Performer BeBe Deluxe to Open at Aqua
Singer-songwriter BeBe Deluxe will be performing at Aqua on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights the last three weekends in August. I got a chance to have a wonderfully fun phone call with BeBe, who has been described as a transfeminine indie pop singer-producer and LGBTQ activist. I got to hear all about her music and her plans to visit us.
Where have you been appearing already this season and in the past?
I live in Jacksonville, Florida, and have been performing there for years. Before COVID shut us down, I was performing three nights a week at several places, plus I’ve done the Wigwood Festival in Miami three times, Liquid in Miami, and I’ve participated in the Bushwig Fest in Brooklyn six times. In Jacksonville I perform with a band, but in Rehoboth I’ll be solo.
During COVID things just stopped. We tried doing some limited occupancy gigs, but it wasn’t great. Just recently, with things opening up, I produced and participated in our local Pride festival and now I’m coming to Rehoboth!
Have you visited Rehoboth before? If not, what have you heard, lol!
I’m excited. I heard that Aqua is just two blocks off the beach! Once Kevin, the owner at Aqua, saw my show and invited me to Rehoboth, I’ve been obsessed about it, looking up things to do and see. I told a friend it sounds a little like P-town and I can’t wait to be there.
So tell me about your music. What can we expect?
I do some country music, jazz. I’m a crooner, but it’s all definitely with an electronic sound. I produce my own tracks, do some covers, some originals. My music is R&B/pop fusion.
What’s your style; who can we compare you with?
Hmmm.… I’m like the result of in-vitro between k.d. lang, Cyndi Lauper, and Bugs Bunny.
Seriously, he’s a queer icon. Bugs in drag is the ultimate!
(Author’s note: I was fascinated and looked it up. This year we’re celebrating Bugs Bunny’s 80th birthday on HBOMax, and I saw an ad for a Tik-Tok What’s Up Doc online challenge. The nationwide publicity says we’re celebrating Bugs for his gender fluidity and awesome drag. Who knew? I didn’t.)
Can you tell us a bit about your transgender journey?
Sure. I did about a decade of drag, doing lip sync and singing, and for me, it was really the only way I could express the lady inside of me. I had to be an illusion, sexy, plastic hair, heels. But I really wanted to express myself as more of a musician and not worry so much about the illusion. But I saw that a lot of queers were relegated to being just funny, sexy drag queens. After a while, I wasn’t very happy doing drag.
So what did you do to change that?
I realized I had to walk away from drag and live in my female gender. My performing name is BeBe Deluxe. To my family and partner of 11 years, I’m Beatrice Bernadette; they call me Beatrice, and I live a she/her kind of life.
And I understand it, you are committed to educating folks about the trans community. Tell me about your conversations.
I’ve been asked to speak at the University of North Florida and talk at other schools and to groups. I try to present information about trans lives in a fun way, but also make certain that the public knows we are real people, just like they are. I share new terminology. If I’m talking to young queer people, I try to help them navigate past the barriers to success.
So many people talk about the transgender experience like it’s just a buzzword and don’t see us as the people we are in real life. We’re here, we’re just like you, please leave us alone! ▼
You can find BeBe Deluxe’s music, videos, and merchandise online at BeBe-Deluxe.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Hear her on Spotify and Amazon.
Fay Jacobs is the author of five published books and is touring with her one-woman sit-down comedy show, Aging Gracelessly.