A Conversation with Boy George – HuffPost 4.14.15
Mike Ragogna: George, you’ll be premiering a new reality series. How is this going to work?
Boy George: Well, it’s something I’ve been asked to do before, it’s not the first time I’ve been approached but it really wasn’t something I’d ever really considered in the past. It’s not something I would think of doing in the UK because we just don’t have it down like you guys do. We tend to work the American ones, and they’re the popular ones. Somehow the other way around, it sort of works. When you do an interview in the UK, the first question’s always something really depressing like, “Tell us about the worst point in your life.” [laughs] That’s the starting point and you think, “Where’s it going to go from here if that’s your first question?” “Tell me when you were most unhappy.”
No, I’m in a really good mood! I feel like I’m in quite a happy place. I invest a lot in happiness. One of the things I love about L.A. is there’s a lot of positivity there. I hope that will come across in the show. But no one really knows what it’s going to be! I asked that question very early on, but it’s one of those things where until you turn on the cameras and put all the characters in place and do it you really don’t know what it’s going to be. If you watch an early episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashiansit’s very different to what it is now. I think part of the excitement for me is that I really don’t know what it’s going to be.
MR: According to your quote, I think we have a hint of what it’s going to be like. “If Marge Simpson met Dolly Parton and went dancing with Ziggy Stardust.”
BG: [laughs] That’s just what goes on in my head! That’s obviously just a colorful quip, but I guess how hard can it be to be myself?
MR: Nice. So we’ve seen the entertainer Boy George as a solo artist, as a member of Culture Club, and you’ve participated in other creative configurations. So who really is Boy George these days?
BG: I like to think I’m a little more chilled out. As I said earlier, I invest a lot in being happy, it’s a big thing for me. I want to bring people into the creative process. I’ve got lots of exciting projects coming up. But eventually it’s really just me being me. I’m a Gemini, there’s a lot of personalities going on. [laughs] I’m approaching the change, as well. [laughs]
MR: Is it possible this series is a vehicle for your own rediscovery?
BG: I think, in a funny way, I’m more creative now than I’ve ever been. I’m having a kind of creative Renaissance. It’s a wonderful opportunity to have a platform to bring all of that stuff to public attention.
MR: I know you’re still putting the pieces together, but how do you think your series might differ from other reality shows?
BG: That is a really big question. I’m not sure how we’ll change it up. Obviously I’m me, and those other shows don’t have me. As far as I know I’m not a Kardashian. If you compare The Kardashians to The Osbournes, it’s a totally different vibe. The Osbournes have that great British explosive emotion. The Kardashians are a little bit more calm. Even when they’re getting annoyed they’re quite linear and they’re quite controlled. I don’t know if I’m like that, I’m probably going to find out a lot of stuff about myself.
MR: How do you feel about your contributions to music and pop culture to this point?
BG: It’s an ongoing process for me. In a funny way, I’m more excited about what I’m doing now than I was twenty years ago. I’m very into now. The past has allowed me to be who I am right now and I’m very grateful for that, but I think it’s important to have a healthy respect for the past but not to wallow in it. Now is always the most exciting time. I just feel that I’m ready for a new adventure and something quite extreme, something quite different to what I’ve been doing. Coming to America, uprooting myself from the UK, it’s going to change the alchemy of my life. I’m kind of excited by that.
MR: Beautiful. What advice do you have for new artists?
BG: I think you have to be really focused on what it is you want to achieve, you have to be able to take criticism and the knocks and all that and you’ve got to just stay focused. If you want it badly enough you will get there, but you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. I think you also have to operate from your heart chakra. You have to really come from your heart and soul. That’s how you connect with people. Whenever I’m working with young singers it’s the first thing I always say–connect to what you’re doing emotionally, that’s the key. That’s what makes people out there feel something and connect with you. I think that’s the most important advice I’d give anyone.
MR: What do you feel has been your biggest growth?
BG: I’m happy. [laughs loudly] I think the biggest thing of all is that I finally like myself. Not in a kind of egotistical, self-obsessed way, but I quite like being me now. I think it’s been a long struggle to get to the point where I’m pretty happy in my skin. I’ve grown up a lot in the past few years, I’ve become a bit more grounded, a bit more Zen. I feel pretty happy.
MR: And I hope you’re happy about making so many people happy throughout your career. So many really appreciate you and what you’ve added to their lives.
BG: Thank you, that’s a really sweet thing to say.
Transcribed by Galen Hawthorne