You may not know Kady Z’s name yet, but you will. The daughter of diminutive showbiz legend Pia Zadora, Kady was named for the character her mother played in the campy cult movie “Butterfly.”
Kady has emerged as a powerhouse entertainer in her own right. Her full-length debut disc “Ordinary Girl” is anything but ordinary. Propelled by an unstoppable dance energy, Kady, who co-wrote the 12 songs with Tone Def, embraces her inner dance diva on “Beautiful Disaster” and “One Million Pieces.”
She talked recently about her first full-length album and more during the summer of 2013.
Gregg Shapiro: Coming from a show business family, was it inevitable that you would become an entertainer?
Kady Z: I think so, for sure. My mom is really a huge inspiration for me. Being on stage with her as a little kid and seeing her perform and do her thing, it definitely inspired me to go into it. I’ve watched videos of myself performing from ages 3 to 8, and I didn’t have a fear or care in the world. Now, of course, it’s totally different. When you’re a kid you don’t have any idea of what you’re doing, really. You just do it.
A few months ago, you appeared on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” What was that like?
At first they were like, “You’re going to be on ‘RuPaul’ as a guest judge.” I thought, “Oh, awesome.” When I got there, they told me I was going to be in a girl pop group. I was like, “Wait, what? That’s cool.” Then they said I was going to be in drag. How does that even happen? I was really lucky because I was with Raven and Jujubee. They are so amazing, and they were so fun. When they started putting makeup on me – they said, “OK, we’re going to make you look like a drag queen now.” I had so much fun and it was good to see Kelly (Osbourne). We were friends as kids. RuPaul is awesome, obviously. All my friends were really jealous (laughs).
I’m really glad that you mentioned Kelly, because on that show, you appeared alongside her and Vanessa Williams’ daughter Jillian Hervey, leading me to wonder if you ever cross paths or socialize with other progeny of people in the entertainment industry.
I’ve been good friends with a couple. But we don’t really talk anymore. I used to hang out with Paris Hilton a lot. At a certain point, you go in different directions. I don’t think we’ll be seeing any sex tapes of Kady Z in the future.
You co-wrote all of the songs on “Ordinary Girl.” How would you describe your role in that process?
I co-wrote them with Tone Def, who produced the songs. Basically, I write my thoughts and ideas, and he writes his own ideas and he comes up with the track or a hook or whatever. We’ll work from there, based on how we feel. We work off of each other. He’ll ask me if I like something and I’ll say, “I hate it” or I’ll ask him and he’ll say, “It sucks” (laughs). Most of the time it’s pretty positive (laughs).
What songs on the disc best represent who you are?
I think “Crush Gone Wrong,” which is about me being a stalker. It’s just fun. I like to have fun and I like to make fun of myself. I think “Crush Gone Wrong” is really representative of me. Also, I think “Ordinary Girl” is as well, because it’s very introspective. I’m really proud of it and it’s a very colorful album.
Who is the mystery person that you are singing about?
It’s actually Rob Thomas (from Matchbox Twenty), because I had a huge crush on him as a kid.
Have you ever actually met him in person?
I did meet him face-to-face, and I felt like such an idiot (laughs). He’s really nice and he’s so cool. But he doesn’t know, yet (laughs).
He’ll know now.
He will! He’ll know now (laughs).
You make reference to a favorite Nick Lachey song in one of your songs. To what song are you referring?
I love “What‘s Left of Me.” It’s one of my jams (laughs).
There’s such a dance-music focus on songs such as “Drown You Out,” “Beautiful Disaster” and “One Million Pieces.” Have you made any appearances at gay clubs?
Yes, I did. I performed at Ruby Skye last year, and I sang “Beautiful Disaster” there. It was so crazy and awesome. I performed at Mr. Black’s in Hollywood, which I think recently closed. Also, at a drag show in New York about a year ago.
I haven’t been on an airplane since 1995, so I can relate to your reluctance to fly. How are you traveling to the various cities on your tour?
Luckily, we are driving (laughs).
What are you most looking forward to about the tour?
I’m looking forward to getting to touch people almost every night and do what I love to do. See the country. It’s funny, because I’ve been to Europe but have never actually been around the states before, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them.
Onstage: Kady Z performs at Madison’s Redamte Coffee House, 449 State St., on Aug. 25. For more, go to www.redamte.com.