This Black History month, Dalston Superstore is proud to announce a new Friday night residency from iconic drag performer Soroya Marchelle highlighting the talents of Black drag and cabaret performers! She invites very special guests Black Peppa, Baby, Vanity Milan, Cleopantha and Yshee Black for their Superstore debuts at More Melanin. We caught up with Soroya to chat finding inspiration, the importance of representation and plans in the works for 2020.
Hey Soroya! We are so excited to have you at DSS this October for the More Melanin residency! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Soroya Marchelle, I’m 23 and been doing drag for about 3 years. Drag is everything to me, my creative outlet from this mad world! I’ve always been a performer since I was young and loved playing with make up so here we are today… My performances tend to be fun, upbeat lip-syncs mashed up with a humorous theme to keep you on your toes.
What inspired you to start More Melanin?
Underrepresentation of people of colour is something that is very real and sadly spreads across many platforms including drag. There are so many amazing POC artists I’ve met, watched perform and thought why are you not bigger? Why haven’t I heard of you? Why are you not booked? And this comes down to promoters not having a diverse case or tokenizing POC performers. So I thought let’s start a night of showcasing all this talented melanin, in your face, action packed entertainment!
Can you tell us about your first ever drag gig?
Oh my GOD! My first actual booked gig was opening for a RPDR USA queen down in Dorset! Honestly I thought I was the bomb, I was really feeling myself but in reality I was just not on the level I convinced myself I was on. Very new to this world… During my performance, my wig came off, my outfit broke, my necklace shattered across the floor sending beads everywhere and I topped it all off by tripping and pulling down the curtain. A MESS. Delusion is a funny thing.
Who inspired you as an artist when you were young?
So many people, I used to pretend I was one of Destiny’s Child and sang Say My Name in front of a mirror, loudly and badly might I add. Strangely I loved Halle Berry in Cat Woman (terrible film!) but it was the idea of transformation from the hair, the costumes, the personality just always interested me.
If you had to summarize More Melanin in one song, what would it be?
Always on time: Ja Rule ft. Ashanti… Because it’s sexy, it’s fun, it’s RnB, PLUS we’re “Always on time” I’m there “When you call” and I’ll “Give you my all”!
What is your favourite hit of this year?
Do It: Chloe and Halle, it’s just so feel good!
If you could share a lineup with any queen, performer or artist alive or dead, who would it be?
Probably Janet Jackson cos she got those moves! Honestly, ICON!
Can you tell us a bit about your co-hosts for More Melanin?
Oh my where do I even begin?! Firstly I’m so lucky to have such wonderful and amazingly talented friends! I’ve hand picked the best of the best for this show and I’ve worked with these performers time and time again and I’m constantly inspired by their level of execution on stage! All of them are so strong in their field and honestly each one of them will blow you away!
We know 2020 has been a very challenging year, but do you have any exciting plans in the works you’d like to share with us?
I am super excited to be a resident host at The Karaoke Hole this year, I’ll be screening Paris is Burning at The Glory on the 14 October, catch me on Rhys’s Pieces’ show at Pheonix Arts Club in October as well, and Halloween I’ll be in Birmingham doing a set at The Nightingale… ALSO watch out for More Melanin becoming BIGGER, hitting up other venues and spaces! All I can say for now, lots in the works!
And finally, what can we expect from your More Melanin residency in five words or less?
A showstopping, thrilling rollercoaster!