Yes, Hi-Fashion Knows They're 'Amazing'

By: Jase Peeples

Rick Gradone and Jen DM met in a New York City gay bar when Rick mistook Jen for a man and began flirting with her. That humorous moment quickly blossomed into a friendship and the two soon found they had quite a bit in common — including a love of music. 

Shortly thereafter, they formed the electric pop duo Hi-Fashion and released their first single, “Amazing,” in 2010. The duo’s first EP, Sprechen Sie Hi Fashion?, debuted a year later, and they’ve been entertaining the masses ever since.

With their brand-new music video, “Amazing,” released this week, Rick and Jen took a moment to chat with about their unique sound, revisiting their first single as a music video, and why everyone thinks they’re Madonna. Your music is equal parts fierce and funny. Do you ever struggle to find the right balance between these elements when you’re writing songs?
Jen: Thank you! We try to make music that is an expression of ourselves at all given moments and a lot of that has been something between fierce and funny lately. Our friendship was largely based on humor when we first met and since we always love to make each other laugh, that truth comes out in our songs a lot. That said, our newer music has different notes to it as well. It’s exciting to find a way to express everything we feel inside of dance music together.

"Amazing" was your first single back in 2010. What was it like creating the video for the song that began your journey?
Jen: We always knew we wanted to make an epic video for that song and we didn't want to do it until we were working with the right people and had the right concept.

Rick: We knew it would have to be amazing, so that meant working on it for a while to make sure it was great. And in fact there were two other moments when we almost made it with different people and something would always keep it from happening. Many of those costumes actually took over a year to make or assemble so it has been a long process, but so totally worth the wait.

Jen: We've been fantasizing about this video since the beginning and it was such a joyful experience.

Is that RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Raja in your “Amazing" video? How did this — wait for it — amazing collaboration take shape?
Rick: Well, we caught wind that Raja was performing “Amazing” during Rupaul's Drag Race All Stars Tour and of course we were honored. So Jen tweeted Raja and then Raja tweeted back. Then we all screamed like fan girls in our respective apartments.

Jen: It turned out that when we played the 30th birthday party for Absolut Vodka in NYC she was there and died over the track. She has done it so much justice all over the world. We begged her to be a part of the video and she immediately accepted. She truly is amazing.

In addition to "Amazing," another great track on your EP Sprechen Sie Hi Fashion is "I’m Not Madonna." It’s an absolute riot! What inspired the song?
Rick: It all comes back to a very long text exchange. Picture it now, the year is 2010, and Halle Berry appears on the cover of American Vogue sporting Jen's haircut at the time and giving her no credit for it. Jen texted me saying, "I'm tired of everyone thinking I'm Halle Berry," and the whole joke riffed off of that. The joke veered toward the idea of being Madonna almost immediately. The notion of Madonna trying to get away from this huge celebrity image she had created was too fascinating and delicious not to turn into a song. And we both love Madonna. No one is more creative, shape shifting, and consistently relevant than her. I mean, it is impossible to imagine being her, actually. No one else is that incredible. So certainly it is the best homage we could imagine.

What’s next for Hi-Fashion? Is a new album in the works?
Jen: At the moment we are getting all kinds of gigs all over the place, so we keep making new shows and costumes with our incredible dancers and choreographer Danny Dolan. At the same time, we are currently writing new tracks for an EP we are aiming to release in the beginning of next year. It's packed with new sounds and more insane dance tracks, so please stand by.

Check out Hi-Fashion's "Amazing" music video below.