But Shea does more than dominate the high-octane realm of drag performance because she is also a master of music- making. Fast becoming one of the most multifaceted and visionary creators on the scene with lush sonics, a vivacious sassiness and moves like Josephine Baker, her specific strain of eclectic house beats has metamorphosed over the past decade and a half into an infallibly euphonic exploration of self-acceptance. With her 2017 EP, Couleé-D, Shea somehow managed the inconceivable: she gagged us all with a fierce hip-hop anthem sandwiched between poignant, sensual songs. The result? A transcendent three-track bangarang. Subsequently, came a whirlwind of sporadic yet successful singles. Now with her debut album in the works, we can expect nothing less than a genre-blending body of work that echoes the thematic bearings of experiential self-discovery, acceptance, advocacy, attitude and simply being a dreamer on the precipice of greatness.
Shea’s first Drag Race stint was in 2017 where she racked up four challenge wins, tied for third place, and cemented herself as a notorious TV persona. Three years on she took home the top accreditation on All Stars Five, the Drag Race spin-off that offers prior Drag Race contestants a second shot at the crown and glory. It would seem the fates were in her favour, but to credit serendipity alone would be to cast a shadow on a taxing odyssey and overlook the person that beat all odds.
Born and raised in Chicago, her adolescence was steeped in musical theatre and the whimsical world of costume design. She was the youngest of a large, blended family, growing up fortified in a tight-knit, religious family. But while her rich history in The Windy City serves as sense of infallible security, it can be challenging moving within these proverbial spaces as a queer person of colour. Yet, Shea always kept one eye on the horizon and one foot deeply rooted in the Chicago communities that uplifted her.