Laganja Estranja Celebrates 420 With a Smoking New Song

19 Min Read
Laganja Estranja
Screenshot via YouTube

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Drag Race alum – and iconic lip sync assassin – Laganja Estranja is back with new music, just in time for your 4/20 festivities. Her latest single, “Daily Basis,” is accompanied by an electrifying new video conceptualized by Laganja and her longtime collaborator Robert Hayman. It sees Laganja take center stage, rapping, choreographing, and looking fierce doing it. “Daily Basis,” along with her previous singles, including the sexy “Daddy” and “Hypeman,” will appear on her long-awaited debut album HIGHconic, coming out later this year.

We had the chance to chat with this super-talented performer and activist about her new video, her passion for music, and her many travels in our exclusive interview. 

I love the new song. I love the new video – although it made me want ramen really bad! 
Hey, that's not a bad thing!  

I know you've worked with Robert Hayman again because you worked with him on your earlier videos. How did the idea for this video come about? 
Yeah, so Robert and I have been collaborating now, oh my gosh, almost a decade together. He did “Daddy” and he did “Hypeman”, so this is the third music video that he's directed.  We really wanted to do a one take. This is something that we've always dreamed of doing, mostly because like with “Daddy”, where I did 13 looks, it can be quite complicated. He and I have a very imaginative mind, so we were like, well, if it's a one take, it'll be easier because I'll be in one outfit and we can just like run through it seamlessly. 

That's sort of how the idea came about. We wanted to be able to showcase the fact that I can dance and sing at the same time. I feel like a lot of days things are now so highly edited. We both come from a live theater background so we really wanted to showcase that with the video. 

Now let's talk about the look. I loved it. Where did, who designed that for you?
I work with an amazing designer in Thailand, ARMDS Couture. He’s an amazing designer. We gave him the reference of Linda Evangelista – there’s a very famous ad of her wearing Chanel. Usually Versace is my normal vibe, but this is a Chanel ad where she’s covered in pearls and chains. So, he took that as inspiration and we just kind of let him do his own thing and run wild with it and I love what he created with a lot of movement with the chains. I think it just really represents my brand really well.

I love the hat.
Thank you. Super fun, right? We really wanted to create a dramatic intro and we thought what better way to do that than concealing my face with a giant brimmed shiny black patent leather hat?

When you put a video together, what is your creative process?
Yeah, so again, alongside Robert Hayman, we're always working together to figure everything out. So, I think for us, the location was how we started this process. We didn't know exactly what we wanted. Originally, we were going to shoot it in downtown, but when we found out how expensive permits were going to be, we realized that we needed to find a space that had a downtown element to it, but that was all indoors and we were lucky enough to find this incredible space on Peerspace.

And, you know, I love ramen. I love Japanese culture. So, we were thrilled because that wasn't in our original idea but when it came to us, we were like, oh, perfect – but let's really feed into this idea of being in a Japanese town at night.

And from there, the look came second. That was definitely the second part. I knew I wanted it to be black and gold. It just felt like it really went with that urban street vibe. And then, third was the choreography. I usually would do something much more complicated, but I really wanted to have a dance that was repeatable and that other people could learn and join in on the fun. I've actually been able to teach the dance twice already, once at the University of Boston and once recently at the University of South Carolina and being able to just teach the dance to all the kids and have them stand up and do it with me while I perform the song was so fun. It made me really happy because – I'll be honest – usually I find TikTok dances to be a very watered-down version of good dance but I see now that the accessibility to it is what makes it so unique.

Now this song and your previous songs are coming on your long-awaited album, HIGHconic, along with three new songs. Can you give me a little teaser of what we can expect.
Sure. I definitely want to have more of a pop vibe. I think people really responded well to my single “Poison Ivy” because it was the first time I pushed my music genre into the pop realm. We're definitely going to be incorporating more singing in these three new songs. But you're also going to finally get the debut song, “HIGHconic”.  There are also several collaborations in the process. No one's officially signed yet, so I don't want to say names, but I'm definitely working alongside some very famous rappers themselves, female rappers themselves so we're really hoping to land those collabs because I think that's what will really push this album over the top.

What do you enjoy the most about creating music? 
Being in the being in the recording studio, you know, I grew up admiring Britney Spears with every fiber of my being. There's just something about being in the recording studio. I always wear heels. It's very part of my recording process. I need to be in high heels to really feel the energy of Laganja. And, you know, just being with my team. Big Snow Entertainment, BSE, they're an incredible organization out in Atlanta, who I've been making music with since 2019. In fact, that's when I actually originally recorded this song. I've sat on this song for many, many years, and we actually made the video last March of 2023. So again, this has been a long wait for me to really put this out but being in the studio is my favorite.

Music videos are stressful, you know, being the choreographer, getting in the look, running the set. We actually have a behind-the-scenes video that we'll actually be dropping the following week from “Daily Basis” that kind of shows you the whole process of how we did this, which I just think is really interesting because people don't realize that making music videos is hard work. I think a lot of people have a full team, but I do everything myself.  I don't love making music videos. I'll be honest. That's why I love being in the recording studio because I'm able to be relaxed and just perform, which is what I do best. 

