ATEC alum discusses recent success while producing music for RuPaul’s Drag Race
Freddy Scott, Class of 2008, reflects on the progression of the art form
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that “alumnus” is the singular form of “alumni.”
After recognizing his passion for various entertainment industries, American University alumnus Freddy Scott sought to turn his interests into a career and dedicated much of his time to RuPaul’s Drag Show to create more extensive awareness and understanding around drag.
Currently, Scott’s producing and on-camera work for RuPaul’s Drag Race — an iconic American reality competition television series that has made a name for itself over the years — is at the forefront of his mind.
In 2017, Scott and his writing partner, Leland, became an integral part of both the U.S. and U.K. show after they wrote their first “Rusical” — a RuPaul-inspired musical — called “Kardashian The Musical: RuVealed.” Today, Scott is working on both versions of the show remotely in the hopes of encouraging further visibility and appreciation for drag, a form of entertainment and expression that bends gender identity, in the mainstream.
While the U.S. version of the show has released 13 seasons and already has a dedicated fanbase, the U.K. version only came out in 2019. One of Scott’s most recent accomplishments in the international market is producing “UK Hun? (United Kingdolls Version)” for season two of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. The song, which has elements of pop music and other styles, placed fourth on the U.K.’s Big Top 40. Scott said he collaborated on the song during a process that only lasted an afternoon.
“Watching the art of drag and what it means and the inclusivity of it, what it means for the queens and people watching the show about self-expression was significant,” Scott said. “Seeing it get into the mainstream as it did with this song is a very rewarding part of the process because you're essentially breaking drag, the show, and what it represents, and competing with mainstream acts. We outsold Rita Ora and Dua Lipa and a bunch of people that same week.”
As Scott continues his work with drag, it’s easy to differentiate between his international and domestic projects based on their success. Since the U.K. version of the show is much newer, many of the projects have entered the U.K.’s mainstream.
“I think the U.S. version has the same amount of dedicated fans, but it’s been around so long that it’s carved out a niche, and people know exactly what they’re expecting or what they want, so it’s really big and has its own fanbase,” Scott said.
However, before producing music making its way into mainstream pop, he was a student at the University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in audio production under the audio technology (ATEC) program. During his undergraduate years, Scott studied under professors Paul Oehlers and John Cosell, who he credits for nurturing his creative instincts.
“I came in wanting to be a composer and producer, but also do comedy stuff, so they let me do my final thesis project as kind of a mockumentary project where I made a fake band and shot a whole documentary about them and did all the music as well,” Scott said.
While the program has come a long way since its start in the basement of McKinley to operating Kreeger Studio, Scott explained that his time at AU enabled him to pursue creative ideas that he had with others interested in similar fields.
“Instead of trying to put me in a box or trying to make me do a certain thing, [ATEC] really allowed me to, for lack of a better term, mess around and find the career I wanted to focus on,” Scott said.
Now, throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Scott has undergone many virtual projects, such as writing an album in season one called “Frock4Life” and “Lucky,” a song that was released this month. While working on the music for the U.K. show, Scott has yet to meet anyone from the team there in-person, and the group relies on the Internet to connect with one another.
“It’s all making new relationships on social media, digitally and through Zoom … It’s nice to find new ways to get to the end product, but I would kill to go to London and hear this stuff out somewhere and celebrate that,” Scott said. “I’m excited for things to get to a little sense of normalcy to celebrate the work that we do.”
Scott is involved in many aspects of the show, including filming last year. The team met COVID-19 protocols, such as weekly testing, sanitizing and social distancing.
While operations continue remotely, Scott said that more seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race are being worked on with the goal of expanding the art of drag by new means. Scott said he also looks forward to the release of a few shows in the fall that will be announced at a later date.
“I’m working all the time, which I’m really grateful for,” Scott said. “We have a new season coming out in June on Paramount+, and then I’m sure we’ll get started on some other stuff too.”