Carson Kressley, the fashion guru of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, has been attached to some unusual projects since his Bravo makeover show bounced into the mainstream last year. He is a columnist for Us Weekly, an NBA pitchman and a sought-after author with a book on men's fashion published by Dutton and due out in the fall. Last week, Kressley and his Queer Eye pals released a compilation of songs related to the show. The next day, he made his debut as a DJ at a benefit for the Archive of Contemporary Music at S.O.B.'s in Manhattan, alongside Beastie Boy Mike D and others -- spinning records for the first time. ("Can I just bring a compilation CD?" Kressley asked the evening's chief DJ and was told he had to bring actual vinyl. "Vinyl?" he responded. "I don't own anything vinyl.") As he prepared for another Queer Eye show season, Kressley sat down to dish about music.
How did this album come about? Did you guys pick the artists?
Essentially, all the artists were either favorites of the Fab Five or favorites of the creator of the show. We were fortunate enough to work with Capitol Records, and they were so gracious, and they asked us, "Who are some of your favorite artists?" and the CD came into being. I think we were all, like, "We can do a soundtrack? Who are we, the Captain and Tennille all of a sudden?"
So who are the artists on the soundtrack that you're most excited about?
Certainly Widelife and Simone Denny. We had the chance to work with them during the making of the video, and again it was, like, "We're making a video?" All of a sudden we were like the gay Menudo -- only really old. That song ["All Things," the show's theme] is so catchy and so great, and we hear it all the time, hundreds and hundreds of times, and the day we made the video we probably heard it, like, 500 times, and we're like, "We're not even sick of it yet."
Kylie Minogue holds a special place in my heart. I've loved her since the eighth grade, with "The Locomotion." ... Kylie actually came on the set and did some Hip Tips with us on the show, and we were all scared and intimidated. I mean, she's like the Madonna of Australia. ... My other favorites are Duran Duran -- I mean again it's like eighth grade; I had the album, and I was in love with all of them. ... And last but not least Elton John with "Are You Ready for Love?" because it's a great song with a great message and, hi, it's Elton.
So is this the weirdest thing you guys have been associated with because of the show?
I don't know if it's weird, but it's definitely one of the more unexpected things. It does make sense, because one of the most important things about the show and one of the cool things is the music that underlies the montages and the story lines. It's also kind of a natural, because one of the things we talk about on the show is culture.
And how important is music to you personally?
Music is a huge inspiration and a motivation. The coolest thing about fashion shows sometimes is that even when the clothes aren't that good, the music is always amazing. I love so many different kinds of music. In my stereo now I have Dolly Parton and Kylie Minogue and this new artist Ben Jelen, and I love dance music and Cher, of course. I love country and dance music and everything in between.
Were there other artists you wanted?
Well, all the people we have are our favorites, but they're not all of our favorites. We hope to do a series of these so we'll get to some more. And, of course, there will be Carson Kressley Sings Your Favorite Polka Tunes From the Early and Mid-Sixties.
With Jai [Rodriguez, "Queer Eye" culture chief] starting his recording career, will there be a Carson CD to follow?
No. Oh god, no. I put the "C" in "Caucasian." I cannot even dance, let alone play an instrument.
How do you find time for everything -- the show, the book, the Us Weekly column?
You just squeeze it all in. ... You have to prioritize. We shoot the show three days a week, and I try to do as much as I can on the weekends. And it's really important to still have a life, like the DJing thing I'm doing, that's just fun. ... I'm like Visa. I'm everywhere you want to be.