Polari talks to Andi Fraggs about his new show, I Can Take It!, which is playing in the RVT’s Hot August Fringe this Thursday.
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Tell us about your show I Can Take It!, which premiers this Thursday.
The show is a no holds barred look at my life and is very personal, but I think everyone can relate to it. We’ve all overcome hurdles in our lives and I often hear from people who’ve had similar problems to me in their lives and have related to my music in some way. It’s going to be a very emotional performance for me, but I’m sure everyone will leave feeling uplifted. The show is primarily about survival.
I Can Take It! is a musical. Are the songs your own compositions?
I Can Take It! features 12 of my own self written and produced songs – plus costumes and videos for every song. The show will also include covers of classic songs by artists including Kate Bush, Soft Cell and Cyndi Lauper. On the night, the internationally acclaimed pianist and producer Massimo Paramour will be joining me on piano for some of the show.
How did the show evolve and what was the inspiration for its content?
Each song in the show relates to something that has happened in my life, whether it’s suffering bullying throughout , being attacked when I was in my teens, addictions, sexual encounters, friends of mine who haven’t made it to today. It’s also about people around me, who have survived many things, and is a celebration that we are still here today. It also takes a look at authority figures and the hypocrisy which is all around us. The motto of the show is ‘Whatever life throws at me, I know I can take it! Whatever life throws at you, I know you can take it!‘.
Will the show be going further afield than the Vauxhall Tavern or has it been written purely for the Hot August Fringe?
I do have plans to tour the UK with this show in the future but nothing is set in stone yet. I’m also currently in talks to do a tour of schools with a PG rated version of the show, as it features quite a lot about the struggle I’ve had with bullying. I have had an intense fear of schools since I left mine at the age of 14, so that will also be another personal achievement. As you can see, I like putting myself through it for my art!
You released your first album Always First last year. Will the show feature songs from the album?
Yes, I’m pleased to say I’ve managed to work a lot of the songs from the album into this show. I think when people come to see you, they want to hear the songs that mean something to them, so it was important to me that I included songs from Always First, including tracks I wouldn’t always get the opportunity to perform live. I will also be previewing a few songs from my next album, which will be released later this year.
You’ve toured the UK 3 times over the past 18 months, supporting iconic and influential artists including Toyah Willcox, Hazel O’Connor and The Humans. Do you have any plans to tour again?
I’m currently in talks to tour again and that will involve supporting several other great musicians. I can’t say too much at the moment, but the artists who I am in talkswith all had international number 1 singles and have great fan-bases.
You recently performed to around 20,000 people in Trafalgar Square for Pride London. How was that experience for you?
I always like to support Prides and have performed at many all around the UK. I think they are really important events, especially in places where being LGBTQI+ is less acceptable and visible. There were several behind the scenes issues I had with Pride London this year, which many people never got to see or hear about. I was in talks to release a single for them, which would have been great for everyone. Due to mismanagement, despite months of work on my part, it didn’t happen in the end. I had a great time performing on the day and the crowd were really responsive, so that was the best thing to come of a bad situation for me.
Can you tell us some more about your immediate plans for the future?
My plans are to finish my new album, which I’m producing, mixing and mastering myself; to finish my new website, which I’m designing myself; and finish all of my new promotional videos and pictures. There will be a video for every song on my new album. The last album had around 10 music videos and the next one will even surpass that.
I will be releasing a new single with Massimo Paramour called ‘It’s A Celebration’, which I’ve performed live on several occasions. The album will also feature special acoustic versions of songs from my first album, with Massimo on piano. My other plans are to carry on with my human rights work, which involves spreading the word about things that are happening with the hope of changing it. I don’t like what’s happening around the world at the moment and I can’t just sit back and ignore things which make me sick to my stomach. I’m running a new group on facebook, which is open to everyone, called ‘Andi Fraggs Creative Collective’, which involves people posting their work for others to see in a critique-free environment and just encouraging other people to be creative. I’m also currently writing a book about my experiences, which will be a semi autobiographical/self help book.
I’m hoping to spread the word about and support several charities with my future work, including AMC London (Aids Memorial Campaign London), Peter Tatchell Foundation and The Eddie Surman Trust. Put it this way, It’s looking like a busy upcoming year!
Andi Fraggs – I Can Take It! premiers at the RVT Hot August Fringe this Thursday, August 8, at 8pm. Entry is £7.