This summer is all about Monét X Change as she takes on music, touring and comedy all at once.

The multihyphenate RuPaul’s Drag Race alum spoke with Blavity’s Shadow & Act about various engagements and projects, including releasing a new album, Grey Rainbow Vol. 1. 

Written with Grammy-nominated songwriter Eritza Laues, Grey Rainbow Vol. 1 is all about X Change’s experiences with love, self-worth and self-confidence. When she released a statement about her album, she said the songs condense four years of her life into a single body of work.

“This album is an encapsulation of my life over a four year stretch of time,” she said. “Each track is about specific experiences that my heart and soul had to get out through song. I broke some hearts, had my heart broken, got high, went to church, got saved, been a ho–still a ho–fell in love, and most importantly, did so while being unapologetically me. Grey Rainbow is my love and my life through my unfiltered gay black drag queen eyes. Always and forever, period.”

She reiterated this feeling to Shadow & Act, describing the album as a product of her experiences learning from relationships she’s had in her 20s, particularly ones she had with “down low” guys. Those relationships, she said, “I’m trying to leave in the past, but leave it on the record and not having to live with.”

The album ranges from pop anthems to serious ballads, but overall, X Change said the album was an ode to learning about herself through love. Some of the upbeat songs, like “Body,” celebrate the feeling of sexiness and confidence.

“I love how cavalier and how free that song makes me feel,” she said, adding that the concept for the video was P-Valley, one of her favorite shows.

X Change said that Grey Rainbow Vol. 1 isn’t to be taken lightly; it’s not a stereotypical drag album. She spoke of how many people don’t consider drag albums as not real music. But X Change wants to change people’s perceptions about drag albums. She wants her album and other projects out there by other drag artists to be taken seriously by fans, critics and award shows alike.

“We’re making movies, and we’re in TV shows, and we’re making music, just like regular people. It’s almost like drag queens are regular people,” she joked. “It’s almost like we breathe air, and we drink water, and we eat. I want people to stop trying to other us and trying to put us in this separate lane. We want the same access, and we should have the sameaccess to the same award shows and the same things as everyone else.”

Her upcoming one-woman show, Life Be Lifin,’ will debut in January, but X Change was able to do a quick premiere of the show during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She talked about the show’s warm reception in a previous statement. 

“When I started writing this show two months before its premiere–yikes!–never did I imagine the emotional journey it would take me on and the absolute catharsis it has on my audience members,” she said. “Through my style of humor, storytelling, and sangin’ I’m beyond proud of how my coming-of-age story in Life Be Lifin‘ leaves audiences gagging!” 

She told Shadow & Act that she decided to call her performance a “one-woman show” instead of a stand-up routine because she wanted to focus exclusively on the fact that she was making the show more about her sharing experiences of her life rather than just telling jokes. 

“It’s a blend of comedy, music; I’m putting all these things into one thing,” she said. “I’ve been to so many one-manshows in New York. I recently saw Kate Berlant’s one-person show, and making one really spoke to me, and it was such an exciting thing to create, like taking my stories and seeing how they all came together.” 

“[The show] speaks to a time in my life where a lot has changed…so when people come to that show, people aren’t expecting to have an emotional experience, and I like that surprise. I like that people walk away with that. That’s what I want the audience to know.”

Regardless of the one-woman show set for next year, X Change has been on stages all across the country this spring and summer, including her recent one-night stint at the Lincoln Center to perform Soundcake: Aural Confections with new Drag Race alum Sapphira Cristál. The event, part of the Center’s Summer for the City calendar, celebrates music and comedy with Cristál and X Change, both opera-trained singers, giving audiences a complete aural experience.

“Never in my life did I think I would be performing at the Lincoln Center in drag,” she said. “What we have is a really, really special show that we’re bringing to the Center and hopefully to the rest of the world at some point. The show is really special, and it’s intimate, and it’s funny and sentimental.” 

During the recent Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival, she also performed with her sister-in-drag Bob the Drag Queen at the live taping of their podcast Sibling Rivalry. X Change said sharing the stage with many legendary comedians was astounding. 

“I mean, there’s so many comedians around…and then you get texts like, ‘Hey girl, you got time to come and perform at my show?’ That was really great,” she said. “I got to do that and just hang out with so many friends, like a bestie like Matteo Lane–we’ve been friends for so many years and to see how his career has blown up [is amazing]…I just love the energy, the vibe, the whole time.”

Grey Rainbow Vol. 1 is available for streaming.