A few weeks ago my best friend texted me, “Are you following Aubrey O’Day on Instagram?” Followed by, “It is everything. Her face is made of glass.” I had not been following Aubrey on Instagram, but I had been noticing her quite a bit more this year due to a large number of gays really coming up in full support of her. Once I did check Aubrey’s account, I like any other good-natured gay male, decided she actually is one of the best commodities we have as a pop star/ possible human being (I think she’s a celestial alien)/ Barbie Doll/ living, breathing piece of artwork.
What makes O’Day so great is, she is actually in on the joke. She knows her body is RIDICULOUSLY INSANE. She knows she’s extremely candid and a bit vulgar in interviews. And she knows that’s what makes her fans, specifically her gay fans, connect with her so much. I have one best friend named Aubrey Santangilo who is OBSESSED with Aubrey O’Day. Santangilo is transgendered and she chose her name after O’Day. “She taught me to always stand up for myself and not take anyone’s shit,” she told me when asked why she loves O’Day so much. For every drag performance she does, Santangilo incorporates a Danity Kane or O’Day song into it. O’Day is who she credits to giving her strength as a person and as a performer. She told me this testimony one night over Starbucks while playing me O’Day’s self-released and produced album Between Two Evils. It was a bit strange, I thought, to be so dedicated to someone the majority of the general public had almost forgotten about. But I was intrigued and the next day Aubrey S. sent me clips from Between Two Evils and I listened with an open mind.
Note: this track is not from BTE, but it’s still pretty great.
And then, after listening to the album in full, I got it. I understood why O’Day’s fanbase is still so dedicated. The album is fucking good, to put it simply. The production is so high quality and well done. The tracks sound expensive And O’Day has an extremely strong voice that is needed more in pop. “Love Me When You Leave” in particular is a standout track for it’s hard beat.
Aside from the fact that O’Day did produce a fantastic album on her own, she is also one hell of a performer. EXHIBIT A:
O’Day performed her first round of solo material at Krave nightclub in Las Vegas for the New Years Eve show and it was pretty incredible. The show is nonstop dancing and live singing. It’s almost jarring watching an artist who can actually dance and sing in a performance, which is sad when you consider no one else is doing this in pop. And this was no more apparent than in Danity Kane’s reunion tour. The dancing was literally on point for every single number, as was the music.
It’s what makes the very violent and sudden end of Danity Kane, after Dawn Richards punched O’Day in the recording studio, so hard to take. “Lemonade” is still my pick for the best song of the summer, and from what was performed on the tour, the girls had an arsenal of great music waiting to be released. But with “Lemonade”, DK was able to do what most artists have not been able to: dive into a subculture’s vernacular and use it correctly. “Lemonade” comes from tea, which in gay culture means to spill some hard truths. (Madonna did this when she called Lady Gaga “reductive” and sipped some tea dramatically) The concept took the idea of shading or throwing tea and actually made a pop track that reflected exactly what these terms mean. And not only that, the beat was hot. The girls sounded incredible and with a little promotion/ a music video it could have become a huge hit.
Like most fans who were expecting big things, this unforeseen end is bitterly disappointing. Not just for the “what ifs” but because of how hard the two (sensible) members worked to make the comeback a success.
But it leaves me wondering: why is O’Day not more successful? Why has mainstream media not supported her more? Granted, most of it is due to politics within music and having the right team backing you. In that sense, it really is about luck and power, which makes O’Day’s letter to fans explaining the break-up all the more sad to read: she’s well aware of the struggle she’s overcome — only to be back at square one. But at some point, I would love to see O’Day really have a go at being a household name. She’s more than capable of of giving a great performance and singing live. She is actually fun to interview. And when left to her own devices, she can produce one of the best pop albums of the year. Watching her perform live solo material really drives home how great an Aubrey O’Day arena tour would be. I would love to see what she could do with a huge set, large screens and couture costumes.
The real reason, though, I want O’Day to be a bigger popstar is because SHE wants to. O’Day has faced multiple roadblocks and every time, she’s pushed through as a survivor. American pop music loves a good underdog story and we are sitting on a great one with O’Day. So if you’re reading this, and you’re unsure about O’Day, give her a chance. She’s sassy, wickedly talented and really deserves a lot of love.