Boy George has been an iconic figure in pop culture since his days with Culture Club. After going solo, he's had a long journey that's taken him through several albums alongside a career as a DJ and a regular fixture in tabloids. But now he returns to Miami where he'll play his first live solo preformance in the United States in a decade at Mana Wynwood Art Basel Festival and also will bring his DJ act to Mansion. We spoke with Boy George about his hiatus, his new music and his coming preformances.
How did it feel returning to the United States earlier this year for the first time in a decade?
I had an amazing trip and because I was unrecognisable to everyone I was able to walk around freely which was a new experience. I also got to find out that there is in fact a huge appetite for authentic house music and not just the big bombastic stadium dance that has become popular. I love America and I have seriously missed being here so when I got through customs I did a little dance.
You had a nearly decade-long hiatus between "You U Can Never B2 Straight" and "Ordinary Alien." Why such a long break? Is there anything you learned during that hiatus that affected your music?
Well, that's what the blurb says but of course I've done other stuff like my collaboration with Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt and Antony & The Johnson's. Most of my music has been electronically based so this album is the first 'studio based' live record I've made since 'Cheapness & Beauty' which was eighteen years ago.
Tell us about your new album. What is unique about the album compared to previous records?
I feel that I have made a record that reflects who I am now and it's been received very well. "Leonard Cohen meets Burning Spear' 'Bob Dylan' and 'comeback of the year'. As an artist who has hardly ever received good 'musical' reviews I am of course delighted. This record is breezy and content. None of the early drama and overproduction of the 80s. My old songs were very much 'oh woe is me' and I just don't feel like that these days. You can only ever be who you are right now and I'm a more relaxed, reflexive and focussed person. I have been involved in dance music for the past twenty years and it's a very progressive and ever-evolving scene so I haven't had to think about nostalgia or what I used to be. Having a second career in dance music has helped me to stay in the moment and because I don't have to live in the past I now have a very respectful relationship with my legacy. Any artist who is shackled to their past must feel utter contempt for nostalgia. For me, it's utter fun because it feels refreshing being back on stage and even doing some of the old songs feels perfect. This new album translates perfectly to the live stage as well and I have an awesome band who I would love to bring to America.
Have you ever been to Art Basel Miami Beach in the past? What do you like about Miami in general?
I haven't been to Art Basel before but obviously I love Miami and these days I have fun wherever I go. I don't understand people who say they hate this place or that place. You can always have a great time anywhere but you need to adapt to the place and take things in. What's not to love about Miami, it's hot and it's pretty.
What can we expect from your show in Miami?