Now, in addition to your performance, you know, you're an advocate for the trans community. How did you celebrate Trans Day of Visibility this year? 
I'm trying to remember where I was, but I know I was performing somewhere. I celebrated by doing what I do every single night, which is using my platform to showcase my individuality and to show people that living authentically is the best thing we can do, not only for ourselves, but for each other.

I feel like a lot of times people ask me how do I be an activist or how do I get more involved in becoming an activist? And I always say just living authentically and showing other people that it's okay to be exactly who you are is the number one way to be an activist. I try to do that every single day, whether it's on stage with a mic or through my Instagram but I just try to make sure people can see me and thus see themselves. 

I know there's another big holiday coming up for you…4/20. How are you planning on celebrating that?
I'm going to be performing at Piranha in Vegas. I'll be performing “Daily Basis” live, which is really exciting. I'm also collaborating with the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas, they're incredible, they've been amazing to me, and they also do a lot of work in the LGBTQ community, so I'm thrilled to be partnering with them. I'll also be having a brand-new cover of Q Magazine, which is one of the longest queer magazines in all of the U.S., but definitely the longest queer magazine in Nevada. They're featuring me on their cover with an inside spread talking about the single and just also my cannabis activism in general. It's a big, big week for me. I'm thrilled. We're having a launch party for the cover. I perform at Piranha on 4/20 and Gypsy on 4/21. It's going to be really, really fun. 

Why do you think there are so many misconceptions surrounding marijuana and cannabis? 
Well, you know, cannabis propaganda has been pumped out for decades at this point. You know, I think there's a lot of misinformation. I think at the end of the day, hemp has the power to save the planet but companies can't make a lot of money off that. So that's why they've pushed petroleum and gas and things of this other nature. And I think that's why they built this sort of negativity around cannabis is because they were afraid that if people really learn the truth about it, they wouldn't be able to market and make as much money as they have off things like I said, like oil.

But also, I think a lot of it just stems from those crazy commercials – like the one where the girl sort of deflates into the couch. I remember those growing up as a kid. I think that those really are stamped in a lot of people's minds, you know, it was a good propaganda ad that we all saw. I think that's sort of the main reason why it's just this education people have it really. I've been able to get the education that the plant is actually medicine.

Changing topics, I love your “Day in the Life” vlogs. Can we expect more of those in the future?|
Yes, I know. Everyone's been like, where are your vlogs? Where are your vlogs? I've actually been filming season three of “Muse Me”, so that's ten episodes long. We just filmed our ninth episode last night, and I've been working on all of this music. So, don't worry, I've been filming all along through all of this. Once “Daily Basis” comes out and the “Muse Me” special following that on the 25th, I'll begin regularly posting every Thursday. My first vlog back will be featuring Lady Camden. I choreographed her Christmas show in San Francisco. It's a lot of fun.

You've been to so many wonderful places. Do you have a favorite place that you’ve visited? 
Thailand. Thailand is my favorite place in the entire world. Brazil is a close second, but for me, Thailand, you know, not only as a trans woman, do I feel really comfortable there, as trans people have existed alongside the community for years and years.

It's the food for me. The food is spicy and sour and fresh and citrusy, and I just love it so much. I've also really developed a close friendship out there with Drag Race Thailand fans. They're an amazing organization, they brought me the first time I went to Thailand. And also, just the shopping, all the drag that's out there, it's so affordable, I mean I could literally go on and on about Thailand. It's an amazing place.

Since you've established yourself as the Lip Sync Assassin, I have to ask you, and they just had the LaLaPaRuza last week, like, who do you think was this season's assassin? 

You're gonna hate me for this, but I honestly stopped watching. You know, I really couldn't say that anyone comes to mind. For me, standouts on the show were Amanda Tori Meating. She reminded me a lot of myself. I felt like she was really misunderstood, but her personality was just so incredible. I love Nymphia Wind for her fashion taste. I think she's amazing. I would say maybe Sapphira Cristál would be my lip sync assassin. I think she's pretty amazing. I know everyone was going up for, I forget her name, but she did the “Body” song with the gold corset.

Morphine Love Dion.
Morphine. Yeah. I mean, I liked that, but I guess when it really comes to lip sync, assassins, I'm looking for someone like a Kennedy Davenport or someone who can really get out there and buck and twirl or somebody that I would be nervous to go up against. And I don't really remember anyone from this season being that sort of fierce kind of dancer that I love and gravitate towards.

What is next for Laganja?

Well, as I said, “Muse Me” season three will be dropping this summer. I'm very excited for that. HIGHconic will be dropping later this summer in the fall. I’m super looking forward to that. But my biggest dream is to finally have my own one-woman show. You know, it's again, very hard to produce and very difficult to  get people to believe in me in this way, I think, you know,  unless you're like winning the show, like Sasha Colby, it's hard to convince people, I think, especially being a trans and cannabis activist, I think people are worried that there might not be a space that includes that, but that's why I'm really hoping that this music will help push the idea that I'm a live performer.

I think people know me a lot for my splits and dips, but they don't know that I'm also a talented vocalist, so I'm hoping that I can eventually parlay this into performing at festivals and getting known as a live performer so that I can eventually have my own pop show.

Follow Laganja on FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTok and YouTube. Get the latest news and merch at https://laganjaestranja.com


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