Fly like a bird

Chris Azzopardi
By | 2016-06-11T09:00:00-04:00 June 11th, 2016|Entertainment|

There’s a robin in the road. Its wings are nicked, but it hasn’t lost its will to live.
“I picked him up and put him where there was a puddle of water right next to a building,” says singer/songwriter Kristine W as she stops on the way to her Las Vegas recording studio. “It looks like he ran into a car and was just a little bit disoriented.”
Perhaps Kristine W saw her reflection in the bird. Just five years ago, the dance diva was fighting for her life as she battled acute myeloid leukemia. But she triumphed and topped the charts again with her latest project appropriately titled, “Fly Again.”
Her 1996 hit “Land of the Living” became an anthem not only for her down and out fans, but also, years later, for herself. In between soaking up Maxwell, Billy Holiday and her Donna Summers’ hits collection, Kristine would listen to her own song and think, “You performed it and everything when you were a bad ass and perfectly healthy. And now you’re not. You’re bald headed, you’re skinny and you look like hell. You wrote it, you’ve been performing it, now you gotta live it.”
Her children, now in first and second grade, were her primary reason for holding on. “I don’t think I would have the will to fight as hard for my life … .” she says. “It gives you an extra kick in the pants when you’re like, ‘OK, I can’t fight this thing, it’s bigger than me.'”
She also didn’t want to let down her fans, especially the gay ones who have labeled her a diva. “What would the boys do without me?” she laughs.
Although her spirit was up to fighting the cancer, her body wasn’t. “Besides doing a lot of praying to God, you have a lot of self doubt if your body is going to be able to take all the radiation.”
Now, as she continues to shuffle a career and a family, Kristine always remembers her grandpa’s wise words: “Keep everything in check.”
But Kristine never asked to be famous. She didn’t even want to be. And, luckily, she’s still maintained some sort of anonymity. While paparazzi are hounding most celebrities, Kristine doesn’t have to even bother wearing oversized sunglasses.
“I’ll be in the gym on the bike and my ‘Fly Again’ video will come on and I’m just on the bike with my blond hair and they’re looking at this black fabulous haired Goth gal and I’m just smiling away and nobody even knows it’s me. I’m just sitting their gloating thinking, ‘Boy, they sure did a good job retouching my face,'” she laughs.
In the midst of the madness of throwing kiddy pool parties and recording two new albums — one dance, another jazz – Kristine dedicates time to her gay audience. Recently, she strutted her stuff on a gay cruise that sailed through the Mexican Riviera. Kristine, who performed at this year’s Gay Games in Chicago, is one of those parents who also tows along their children for the celebration.
“I want them to embrace people that have different beliefs and try to understand where they’re coming from,” she says. “I don’t want to raise another bigoted, hypocritical, angry, freak-out American.”
She hopes that if the vicious cycle of gay discrimination doesn’t end during her lifetime, it will end once her children are older. And she’s leaving it up to the parents. “It’s been pretty ‘laxed in teaching them tolerance and understanding. I think we’re suffering through that now and we have to stop that É it’s a bad cycle, it’s been going on for way too long.”
Kristine noted that gay men and lesbians have mingled more since she first stepped onto the gay scene eight years ago.
“It seemed like the lesbians and the gay boys were at each other (back then),” she says. “I kept thinking, ‘This is so detrimental to the overall cause … because they have so much to gain if they embrace each other.'”
Outside of her dance/music studio at her Vegas ranch, Kristine checks to see that her four horses have hay. Yesterday she went on a carriage ride. Tomorrow, who knows?
“As long as I can keep going, I’m gonna.”

INFO
{ITAL Kristine W
Midnight. Saturday, Nov. 25
Backstreet}

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.