lover," and a photo of him sitting on a "human throne" (pictured here in all its glory).
"I like to try new things and things that are not of the norm," said the 34-year-old, who grew up in Park Heights and now lives in Silver Spring. "I like to conquer things that people say I would never accomplish."
With his debut album, called, naturally, "To Be Emperor," coming out next Tuesday, we thought it was a good time to request an awkward audience with the Emperor. And he graciously obliged.
You named yourself after a Roman emperor. Shouldn't you have started less grandly, say, a Roman senator or general?
Well, Septimius was an actual Roman emperor from Africa, who reigned the Roman empire from 193 to 211 AD. So I decided to use a power name matched with my fashion style and music to create a twist to the historical legend of Septimius Severus (known as the Black Roman Emperor).
What's the protocol when meeting Septimius the Great? A bow or a curtsey?
Definitely a bow (curtsey is for ladies not men).
Your debut album, out Feb. 19, is called "To Be Emperor." What's the most difficult burden of being an Emperor?
The burden of being looked up to even though you are a new to the game but a leader must learn to lead with the right team around him. People think that you have everything when sometimes in reality you are still acquiring.
You say on your website that fashion and history inspire your songwriting and performances. But which period in history are you least interested in?
Disco is the least interesting era in music and fashion.
In your song "Who's the Sexiest?" you call your complexion "roasted almond butter brown." What's the best way to achieve that look?
Having good genes, African American heritage (or a good tan), plenty of water and daily skin care regimen.
You play the Arena Sports Lounge in Queens on Valentine's Day. Will you have any time for love?
NO. The love in my life is music. We got engaged in June 2010 and got married in July 2011. So the love of my life is my music which makes my Valentine's Day lonely but with lots of stage fun.
You've had experience in beauty pageants. Any chance we can expect a duet with Honey Boo Boo in the future?
Hell to the no; not my thang but to each his own. Just not with me.
You've shared the stage with some great divas: Deborah Cox, Patti Labelle, Jennifer Holliday, RuPaul. Who comes the closest to being as stylish as you are?
Well, since I'm known for high fashion costumes and drama then my closest diva/divo would be RuPaul, but I'm more like a brother of Lady Gaga.
Do you think you could have prevented the fall of the Roman empire?
I don't think I could live in that era of backstabbing, deceit, and blood and death, but Septimius Severus managed to be one of the few emperors to not be murdered by his family or other people and died of natural causes.
So the fall of Rome would have happened with or without me and my efforts. So I would have did as most as I could and reigned to the fullest and by all means necessary.
Complete this sentence: When it comes to Septimius' fashion, I can never have enough ...
Of my long capes and flowing fabrics.