A couple of weeks ago at yoga, I told the teacher how much I hated the class, how much rage and resistance I had to the exercises, and I said she was cruel.
A brunette in the class agreed with me. She’d found it difficult too. She also found herself filled with rage.
We ended up raging for an hour after class. I found out this was her first experience with Kundilini Yoga and that she was in town to do a concert that night.
We were going to go out for drinks at a raw food restaurant right then and there but there was no such place in my neighborhood so Concetta Kirschner decided instead to go get her hair done.
When I went home and Googled her, I found out more about her "Princess Superstar" personae.
(Concetta’s mom Dr. Diana Kirschner just published the book, "Love in 90 Days.")
This morning we did an interview.
Luke: "What was your experience of Kundilini Yoga?"
Concetta: "It was really hard. I’m used to practicing Jivamuchti Yoga, which is based more on ashtanga and there’s a lot of vinyassa. This was just holding different poses and doing a lot of pranayama. I thought I was a really great yogi and this kicked my ass, but I really loved it because I felt the energy moving in extraordinary ways. It’s a pretty magical practice."
Luke: "How long have you been doing yoga?"
Concetta: "About five years."
Luke: "And what has it contributed to your life?"
Concetta: "It’s really changed my life. It gave me a connection to God again. I kinda was a bit of an atheist. My father was going to be a rabbi. He went to yeshiva. He has a very religious family. He met my mother in graduate school. She was not Jewish. She came from a Catholic family. They met and fell in love. He decided not to be a rabbi. He wanted to be a psychologist, but he was still quite religious. After he met my mother, he had so much trouble with the family because she was not Jewish. They wanted to disown him. They were so harsh, he became disillusioned with religion. Even my mother converted to Judaism and they still wouldn’t accept her. He kinda threw it out, which is really sad. I was raised always identifying as Jewish but we were never very religious because my father was so hurt by his family, which has now been healed. Now we all have a relationship to my aunt and to my extended family on my father’s side.
"I grew up thinking that religion tore people apart and it wasn’t something that brought about love. When I got into yoga, I kinda found God again. I’m grateful for that."
Luke: "We were talking after yoga about raw foods. Why did you get into raw foods so much and what has that done for your life?"
Concetta: "After I started becoming very spiritual, I became obsessed with evolving my consciousness.
"Raw foods means you do not cook any of your foods because cooking kills about 50% of the minerals and vitamins and about 80% of the enzymes. The idea is that you eat a lot of high prana, high energy-giving foods and that clears your channels to the divine and gives you superior health and living on a higher vibration.
"When I got into the cuisine, you can make such extraordinary things. I can make cheese out of nuts. I can make delicious crackers and even bread that are raw. I just made a strawberry mouse pie last night for a friend’s birthday that was completely raw.
"I’ve been doing that for about a year. I travel the world and I never get sick. My meditation and yoga practice has gone to a new level as well as my thinking and my spiritual connection."
Luke: "And how much has it increased your food bill?"
Concetta: "Tripled. I just did my taxes last night with my father. I ranked out everything I spend. It’s blasphemous if I would tell you how much I spent on food last year. Horrendous. The philosophy is that you save on doctor’s bills."
Luke: "How do you keep it up when you are traveling?"
Concetta: "It’s all about intention, commitment and preparation. I travel with a little blender. I take so much stuff with me — dehydrated crackers, nuts, almond butter, seaweed, and dried fruits. And wherever you go, you can get fresh produce. I like to have organic. That’s very important. Everybody should eat organic because it’s got nearly three times as many vitamins and minerals as conventional, as well as not being genetically modified or having s— tons of chemicals all over it."
Luke: "So when you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?"
Concetta: "I wanted either to be a psychologist like both of my parents or a movie star. As Princess Superstar, I’m a little bit of both. I definitely end up counseling a lot of people. I make people feel good. I’m also part movie star because I definitely have this crazy glamorous personae."
Luke: "In high school, where were you in the social pecking order?"
Concetta: "I was a dork. I was president of the Latin club. I was pretty smart, and the smart girls, nobody like that. You had to be on the lacrosse team and sporty."
