Independent R&B star only primps for pictures
By Jason P. Freeman
It appears the self-ascribed "first openly gay, Jewish-American R&B singer/songwriter from the start of his career," isn't preparing for a raucous throw-down this New Year's Eve. The years following Ari Gold's camp-cartoon voiceover work have yielded much praise and accomplishment, but it's been a long tenure. Ringing in 2008, Gold is seemingly planning to take-it-easy.
Some might posit that voicing a character for the cult classic Jem and the Holograms would be the end-all of any entertainer's pop-cultural significance. Yet when Gold provided the voice for the series' "Starlight Girl, Ba Nee," back in the '80s, he was just getting started. Since, Gold has basked under the kind of mainstream spotlight that many indie-"openly gay" performers never see. Having appeared on VH1 and HBO Zone, Gold's recording artist-resume drops names like Cyndi Lauper, Chaka Khan and Diana Ross--and the gays love him too.
Formally featured in The Advocate and Genre Magazine, OUTmusic award-winning Gold was deemed one of Out Magazine's major gay influences of 2007 in the publication's annual "OUT100" spread. This year, Gold was also seen starring along RuPaul in the pornography-pallooza/independent film, Starrbooty, and his fourth album released this fall, Transport Systems, is still making headlines. Receiving three of four stars in People Magazine, TS tracks are also accumulating accolades; "Where The Music Takes You" was awarded first prize in the 2007 USA Songwriting Competition's pop category. Another song "Love Wasn't Built In a Day" ("Which," Gold informs, "features two-time Grammy nominee Dave Koz") also just won an Independent Music Award for Best R&B Song.
"I'm really proud that I have been able to have this amazing career without compromising who I am, and by doing things on my own and on my own terms," Gold says. "I get amazing responses from people who tell me that I have inspired them to be proud of who they are and follow their dreams, especially from gay people."
So it's been a rewarding year for Ari Gold but, with 2008 approaching, that year is ending. Indeed, Gold's got reason to celebrate. Is this pop powerhouse planning to party--or what?
"New Years Eve has always been a very monumental night for me." Gold shares. "I started two of my most significant relationships on New Year's--it's always major in some way. But I never really plan it. That could mean me trying to catch a cab in three-degree weather with a scantily clad drag queen, which I have spent many a New Year's doing. But I kind of like to leave it to chance."
Yet chance has no take in it when it comes to his clothes. Gold is rarely seen in pictures sans some bling or without the flashiest forms of urban mode. Nevertheless, with NYE gear in mind, Gold says, "Comfort is key.
"I leave the more intricate outfits for the stage or photo shoot or whatever. I have no problem wearing something that feels comfy and just blending in with the crowd ... I enjoy feeling normal. You have more chance of finding love that way, anyway. I always put my own spin on it of course--and I do like my jewels."
Located in New York, it may appear odd that the LGBT community's biggest R&B-baller isn't planning to attend a Big Apple bash come December 31. During the ChicagoPride.com interview Gold admits, "All these questions are making me realize how I've really made no definitive plans at all for New Years." However, Gold says he'd prefer a party place that has a "comfy, cozy and homey" atmosphere. Cleverly referencing an honored track from his latest album, Gold adds that during the night, "I'll go where the music takes me," but he won't be drinking much.
"Alcohol makes me sleepy," Gold says. "I love wine so its nice to start with a couple glasses during dinner. I used to like my vodka gimlets, but I've sort of transitioned to Patron. So ... a couple of those and I am good."
Though Gold hopes to spend the NYE-evening with "at least one or two people that I really like," he has no pressing plans for midnight's traditional smooch. The sexy siren says he most certainly is single. "But I'm always open to love and maybe New Years Eve 2008 will be the night I meet my bashert."
Well, here's hoping. Raising a Champagne toast to 2008, Happy New Year, Ari Gold.
"Happy New Year to you," Gold says. "Le'chaim!" To life.
Images of Ari Gold:
1. Photo by Matteo Trisolini
2. Ari Gold's Jem and the Holograms' character, Ba Nee.
3. Ari Gold and his cousin, Meryl "Lady" Finger from "The Glamazons"
4. Photo by Marco Carocini
5. Ari Gold (center) and his brothers, Stephen and Elon Gold