Big Dipper has become a well-renowned entertainer for not only the bear community but for the gay population as a whole. Many gay bear artists have come but not many have had the staying power to reach people, Big Dipper has proven with his music, dedication, visuals, stage presence, and willingness to think out the box that he is a superstar with significant staying power.
In this interview, big dipper talks about his new music video Back Up Off Me with some behind the scenes details, his first major performance, and his ideal perfect day.
Well initially I just wanted to perform and make music and I was a theater kid who liked to make art, so I didn't feel cool enough to be a rapper or musician. I felt like I had to create a persona to make videos or be on stage. Initially Big Dipper did feel like a character, tho over time, the only thing that stuck is the name, every other performative aspect kind of faded away and now I'm just myself with a stage name.
I honestly just fell into it. I really enjoy making people smile and laugh and I like being good at something. Performing is something I'm good at, so it comes naturally to want to be on stage in front of people. I never really saw myself as the one in the spotlight tho, I always wanted to produce and direct. I do those things as well, but when it comes to making music, I love to put on a show.
My first gigs were in Chicago and I was super nervous about performing. I was nervous I'd forget my lyrics or stumble on my words, that the audience wouldn't like it and I'd feel stupid. But after a couple bumpy shows I really gained confidence in what I could do in front of a crowd. I've played a few really big Pride events and music festivals and I'm almost less nervous for those big stages in front of thousands of people than I am when the audience is smaller and more intimate. If you can reach out and touch someone in the crowd, then you can really feel their energy and see them reacting to the show...that's definitely more nerve wracking.
Nothing specific to being a bear I don't think. Most of the hardships I face have to do with being an independent artist and not having the financial backing of a record label or the marketing money to reach millions of people.
I can't pinpoint this really. I think I just had lots of positive experiences while performing and they kept snowballing. There is a really special feeling when you are on stage and you can see that you are bringing an audience joy. You really can't replicate it in any other way, so I want to keep doing that as much as I can.
This changes with every show and depends on my mood. If I'm feeling happy and playful, more aggressive, more sexual, etc. Some of my older songs I don't like doing as much now because I've grown so much as a person and artist...but honestly I love performing almost all my music, so I'm just happy to put on a show.
Long and drawn out, fun and exciting, challenging and frustrating. It's different every time. Some songs are quick to finish, others take months. You constantly have to double check everything, the files, the mixes, and make sure you are ready to release it to the world. Once it's public you can't change it! It's both stressful and rewarding.
I wanted to make fun party music that people could let loose to. I wanted to release something people could dance to, rap along to, and really find a favorite song. I think there is variety in the songs on the EP, so that it speaks to everyone!
The LIKE THIS video was super fun to make, but totally exhausting. It was a 12 hour shoot day and we spent most of it dancing. That's like running a marathon. The set was really fun though, I got to work with amazing dancers, and some good friends of mine in collaboration to make the video. I really love how it came out.
They are both fantastic artists with really specific points of view and they each felt right for their features. Boy Radio is really talented and I'm so happy that he was able to dance and show that off in the video for LIKE THIS. TT is a power house of talent. She is a rapper and a director and artist, a young Hollywood visionary that is only going to do great things in her life. I was so happy she agreed to be on the song.
I honestly have plans to make videos for every song I ever release, it's just a matter of what comes together and who wants to work with me on what song. BACK UP OFF ME felt like the perfect song to set in a leather bar and really show off the leather fetish, sexy and aggressive side of me.
Not really, we were just writing the song, and once we decided to release it, the video ideas started forming.
We shot this video in February 2020 and it was a multi-day process with A LOT of people working for free and me asking so many favors (which is how I pull off most of my videos). We shot at the Eagle LA during the day before they opened, and it's a funny experience to be in full leather gear at 8am rocking out on stage. I got to collaborate with a close friend of mine, Ryan Walker Page on the choreography for the video and I'm super happy how slick it turned out. We assembled an amazing group of extras who really showed up to perform for the video! Plus we even collaborated with CheerLA, a local non profit cheer club who put together an amazing routine with cheer choreography by Jodie Mashburn. The video was directed by my best friend and long time collaborator Tobin Del Cuore who has made almost a dozen videos with me.
Self love and confidence comes with practice. I always wanted to dance and show off like a pop star...but my body looks different than what most people are used to seeing like that. Eventually I just decided to dance like a pop star and dress in skimpy outfits on stage because it made me feel good. The response has always been so positive, so I just kept doing it. It's fun to flaunt that like, and it makes me feel good.
Meatball and I have a podcast called Sloppy Seconds that comes out every Tuesday and Friday that we make with Forever Dog and Moguls of Media. It's one of my favorite things to do. When I moved to LA I knew I wanted to start a podcast and once I met Meatball I thought it would be a perfect fit. We just started it a few years ago and now we have a great following of Sloppy fucks out there that listen! It's an awesome way to connect with people while truly just being ourselves.
I don't really have an answer for that. I just know when I'm feeling inspired to write lyrics or jot down ideas I don't ignore the feeling. I take advantage of the moment and I make sure to take notes on my phone or write on a pad so I don't miss the inspiration. Other than that, I'm working on not beating myself up when I'm less productive. It's unhealthy to bully yourself and I'm still learning that. I'm trying to teach myself that it's okay to spend a day watching movies lol.
Hopefully just to survive and keep making art....that's all I can really hope for.
Big Dipper - Back Up Off Me [Scene Shots]
I came out in high school, first to some friends and then to my parents. I was out for many years before I ever really "acted" on it tho. I was very comfortable labeling myself as gay, but it took me awhile before I saw myself as sexual or sexy. I finally felt comfortable in my body late in college, and then I fully embraced a bear identity and my sexual side in my early 20's.
When I was living in Chicago I stumbled upon some bear parties and I realized there was a whole community of dudes who liked other big hairy dudes. It was like 2010 in Chicago.
I'm not sure. I remember going to a bear night at a bar in Chicago and being really intimidated because I thought so many of the guys were hot. But once I found people to talk with I started to really enjoy myself.
I don't think I could name a specific event...I've never really gone to a bear event with any regularity. I've gotten to experience a number of fun parties and weekends because I tour around to perform at bear events. I really enjoyed Key West Bear Weekend last year. It's small and fun, not overwhelming, really friendly people, and the island is so awesome to explore.
Most of the party organizers always think about food: a meal, or a snack for events, that's always a plus. It's good to know your audience. It depends really....in some places the bears are super welcoming and open and fun, like in Australia, I've met some super nice people at the bear events down there. But in other places that's not the case. It all depends where you are and what events you go to.
Racism, cliques, judgement of others, musical taste....oh and did I mention racism? But I think that's not specific to the bear community, but to most any gay community.
Not specifically no.
Hopefully just mixed into the general community. I think bear events do themselves a disservice by separating into their own thing. I totally get wanting to have a space specifically for fat, chubby, hairy guys to socialize, but then does that mean people without body hair can't come, or thin people aren't allowed, or women or femme people? My hope is that these gay tribes can expand their view and skew more towards inclusivity of the whole queer spectrum.
Big Dipper Gallery
Maybe that I'm mean? Or rude? I'm not sure. I don't think people really think about me that much lol. I just like to work a lot, and I'm pretty "square" when it comes to any type of cool factor.
Does sucking dick count?
Good coffee, brunch with friends, making something creative, and breaking a sweat.
Be a musical guest on a mainstream talk show, go to Tokyo, buy a plot of land with multiple houses for my family and friends...create a queer compound.
Get rid of my gag reflex
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