Music Review – “I Was Born This Way” by VIZIN
Pop-recording artist VIZIN is a Native American drag queen who lost 500 pounds, from 700 pounds to 200 pounds. And her new dance single, “I Was Born This Way”, is a remake of the 1975 song written by Chris Spierer for Motown artists Valentino and Carl Bean that’s been spinning in seven countries.
VIZIN is working on “I Was Born This Way” with world-renowned remixer Hector Fonseca (Over 20 Billboard #1 remixes including Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Sia and Katy Perry) and producer Chris Rosa (RuPaul). She’s currently launched her “I Was Born This Way” coast-and-coast tour starting with Long Beach Pride where she shared the festival bill with Chaka Khan and Jodi Watley, with dates in Las Vegas, LA, Hollywood, San Francisco and NYC.
Some trivia about Vizin
- Since childhood, Barbie has been an inspiration to Vizin and this video was shot at the “The Pink Suite” (Barbie suite) at The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas.
· Vizin’s three inspirations are all given a tribute in the video: Mariah Carey (Her look on the bench between the poodle statues), Marilyn Monroe (Her retro look on the bed) and Barbie (The suite)
· Though other artists have covered this song over the years, original songwriter Chris Spierer told Vizin that this was his favorite reimagined version of the song.
· Many queens lip-sync instead of sing, but Vizin is the real deal and her singing voice has often been compared to disco-darling Sylvester.
· VIZIN had a five-octave range. Then … puberty. Oops.
A version of “I Was Born This Way” was also used for designer Marco Marco’s “A Night In The Red Light” show
Fun fact: When you have a wardrobe malfunction during your first official night in drag and your breast accidentally lights up in the middle of the club. Oops!
Album Title: “I Was Born This Way”
A remix of a 1975 song by the same title written by Bunny Jones and Chris Spierer, VIZIN’s variation of “I Was Born This Way,” came in two variations, the non-mixed and the mixed, but to familiarize myself with the song, I took a ride on the way back wagon and tracked down the original, which proved to be an interesting challenge, mixed in the way it was with all the Lady Gaga videos.
In listening to the VIZIN variation, I still got the theme, flavor and passion of the original song, along with the wonderful dance beat. A great song for clubs, it’s got rhythm and a fast enough tempo to make it, if not quite old disco, close enough for the go-go boots to work. In fact, in doing a little reading, I discovered that the original was classified as disco as first recorded by Valentino and later by Carl Bean.
While both the VIZIN cover and it’s remix are catchy, the remix truly has that club flavor, with added beats and synth to create that real, overall dance club vibe to it. One of the things I really enjoyed about all of the variations of the song, both the original and VIZIN’s versions, was the way it celebrated being proud of who you are. I felt like the song was all about being happy in one’s own skin, and celebrating the person you are, not the person other people think you should be.
With lines like. “Now I won’t judge you, you don’t judge me, we’re all the way, nature chose for us to be,” “I Was Born This Way” reads as a sort of anthem song for anyone and everyone proud of who they are.
VIZIN’s delivery is enthusiastic and pleasant to listen to, an impassioned delivery of a song she clearly feels a strong connection to. I loved the brightness of the video that went along with it, the colors reminded me of a mix of disco and drag, joyous, fun, pastel at times, with a hint of storytelling.
After hearing her delivery of “I Was Born This Way,” I found myself curious to see what else would be on the debut album when it comes out. “I was Born This Way,” has been recorded over the years by such artists as Jade Electra and Carl Bean , It also inspired Lady Gaga to write her own variation of the song, “Born this way” which gives a nod to the original. Over the years there have been several remixes, many that have gone on to be popular among the crown in the club scene.
In looking in the archives at Queer Music Heritage (http://www.queermusicheritage.com/jun2002v.html) I learned that Bunny Jones wrote the lyrics as a sort of protest song, a song which proved to be Valentino’s coming out story when he choose to be the first to record it. Before the Village People, there was “I Was Born This Way,” and now, over forty years later, VIZIN has done a wonderful job of making it her own.
Rating Tag: Sassy, Expressive, Up-tempo Disco
Rating: “I was Born This Way” 4.5