MusicThatMadeWE #30: Oliver Swisskey

1 hour, 41 minutes (audio only version)
2 hours, 4 minutes (Patreon exclusive version)

Released: September 17, 2022
Recorded: July 20, 2022

Oliver Swisskey, known as the Boy Next Door… to the Brothel, hails from New Jersey and provides ten selections necessary to his development. Mr. Swisskey won the Silver Tusk Award for Most Marvelous Muppet in 2020.

Content notice: Child death discussed at approx the 48 minute mark for approximately 10 minutes.

The Music That Made WE is a creation of WEBurlesque Podcast Network, produced by Viktor Devonne.

  • Oliver Swisskey on WEBurlesque
  • Oliver Swisskey on Twitter and IG: @oswisskey

Listen to this episode:

On this episode of The Music That Made WE, Viktor talks to Oliver Swisskey, member of White Elephant Burlesque and winner of the 2020 Silver Tusk for Most Marvelous Muppet.

“Carol of the Bells” by Mykola Leontovych
Oliver says: “That was a song I sang every year in choir from 6th grade through senior year (of high s school.)… Aside from easily being my favorite Christmas carol, it’s just one that has been part of my creative life. I can’t escape it.”

“Dulcinea” from Man of La Mancha feat. Simon Gilbert
Oliver says: “This one is from the very first musical I ever saw… It holds a very very special place in my he art… My dad had it on and I kind of just sat down and watched it. My friends will joke that when I watch musicals, I tend to gravitate towards the ballad or the love song to a groaning degree. I love love.”

“Everybody (Backstreet’s Back” by Backstreet Boys
Oliver says: “This is my bonding with my older sister moment. She is three years older than me… and she was just a big old Backstreet Boys nut… This was just kind of one where the video is great [and] the music is great… Whenever I hear Backstreet Boys, it’s that kid nostalgia of hanging out with my sister and things being more simple.”

“Stop” by Spice Girls
Oliver says: “There were so many [Spice Girls] songs to choose [from]… The thing about this song… is that it has a bouncy sounding retro feel, but being very modern. I love hearing this…It is iconic and I love [SpiceWorld] so much.”

“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” by Johnny Mathis
Oliver says: “One of the first queer movies I ever saw was Too Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar. The thing is, I remember easily watching this at around 5, 6, or 7 [years old.] I remember being little and watching this movie…My absolute favorite song from it was Johnny Mathis’ ‘Hold Me, Throw Me, Kiss Me.’ It is still a song that I go to [when I have] romantic thoughts… But I will always just remember me and [my sister] Shannon quoting the movie to each other here and there. And of course not realizing some of the things we were saying… ‘Sometimes it just takes a fairy.'”

“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
Oliver says: “My older sister got pregnant and had my niece, Kaylie, and during the course of my high school years the baby’s father was not a reliable person so my sister lived home with me and my family and we all kind of had a hand in raising Kaylie. After I graduated, one morning, Kaylie passed away at home. A Sudden Unexplained Death of a Child, the older equivalent of SIDS, so no real explanation besides that… This song is special to me because it was one of the first songs that Kaylie would react to. She would hear it and start dancing. I debated putting it on the list because it’s such a bummer to listen to, but the bad parts are just as formative as the good parts.”

“If Ever I Would Leave You” from Camelot, feat. Robert Goulet
Oliver says: “For all the talk we had of theatre earlier, I didn’t really get into it until high school. And the first musical we did was Camelot. And the thing with this show, is that it started me doing Renaissance fairs because the person who was the stage manager did the now defunct New Jersey Renaissance Kingdom… From there it kind of went to doing the show, to that summer volunteering [at the Renaissance Faire[], to then the next year doing fighting, and that eventually brought me all the way up to this year… It is my favorite song of the show.”

“O nata lux'” from Lux Aeterna, by Morten Lauridsen
Oliver says: “I consider myself very lucky that the select choir I was in in high school… We got to perform at Carnegie Hall three times… It was such an undertaking and such a fun thing to look back on. I can’t help but smile every time I think back to being on stage in the hall for the first time looking out and seeing the whole thing. First time we did this we actually did the piece that I chose, called Lux Aeterna by Morten Lauridsen. To me the piece has always been haunting. It just has this tone to it… It just seems ethereal. And it’s one that my brain will always go back to when I think of stepping off that stage for the first time and just the awe of the moment.”

“Blood On My Hands” by The Used
Oliver says: “This one is actually at the beginning of my burlesque career… I did this for [an event called] Vixens and Villains… Up until that point I had been a stagehand… And as a huge Batman nerd I told myself I have to submit something… So I came up with the idea of doing The Red Hood… And I was riding in a car with my cousin and his girlfriend and this song came up… And after it was over I asked them to play it again. So yeah, I sent it to you and look where I am now.”

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston
Oliver says: “This one is also a little bittersweet, but also a reaffirmation of why I do burlesque, my queerness, a lot of different things just molding into one. This was right after the shooting at Pulse in Orlando… and we had a show at Rockbar. I remember being there and it was such a somber atmosphere… The show was fun, but there was also this tone of darkness. We closed out the show with ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ by Whitney Houston and I remember singing my heart out… looking around and thinking ‘We will get through this.’ It was such a feeling of family and togetherness and solidarity… It was such a good memory to replace the horror that came before.”

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Produced by Viktor Devonne, reigning Mr Hollywood Burlesque WEBurlesque Podcast Nework is the creation of Viktor Devonne. Podcast Network logo artwork by Logan Laveau, WEBurlesque the Podcast cover art photography by Atticus Stevenson. Incidental music via pixabay.com under fair use. Visit weburlesquepodcast.com for notes on this and every episode.

Follow @weburlesque and @viktordevonne on just about every platform, and support the podcast via patreon.com/weburlesque or via Venmo @Viktor-Devonne. Don’t got the cash? Please follow, subscribe, and give 5 stars on every platform you can get your hands on. It really does help.

All original material is owned by Viktor Devonne and White Elephant Burlesque Corporation; all other materials property of their respective copyright. No infringement, while likely, is intended.

Special thank-you to Raina Sinclair for transcription services.

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