June 19, 2014


Big Freedia Tour Manager Melvin Foley Talks Bounce, Tour Life

Along with following today's most sought-after bounce musician, the new season of Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce gives a fascinating look at what it takes to be the Queen Diva's tour manager. Melvin "Boss" Foley has worked with rising star Big Freedia for roughly seven years, but has been a fixture in the New Orleans bounce scene for much longer, managing names like Juvenile and Choppa. Bringing a laid-back demeanor to his job that balances out Freedia's high-energy, booty-shaking sets, Foley embodies southern charm mixed with a skillful swagger of making sure things run smoothly. Fuse recently spoke with him about his connection to Freedia, the rowdiest times on stage and how to spot a Freedia groupie.

It seems like you have a great job. How did you get into bounce? 

I'm a native of New Orleans and have dealt with some of the bounce artists before. It caught my interest, and I went to see Freedia. I went and was very impressed with the control that she had over the crowd. I said, "Wait a minute, there's something here." I told her, "You have a reality show here." That was probably in 2006 or 2007.

What were your first impressions of Big Freedia? 

We first met at the club. We sat down and talked, and she asked if I was interested in getting with her. And I got with her! I thought she was a very humble person, and we connected real good—and here it is, the magic's been made!

As far as bounce goes, what puts Freedia at the top of the game? 

Big Freedia is bounce right now. There's no other in the city like Freedia. Or in the country. Bounce is Freedia. We've taken it to other levels. It can always go higher, but we're at a good place right now. 

What are some of the craziest things you've seen on tour? 

So much. So much. The people that come up on stage that know nothing about bounce but try to do it—they do what they see on videos and stuff. When they come to the show, and they just let their hair down. It's hilarious to see them try and shake like our girls. 

Has anyone injured themselves falling off the stage or pulled a muscle? 

No. If anybody's falling offstage, it's because they're intoxicated. 

It seems like you all take the operation pretty seriously. After shows, what's the atmosphere like backstage? 

We have people videoing all of us, and we'll look back to see what people are doing what. You get to comparing notes. Sometimes, we have a little competition onstage, where the girls will go up against each other. 

What are Freedia's groupies like? 

Oh, my god. Freedia groupies are fanatics. They like the Freedia booty shorts, the t-shirts, the hairstyle that Freedia be wearing. It's crazy, it really is.

Watch Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce every Wednesday at 11/10c on Fuse. Find Fuse in your area.