Porcelain Black knows she’s rock and roll, and doesn’t care who says otherwise
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Porcelain Black’s tour bus is pretty standard fare for a would-be rock star: liquor bottles lining a table, an entourage crowding the small quarters, the creature comforts of traveling cross-country. Pretty typical.
Then there are the unclothed Barbie dolls with Cruella de Vil-inspired manes dangling in different poses inside the singer’s private quarters.
“This is what my apartment looks like. There are melted, creepy Barbie dolls that look like me all over the place hanging from chandeliers, graffiti everywhere and life-sized stuffed tigers you can sit on,” she assures, even offering a tiger-esque growl. “I tried to bring a little bit of it on the bus to feel at home.”
Porcelain never dials down her rock edge in conversation. She sports Cruella de Vil’s two-toned tresses, as well as leather and lace, and spouts profanity-laced language. She’s got an early evening spot as part of Lil Wayne’s “I Am Still Music” tour, which played at Staples Center on Friday.
Born Alaina Beaton, the Detroit native built a robust online following when she recorded under the moniker Porcelain and the Tramps. Her more industrial rock landed her a deal with Virgin Records, one that “just didn’t work out,” and a hard-learned lesson that she carries with her.
“It made me learn the business, really. ... I’m happy that it worked out the way it did. Everything happens for a reason. But now I know what’s up. You can’t manipulate me.” Now signed to Lady Gaga producer RedOne’s 2101 Records imprint through Universal Republic, and managed by Wayne’s Young Money Cash Money team, the singer feels like she’s ready for another shot.
Her debut single, “This Is What Rock N Roll Looks Like” is garnering attention, in the form of nearly 3 million YouTube views. The RedOne-produced track employs a beat that the in-demand producer could easily have used for his muse Lady Gaga, a fact that has spurred its share of polarizing opinions in the more than 10,000 comments on her official YouTube video.
“I’m a pretty good representation of rock and roll, as far as I’m concerned. I’m ... crazy. Some people might have their own opinions and say well this is kind of pop-y,” she said. “I think we’re in a world now where music is evolving and it doesn’t have to be just one thing. It doesn’t have to be just pop or just rock. You can mix it and have it still be legitimate rock ‘n’ roll. I like to say if Marilyn Manson and Britney Spears ... had a kid it would be me.”
She stops speaking long enough to shout a drawn-out “Wasssuppp” out of the window to a friend strolling through the Staples Center parking lot that’s housing the tour buses.
“What was I saying? Oh, yeah. People are going to have their own opinions and I don’t care,” she laughed. “I know I’m rock and roll. And I can probably ... drink 99% of the people in this world under the table.”
Porcelain is putting the final touches on her RedOne-produced debut, which is slated for a summer release, and is looking forward to being able to offer something to the following that has stood by her.
When asked to describe herself in one word before she took the stage, the singer let out another growl before going with “trainwreck.”
She then burst into a fit of laughter and flashed a tattoo on the inside of her finger supporting the claim.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy