Now look, in this day and age and in this aggressively individualistic gig economy, you gotta do what you gotta do to make a bang for your buck. Pick up a new skill or three, take on a third job or convert your hobbies into a side hustle and try to turn that into your main source of income 🥴 And, the same applies to reality TV show contestants, namely, the drag queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
From building careers as actual Netflix commentators or as Only Fans content creators, drag queens are doing anything and everything to get that coin, but the one joke that’s synonymously tied to them is the eventual tipping point to starting up their own music career. Since 2009, over 153 big and bold personalities have stepped into the workroom, and nearly half of them have tried their luck at live music, but only a fair few have succeeded. These are the 14 best RuPaul’s Drag Race queens who have genuinely great music.
When it comes to Drag Race contestants➡️musicians, All Stars 3 winner Trixie Mattel is it. After her not-so-successful time on season 7, the Wisconsin-born country singer built a name for herself as The Folk Singing Drag Queen, with hits like “Mama Don’t Make Me Put On The Dress Again” off her first major EP Two Birds in 2017, and “Moving Parts” from One Stone in 2018.
Let’s be real for a second, if you’ve watched any of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9 or the latest season of All Stars (5), then you already been knew about this fact: Shea Couleé is a phenomenal performer and rapper, so really, it’s no surprise to see her on this list. Couleé first proved she had the musical chops for big packed out crowds with her 2017 EP, Couleé-D, particularly the viral Azealia Banks meets CupcakKe track “Cocky,” ft. Lila Star and The Vixen. I just wish she released more music 😢.
Australia’s own Courtney Act already had a musical career before Drag Race, competing on the first season of Australian Idol, but has continued on creating Kylie Minogue-inspired pop ballad anthems about bisexuality, fighting for queer rights and more. Back in 2019, she competed to be Australia’s Eurovision selectee with the track “Fight For Love.” Act, Alaska Thunderfuck and Willam were previously part of a girl group trio named AAA.
Fellow season 6 sister and former Idol competitor Adore Delano also had a music career before the show that’s only blown up further since. Delano is a non-binary grunge and punk rock superstar, taking influence from Marilyn Manson, Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse, and telling Alt Press that they’re their happiest when “making trashy, awful music.”
Ginger Minj may have come across as the Florida-based, Divine-inspired Glamour Toad, but beyond her performance on Drag Race, she’s a fantastic, professionally trained theatre performer. In 2015, she released an Amy Winehouse-like single, “Ooh La La,” but it’s this clip of her performing “I Am What I Am” from the Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles that you should really be paying attention to.
Since Drag Race, Aja has distanced themselves from being a drag queen and identifies as a non binary performer who sometimes does drag—a recent self-discovery that’s been met with heavy fan criticism. Their music is characterised by trap bangers, fiery and aggressive rap beats and edgy club sounds. Check out the music video to their Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter inspired diss track, “Finish Her!” below.
Another All Stars winner, Alaska Thunderfuck Aka Drag Race’s biggest fan, has a hilarious self-referential pop meets club music career, parodying Drag Race fandoms, references memes from the show and more. She’s also a great lyricist and conceptual performer, writing the real story about how her ex boyfriend spilt the tea on her All Stars season on “The T”, a song from her sophomore album Poundcake, which featured cameos and references to a majority of the queens and events from the season.
Willam is the third member of AAA and perhaps the most rowdy of Drag Race’s post-season musos, writing dirty and crude parodies of pop songs like Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”
Blair St. Clair
While on the show, Blair St. Clair came across as a shy and reserved little queen who loves Broadway. But, since their first appearance on season 10, they’ve exploded into the pop scene. St. Clair’s music is best described as your classic mainstream pop ballad but visually inspired by old school Hollywood. Case in point, “Now or Never” from their debut album, Call My Life.
Fun fact, Pearl, the trade of season 7, is a Brooklyn-based music producer and club DJ. In 2015, they released their debut EDM album, Pleasure, featuring juicy, beat-dripping club bangers fit for a messy night out in a packed sweaty crowd.
Since her first appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race in season 3, Manila Luzon has, like Alaska, been making self-referential music about her time on the show. In “Go Fish,” she references her shocking elimination on All Stars 4, when Naomi Smalls eliminated her after she made-over her fiancé.
The Frock Destroyers
The Frock Destroyers are a girl group from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK made up of Baga Chips, Divina De Campo and Blu Hydrangea. While on the show, they released the memified and genuine banger, “Break Up Bye Bye,” but just dropped a new single, “Her Majesty.”
Everyone’s favourite drag queen who loves “long walks on the beach, big dicks and fried chicken,” also has a gorgeously soothing singing voice. In the wake of their latest run on the show, All Stars 5, the Boston-based 36-year-old released two EPs, good juju: vol 1 and good juju: vol 2.
Okay look, Katya might not call herself a musician but the part-time “run of the mill, bisexual, Russian transvestite hooker” had the best verse in Drag Race‘s all-time best original remix, “Read U Wrote U.” Plus, in November, she dropped a spooky satanic club EP called Vampire Fitness, featuring a track called “Ding Dong” with Trixie Mattell.