Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.
Derrick Barry blew up on NBC’s America’s Got Talent and proved he was not that innocent as a Britney Spears impersonator. Haus of Gaga arrives for a very special night at Hydrate on August 4th.
JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hi. So how are you today?
DB: (Derrick Barry) I’m feeling excellent. How are you doing?
JN: Great. So, you are from California?
DB: I’m originally from Modesto in California, it’s the Central Valley and I’ve lived in Vegas for over six years.
JN: So, you have your own show now?
DB: Yeah, it’s a show called Divas Las Vegas that I’m one of the acts in and there are seven female impersonators. The host of the show is Frank Marino as Joan Rivers. It’s formally La Cage and it ran for almost 24 years at the Riviera, which was one of the longest running shows on the strip.
JN: Wow. Frank came to Chicago not too long ago and you’ve been here a few times, right?
DB: I’ve been to Hydrate twice now and it will be my third time performing with them there.
JN: The Chicago crowds are really good especially at Hydrate.
DB: Yeah, I was so fortunate before because Hydrate was the after concert party for Britney’s Circus Tour both times I was there before. This will be my first time performing there as Gaga.
JN: Oh ok. Wow. So, Gaga told you were beautiful, right?
DB: She did. It was just weird. I mean I had certain encounters with celebrities but I just think that one was just so unique and different because she was just looking at one of my promos as Britney in my Circus outfit that I had signed to her and she couldn’t believe that was me and she couldn’t believe that I did my own makeup and she was just like, “Your beautiful.” And it just always shocking someone of that kind of stature has compliments for her fans and it’s not anything that I was expecting and it was definitely something nice to hear.
JN: Where did you meet her?
DB: There was a meet and greet that we got at the Palms and she was doing the first leg of the Monster Ball Tour.
JN: Oh Wow. I love that show. I thought that show was so good.
DB: The first one where she was in the littler theaters?
JN: Yeah, that’s the one I saw.
DB: It was just so cool because it was just the stage and the Pearl is a smaller theater and I think it seats maybe 2,000 people and we were right in the front. We were so close if she reached her hand out she would touch our hands. Now, I think it’s a little different where they have such a big gap between where the first person is in the audience and her stage.
JN: Yeah, I do know what you mean.
DB: They move her away from crowd a little bit. Much like Britney and Madonna would do.
JN: I thought she was right up there with the big tours with what she put into it money and performance wise.
DB: Oh yeah, this other one seems massive. The 2.0 version, you know?
JN: Is there anyone you want to impersonate that you haven’t done yet?
DB: Actually, I’m working on Katie Perry because I always loved her and I just did Amy Winehouse at Krave.
JN: Oh ok. I can see that.
DB: She’s really fun because I like, in my act to not choose people that I think I can sing but it’s nice when I can incorporate a live vocal into anyone of my acts. So, Amy was fully live with no backing vocals. That was really exciting for me to do because she’s such a vocalist. So, I had a lot of fun with that and the same with Katy Perry. I think “California Gurls” is such a fun anthem that and I like to get out there this summer and even start performing that at some of my shows.
JN: I just met Katy Perry. Her sense of humor is really funny.
DB: Yeah, super cool. We worked on the “Waking Up In Vegas” video with her. She was really down to earth, just really sweet and I thought that was cool. She comes through exactly like she does in interviews. You know? A very genuine person and I love that.
JN: Yeah, definitely, not taking herself too seriously. She’s huge right now.
DB: Yeah, she’s doing fantastic plus her CD has so many hits that I’m excited to see what she’s got coming out next.
JN: There was a listening party for her and we got to listen to some off it and there are some good songs.
DB: Oh, I love that.
JN: You were on America’s Got Talent?
DB: Yeah, that was my jumping off point to take things to a whole new level. Like I said I’ve been working in Vegas since June of 2004 and I auditioned for America’s Got Talent in March of 2008 and when that aired it was exactly four years later since I worked at La Cage and in that four years I had a few exiting things happen. I was on The Next Best Thing. I flew to New York for that audition and we had to sing acapella. I did “Oops I Did It Again.” They ended up airing my segment and I was told I was moving through and I don’t know if it was a clearance or rights. Whatever the issue was, they ended up just airing my audition in its own segment so that was the first time that people got a chance to see me but America’s Got Talent was really where it kind of broke through on such a massive level.
JN: What does Britney think of you? Have you heard?
DB: I’ve had a few things that I’ve heard what Britney thought. When I was on America’s Got Talent she told NBC that she love my act and two weeks later she was on the Tonight Show and they were talking about guys she had dated. Jay said, “How about dating a guy like this?” They had a camera on me and I stood up and starting dancing. She said, “Yes, and he’s very into himself.” Jay said, “No, I think he’s a little more into you than himself.” She said, “Yeah maybe so.” She then clapped and did her famous smile. It was crazy that Britney would be clapping and looking at me, which was opposite from seeing her on tours and such. And it was kind of neat to have her eyes on me for a second and have the attention. It was fun. In Miami I saw her show and we had the meet and greet beforehand. Not with Britney just with the people who were involved in the Circus Tour. I met her assistant that was with her from the beginning, Felicia, and I had a cover of Q Vegas, which is our gay local magazine here and I wanted Britney to sign it for me. She said, “Britney might want to keep this. Is that all right if we send you something else?” So, I gave her my address and about two months later I got a signed Circus CD and a signed photo from Britney.
JN: Oh, that’s nice.
DB: That was enough for me. Of course I would love to meet her, talk to her and have a picture with her. That would be so fantastic but just the fact that her assistant came to her and gave the magazine. I guess she kept it in her dressing room for the duration of the Circus Tour. That was something I was so proud of because it was a local magazine and Britney and I were on the cover of it. I was just glad that she got to see that. It came out just the day before I saw her in Miami. So, those little things that keep happening are exciting enough and I’ve worked a lot with her website. They featured a lot of performances and things that I’m doing. They actually filmed my transformation from Derrick to Britney and posted it on her official YouTube channel. So, I’ve been really fortunate to have such a great working relationship with them and I know that there will come a time where I will work with her. I’ve worked with Joesph Kahn twice now, which is her favorite music video director. He did “Womanizer”, “Toxic”, and “Stronger” and I think the next time he works with her there might be some type of, you know, ideas that they can come up with to somehow utilize me in the video concept with her because I think that would be really cool. I think the fans would like it to but I think it would be more self-gratifying to be in the video with her.
JN: Do you have a website that people can go to find out information about you?