This rising local talent spreads the love with more than her musical prowess
Lori Michaels is a new “renaissance woman” among lesbian performers. Recently out at 33, Michaels keeps herself busy and her fans entertained by applying her musical talent, sexy persona and do-gooder philosophy to a wide variety of projects. Her self-titled production company works to create signature shows for different audiences—from families at street fairs to partiers at private venues. Michaels tours nationally with her hot new show, Me & the Girls club show, in addition to spreading the significant meaning of love and tolerance through performance with Reach Out, Inc, the non-profit organization she founded. She even has a reality TV series in the works.
GO caught up with Lori Michaels after her guest appearance with Transfusion M on the Vans Warped Tour. She chatted with us about how her musical blend of love songs, pop, disco, club, house, Latin and rock reaches a span of audiences, and why she calls her work a tremendous collaboration of “we.”
Tell us about your official “coming out” bash this spring. That must have been a milestone for you.
Yes! It’s been a big year for us. Our official ‘Coming Out Party’ for Lori Michaels Productions was held down in Atlantic City at House of Blues. My party was a significant moment for me and the people close to me for a few reasons—not only did I announce that I am a lesbian, but it was also a statement that I’m going out on my own [with] Lori Michaels Productions.
How does it feel being out?
I feel free, full of love, and full of excitement. I am so glad that I made the decision to say I am coming out. It was time to announce to the world, ‘Hey, I have a girlfriend! I am a lesbian!’
What makes your latest effort, the show Me & the Girls so popular?
It’s a different type of show and is gaining the most attention. I’m not just up there with my acoustic guitar— it’s a bit more sexy and provocative. We have dancers on stage, it’s a party atmosphere. It’s a ‘club show’—so if you’re under 21, you shouldn’t be there. Having the show at a club implies that [it] is a little bit sexy. But it’s not trashy.
Unlike many “club shows,” yours has a message. What are you trying to say to audiences?
It’s not just about my dancers showing up in fishnets and underwear. We want to project meaning in our shows and come forward and say one love, respect for all people, let’s not fight over gender.
Why do you refer to your music and accomplishments using the words ‘us’ and ‘we’?
My work is a labor of love accomplished by one big family. I feel grateful and lucky to have so much support with my shows and the non-profit. A lot of people are involved—staff and many volunteers who have an enormous commitment in different capacities—and we work together side by side. We want to have a hell of a good time and believe in what we are doing.
What is the mission of the non-profit you founded, Reach Out, Inc.?
Reach Out, Inc. is our real labor of love. We do performances for kids and teens, and our message for years has been about fighting against crime and prejudice. Now we can say that it’s more than just fighting prejudice—this show can teach more about tolerance, especially if someone is gay. With our non-profit work, we want to be at the forefront of making things better in society.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Yes, there’s a lot going on! For about a dozen years I’ve been involved with the WB11 Care for Kids Foundation street fair, recently hosting and producing it. We’ve performed at breast cancer–awareness benefits, and at many D.A.R.E. events. Hudson County recently reached out to me—they are trying to open up a community center. I attended a fundraiser and made a public commitment that we would like to help on a charitable level.
What treats do you have in store for your fans this summer?
Many! We are in pre-production for a reality show, keeping fingers crossed that it will get picked up. Me & the Girls Club Show has bookings, I have acoustic appearances, a Z100 benefit, a CD release at Crash Mansion, and I’m highlighting Jersey City Pride in August.
Editor’s Note: Michaels released her new CD, Real Close, at Crash Mansion on July 25. For information on where to purchase your copy, or to hear tracks, visit lorimichaelsproductions.com or myspace.com/lorimichaels.