This week we are sharing our conversation with MK Underwood. A multi talented artist who has done modeling , show management, music and much more in professional career.
Twist Online: First, tell us a little about the start of your professional life?
Mk Underwood: I’ve been singing anywhere I could, since I realized I could. My mom put me in talent shows as a toddler, music programs as a kid, I started writing my own music in high school sharing them at any open mics I could find. By that time, I knew this was the path for me. But it wasn’t until recently, when I entered the world of drag that my world started expanding. Starting out as an artist in Phoenix, you realize just how little opportunity there is for a single person playing the guitar and singing. They tell you it’s all about finding a market, right? That’s exactly what I found. The world of drag. I saw that it already had a dedicated, fanatic following, a show every night of the week (here in Phoenix), and a demand for new, unique performers. I thought, “This is the ticket!” Within a year I had the local entertainer title of Mister Phoenix Gay Pride and I was doing four shows a week!! I gained a following over that year and caught the attention of show promoters all over Arizona. With a lot of hard work and networking, I find myself here, signed with GPME Group, working with one of my dream producers, welcoming exciting new opportunities every week. Working in the world and art of drag has completely transformed me as an artist: I’m not only a singer, I’m a drag performer, actor, makeup artist. I wear clothing that was once a dollar at Goodwill, and is now a custom made masterpiece. Starting off as a drag king was the best thing to ever happen to me!
Twist Online: Modeling, producing shows, music how do you manage all of this? Your fans would like to know your secret.
Mk Underwood: Honestly, I’m new to all of this. Performing and music, I have down. But I just started my modeling portfolio and hope to start work as an androgynous model. I did recently get accepted to walk the run way in San Francisco’s Queer Fashion Week, and I’m stoked about it! I hope to meet a lot of other models and make connections. I’m also going to be producing my first show in June at Crescent Ballroom.. IT’S GONNA SLAAAYYY!!! Phoenix won’t know what hit them. I do tend to get overwhelmed, but I have a pretty good system of making to do lists. The trick is to take things one day at a time, and make sure to complete something every day.
Twist Online: If you are asked to keep only one act, which one will you chose? Model, producer, music artist, or any other?
Mk Underwood: I am first and foremost, a performer. I need to be out on stage making people smile. So I will take music/pop artist, please 🙂
Twist Online: What’s your favorite music genre?
Mk Underwood: To perform, soul would be my favorite. When you’re singing something you can feel, the audience can feel it too. To listen to, I’d say Jazz. I love improvisation, it shows true musicianship and helps me vibe at night.
Twist Online: Tell us more about your personal achievements so far?
Mk Underwood: Every year, I set one BIG goal for myself. Thus far, I have hit all those goals. I’ve performed at main stage at Phoenix Pride, I’ve been signed to an entertainment company, I’ve gained a consistent local following, AND I’ve booked my own show at one of Phoenix’s hippest venues!!
Truthfully, my biggest personal achievement has been staying focused on the goal!! It’s so easy to get distracted and make excuses, but if you want it enough, you will make it happen.
Twist Online: Are you inspired by someone in the industry?
Mk Underwood: I’m most inspired by artists who push boundaries. Whether it be pushing social standards or pushing the boundaries on what we perceive as art. I study the greats like Michael, Prince, Bowie, and Freddie Mercury. I’m inspired EVERYDAY by modern artists like Beyonce, Gaga, Amy Winehouse, Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, etc.
Twist Online: What is the target of your next goal you would like to achieve?
Mk Underwood: My next goal for this year is to complete my EP project. This is my first official introduction into the industry as an original artist and songwriter. It’s currently Untitled, but is in production. I’ll be heading out to LA in a few months to work with one of my dream EDM producers! It’s a dream come true to finally have so many resources at my fingertips!
Twist Online: What is the motivation behind your work?
Mk Underwood: I grew up as a gay/gender queer teen in a conservative, catholic household. Trying to figure out where I fit in this world has been and will be a long journey. As Mister Phoenix Gay Pride, I became someone that the youth looked up to and asked questions. It felt like that was EXACTLY where I was supposed to be. I want to be that openly-queer artist that that gay kid in rural Indiana can look up to. I want to inspire misfits to be themselves, show them that there is a place for everyone in this world. My music and performances will not only push boundaries, but set an example. Currently, there are very few popular, gender queer pop artists. I’m ready to fill that void.
Twist Online: Are you working on anything? When will it be released?
Mk Underwood: This weekend, May 13 th and 14 th , I will be performing at 4am Production’s Drag Time festival. I’m gonna be doing a live tribute to my recently passed idol, Prince. I’ll also be preparing my set for my upcoming shows at and Crescent Ballroom (June 14 th ) Pride in the Pines (June 25 th ). Throughout the year, I’ll be working on my first EP. This will be released in May 2017. I’m also working on my own personal line of clothing/costumes with Rebecca Pierce, owner of Fierce By Pierce (look up on FB). They will be premiered throughout the year.
Twist Online: Are you on Social Media?
Mk Underwood: Yes! Please add me and follow me:
FB: Mk Underwood
YouTube: Mk Underwood