Boss Moves: Big Freedia Talks New 'Central City' Album & 'Big Freedia Means Business' Show
This feature is in our Summer '23 "Music" Issue. Click here to subscribe.
Photo by Akasha Rabut
Big Freedia has long reigned as the Queen of Bounce. Ever since the debut of 2003’s Queen Diva mixtape, the New Orleans native has elevated both her artistry and brand to international acclaim, all while showcasing her hometown pride.
The artist has made an exciting musical return with her first album in nine years, Central City, released June 23 via her label Queen Diva (ADA Worldwide). Featuring guest artists like Lil Wayne, Faith Evans, Ciara, Kelly Price, Boyfriend, Kamaiyah, Sonyae, and The Soul Rebels, the album is a celebration of bounce music and the joy of New Orleans. Along with the new album, the Queen Diva returned to television with new original series. Titled Big Freedia Means Business with her longtime partners at FUSE, the series is an exciting glimpse into the artists' ever-expanding ventures—from Hotel Freedia to a makeup line.
Below, Big Freedia explains to EDITION just how she continues to level up with her new series, Big Freedia Means Business (airing on Fuse TV), and Central City album.
I do want to start with the “Central City” freestyle because that song goes so hard.
It was a very fun song to make I actually just freestyle the whole time. So that song was very fun. It just came naturally from the beat. And I was super excited to do the video; it was shot in New Orleans and we just put it together. We freestyled the video and everything and we didn't have a formula. We just put it together and everything came out pretty smooth. A great summer song.
How was it collaborating with Ciara on “$100 Bill”?
We talked about working together since the Met Gala. ‘$100 Bill’ is definitely motivating and inspiring. It’s definitely the vibes for this summer and everybody.
The “El Niño” song with Lil Wayne is my favorite song on the album. Y’all are both from New Orleans so it has that NOLA energy. He’s also a legend in his own right, as well.
I hit him up, and he was he agreed to want to do with the song. And it was a great feeling to have a legend like Wayne to be able to finally work with him on a project and collab together. Just great vibes. I’m in my rapping bag on “El Niño”. I can’t wait for people to hear it and the delivery…you get to see me just on different levels and really changing my creativity with this whole project. Really expanding the brand and still representing New Orleans, but also just giving it a little different flavor of where I was mentally when I created the whole project.
Central City shows you challenging yourself even more.
[I want to] keep on elevating the sound of bounce and push it further into the mainstream, but also keeping it still authentic to what I love to do. I’m going to keep expanding the level of creativity that I want to go with music.
You mentioned earlier that you wanted to reflect the headspace and the mental space that you were at making this album. Can you talk about that a little bit more?
Yeah, I was just in a good space. As I was recording, I was in a place where I wanted to just deliver some great music to my fans and to the world. I was feeling good about the whole project, every time that I went in and knew that I was working on something for Central City. I put in my mindset that, “Okay, it’s time to deliver the package and make sure that it is tight” and it still have fans get the messaging. It’s important for us to be in a great space when we’re creating our music and for me, it just great timing for it all.
Let’s get into Big Freedia Means Business.
Yes, I’m excited about the new show—everything is happening in the month of June for me. It is chronicling my life in the business world and the music and all of the great things that’s happening. It’s gonna be a great series, just to get to see me in my bag and to get to see me on my entrepreneur sh-t. It will definitely open up many doors for young people out there who want to be inspired to open their own businesses. And it’s gonna be quite interesting with the team and the cast that I have.
I’d love to know more about Hotel Freedia.
It is a very chic and small hotel but it’s also going to be a music venue and a restaurant all in one. So people will get to taste some of my own recipes. They will get to enjoy music and good times and performances. I think the waitlist will be very long. But we plan to expand once the first one is open.
You’re also coming out with an eyewear line, a record label, a makeup line and a cannabis line.
They can get the cannabis in California and we are still working to expand that brand to all the states. All of this is dropping in June. They’ll be able to have the hater blockers on, honey! [laughs] You can also come to the Big Freedia Beauty Bar, and maybe get a little lash on or a press-on by me.
What is the importance of diversifying your income as an artist?
It’s important because, at a certain point, your cost of living keeps going up. So I want to be able to have income that can keep on rolling over and also want to create generational wealth for my family and for my team.
What are some lessons that you’ve learned about the business?
Making sure you’re set up properly, making sure you’re paying your taxes, doing your paperwork properly, and that you’re keeping up with the inventory. One little mistake can mess up a whole lot.
Sometimes people think that entrepreneurship is easy. It takes a lot of patience.
Yeah. Patience, being humble, trial and error, figuring things out. I’m taking it one step at a time not rushing things. It’s all very important. You have to have a vision and it takes time to see that vision come to life.
Photo by Akasha Rabut
What’s some advice that you would give to other entrepreneurs?
When you think of what type of business you want to open, be passionate about it, because it’s going to take a lot of hard work and determination. If you’re not passionate about it, you’re not going to want to wake up every day and do it. Also, being patient, humble, kind to people, open-minded, being flexible. But remember that when it’s time to handle a business, handle business because it can make or break you.
How do you find the time to like, prioritize your mental health and make sure you’re not overwhelming yourself with all of the businesses that you have?
My formula is I pray and I push. I ask God to give me strength and keep my mind and my mental in a good space. You have to also learn to delegate things and to get a team of people that can help you with all of the many things that you have going on. Because just one person can’t do it all. Thank God for the team I have and my managers and my family. They are my backbone and my supporters. They helped carry a lot of the load. When I can’t pick up the slack, they’re there to help me in many ways.