"I went to NYU and I studed Theater. I’ve wanted to be an actress since I was little."
Luke: "How did this Princess Superstar thing evolve?"
Concetta: "I started playing guitar in college. When I got out of college, I would go on all these auditions and I wasn’t getting very many parts. I did a little stint of Romeo & Juliet. I started joining bands. I thought, wow, you can just get up and play. You don’t have to wait for someone to give you a job. This acting stuff sucks. You have to wait. You are totally beholden to whatever winds, but if you’re in a band, you can just go play that night in some club in New York.
"I was finding more and more success with music.
"Hold on, my bird is screaming. Come on baby, OK? You, you, be quiet.
"I started recording some of my own music. I was a guitar player in an all-girl band but I really wanted to be solo, but I didn’t have the nerve for it. I was just terrified, but something in me said just go for it. Who cares if you’re nervous? I heard a really good quote last night, ‘How you deal with fear is a forced act of courage.’
"I set out on my own in 1994 and decided to do Princess Superstar. I made a demo tape and sent it to only a few labels. One of them was Grand Royal, the Beastie Boys label. This guy called me up and said, are you going to have a show in New York. I said, oh yeah. I had no idea. I had no band. I had nothing. I said, when are you coming? He said next month.
"I found out when he was coming. I got a band together. I got a show together. My first show was at The Pyramid, which was Madonna‘s first club appearance. I got my s— together. The guy never showed up but I just kept going. The rest is history. Now I’m working on my sixth album."
Luke: "How much do you DJ and how much do you sing and what goes on there?"
Concetta: "I started DJing about four years ago just for fun and that took off. DJing was really cool because it’s just me and I can go without putting a whole tour together with my band and getting the tour bus. The DJing is a one-man show. I’m singing two to three of my songs and the rest is DJing. I’m not a typical DJ because I come to it from performing. I’m always on the microphone and I’m always getting people excited and rapping over other songs. I’m a little bit crazy and trying to make it more of a show."
Luke: "And how is your music changing?"
Concetta: "That’s a really good question because as I get more spiritual, my music does too. I used to be just silly and want to make people laugh and have some smart crazy lyrics. I find that as I’m growing, my music is also growing. When I say my music is becoming more spiritual, I don’t mean it is becoming lame-ass literal. There is nothing I can’t stand more than literal New Age music, but what I’m excited about is mixing the two, keeping the crazy insane energy of Princess Superstar and that funny funny vibe but mixing it now with a deeper message. My next album is called ‘The New Evolution.’"
Luke: "How do you balance what you want to say with your music with what you think people want to hear?"
Concetta: "That’s just it. You’ve got to be subtle about the whole thing. New Age messages in music are just plain ol’ crap. They’re so boring. Nonetheless, the messages are really good. You’ve got to make people laugh. Look at ‘The Simpsons.’ They have political messages in there. Social commentary. You’re laughing and you go, ‘Wait, that’s pretty deep.’ I’m into hitting people in the head but in a subtle way."
Luke: "How did you construct the personae for Princess Superstar?"
Concetta: "When I first chose the name, it was more ironic. There were two things going on. One, every girl wants to be a princess and a superstar. Two, it’s ironic. The excesses of our society. We’re all obsessed with royalty and stardom. It’s so pathetic, the whole tabloid thing. The personae developed over time. I wanted it to be this futuristic, crazy, fun, funny, never take itself too seriously. That was always important to me, that the irony was always there."
Luke: "How has Princess Superstar affected Concetta Kirschner?"
Concetta: "When I first started, I was very shy, very nerdy. It was through default confidence that I got real confidence. I constructed this personae and behind this personae I could be whatever I wanted to be. I could be crazy on stage. All my favorite performers have incredible stage presence, like Iggy Pop. Behind this, I could hide."
Luke: "How did it affect the way people treated you, Concetta, when you evolved this outrageous personae?"
Concetta: "Certainly people have a lot of respect. People are like wow. I’ll be a white girl and I’ll be rapping. That’s rare. That I wasn’t pretending to be something I wasn’t in that world either. I was talking about my world, not talking about being from the ‘hood."
Luke: "How does Princess Superstar affect your dating and relationships?"
