A Scots drag queen, left homeless by the corornavirus pandemic, has released a single to help rough sleepers and those battling mental health issues.
Gee Ritchie was gearing up for his ‘busiest year yet’ under the guise of drag act, Gina Gee, before Covid-19 put Scotland’s entertainment industry on ice.
Struggling to find work, the 31-year-old from Glasgow was forced to give up his city centre pad, apply for universal credit and move into emergency accommodation in May.
Just a few weeks ago, Gee secured a flat and got back into music; by writing, recording and releasing a song about his emotional struggles amid the pandemic.
His heartfelt ballad, ‘Broken’, has since gone viral, edging its way closer to the iTunes chart.
All proceeds from its downloads will go to charity.
Gee, who lives with his three-year-old chihuahua, Harley, told the Record: “I’ve worked all my days so it was a real knock to my pride applying for universal credit.
“But I wasn’t eligible for grants that were available as I’ve been self-employed for less than three years.
“Finding work has been really hard.
“The money I’d earn from one gig, was all I was getting in a month.
“I was really scared about ending up on the streets, I couldn’t imagine it before all of this.”
Between Gina Gee gigs, singing stints as Gee and running a tribute act, the popular performer’s 2020 calendar was full of bookings across the UK and Spain.
But rather than spending summer performing to adoring fans in holiday hotspots, like Salou and Mallorca, Gee had hit ‘rock bottom’ in temporary accommodation after work dried up completely.
“I felt so lucky to have a roof over my head, but I was so low that some days I coulnd’t get out of bed,” he added.
“I didn’t know how I would get back on my feet as it was so hard to get work.”
During his darkest moments, life-long song writer, Gee, penned, Broken; a ballad that exposes his deepest emotional struggles while homeless.
He said: “I wanted to write something that was about my experience that might also help others going through similar issues.
“It encourages people to keep pushing on and keep their chin up.”
As Glasgow was placed under tier three restrictions, Gee headed straight to the recording studio.
Soon after, Broken, was released on a number of platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes.
It’s just 100 downloads away from gaining a spot on the coveted iTunes chart.
All proceeds made from downloads will go to charities supporting those who are homeless or dealing with mental health issues.
“The reaction has been incredible,” Gee added.
“Hundreds of people have messaged me saying it helped them.
“That’s what really matters.”
Just a few weeks before Christmas Gee was provided with his own accommodation.
Off the back off Broken’s success, he hopes to record more music and get back on tour, in some capacity, come next spring.
“I’m so proud of the single and what it’s achieved so far,” he said.
“Hopefully next year I can take Gina Gee, a real Scottish fishwife, back on the road and get performing again.”
You can download Broken on a number of platforms including Amazon Music.
The Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 116 123 or by visiting their website.
-- to www.dailyrecord.co.uk