Concetta: "It’s really bad. It’s a real mess. Guys get really intimidated by Princess Superstar. Me, Concetta, I’m very different than this personae. It’s quite confusing for men. I did just get out of a three-year relationship, which was my longest. I’m not proud of that. I’m working on it. I’m in therapy. I’m single and I’m looking!"
Luke: "And what type of men attract you?"
Concetta: "I like Jewish men. I like very smart and deeply compassionate and conscious men. And funny. And cute. I will admit something, I thought you were cute."
Luke: "Even with the beard?"
Concetta: "I loved the beard."
Luke: "Most women hate the beard."
Concetta: "Really? I love it. I think you’re so much hotter with the beard."
Luke: "You’re the first woman who’s ever said that."
Luke: "Yeah. ‘Get rid of that beard Grizzly Adams.’"
Concetta: "Do you know why? It looks holy."
Luke: "The other day, this woman offered to have sex with me if I shaved it off. I refused."
Concetta: "Are you serious?"
Luke: "Yeah. A couple of women actually have offered to have sex with me if I shave off the beard."
Concetta: "You see? You’re going after the wrong women."
Concetta: "Now I make you shy."
Luke: "When you interact with your fans, do they want to interact with Princess Superstar or with Concetta?"
Concetta: "I think both. There are some fans who I know personally and some want to party. Man, I’m in bed at 11pm with an herbal tea. That’s my party."
Luke: "Was there a time in your life when you liked to party?"
Concetta: "Yes. I am so grateful that that time of my life is over now."
Luke: "Sexuality is a big part of what you sing about and act out. How did that happen and how do you deal with that?"
Concetta: "That was a fun topic to write about for a while. I felt like it was really taboo for women to talk, especially in the rap world. All the guys in all the rap songs, forget about rap, let’s talk about rock, in every genre, guys have been talking about sex in their songs forever, from Iggy Pop to Elvis to Robert Plant to whatever. And then when a woman does it, all of a sudden it’s a big deal, taboo, naughty. I happen to think that you can say some funny things, that sex and humor mix well. I was exploring that for a while. But I’m over it now. I feel like I’ve been there and done that. There have been quite a lot of women doing it."
Luke: "Have you read your mother’s book, "Love in 90 Days"?"
Luke: "And what do you think of the book?"
Concetta: "I think it’s great. She’s amazing. She’s helped so many people find love. I really like the book because it’s about self-empowerment and becoming the best you you can be."
Luke: How do your parents relate to your career?
Concetta: "They’re completely supportive. My father has come to my shows and played air guitar. I’ll be like, ‘Dad, there’s not even guitar in that song.’ I love my parents. I’m really close to them. They’ve been married for 40 years and they love each other. It’s amazing. They even make-out."
Luke: "How do you feel about growing older?"
Concetta: "It’s so funny because everyone, especially a woman, are so afraid of getting older. I feel like I’m getting hotter as I get older. I love the confidence that it gives me. It’s an inner self-love. Especially with the eating raw, this is the beauty diet. I feel awesome about getting older."
Luke: "I was reading a column a few weeks ago entitled, ‘Prudes at dinner, gluttons in bed.’ It says that as eating has become more highly charged with moral judgment, sex has become notably less so. Do you have any thoughts?"
Concetta: "I think that’s correct. We’re living in an age where the food system is horrendous on so many levels, spiritual, moral, emotional. If you look at the factories and the way they’re keeping animals in these cages where they can’t move, and the way they’re slaughtering them, I did see a documentary about kosher slaughtering, it’s one of the most cruelest, it’s supposed to be kind, but there’s a crazy documentary on it, I think it’s called Earthlings, the way animals are being kept, even dairy production, a cow is supposed to live 20 years but dairy cows live only about six because it is standing for 24 hours a day on metal slats with the light on for 24 hours, it’s horrific. I think there should be moral judgment. People need to know where their food is coming from. And then genetically modified food. They’re putting fish genes into tomatos. They’re doing all sorts of weird s— with our food supply, injecting pesticides into plants so that they grow with the pesticides in them. I could go on and on. I actually studied this. I am very passionate that we should educate ourselves about our food."