There has been much crushing on America Horror Story’s Jessica Lange after her David Bowie cover stole the show on Wednesday. The 1971 single, “Life on Mars?” was a surprising twist for the Season 4 premiere, which centers on a 1952 Freak Show. The award-winning actress only recently started dabbling in singing, but her iTunes-released single has already received an almost unanimous 5-star rating and a 100% popularity ranking. Fans who enjoyed her performance can rejoice, because creator Ryan Murphy has now revealed that Lange’s Bowie cover is only the beginning.
“Her talent is singing in the freak show,” explains Murphy. “People would come out and do vocal performances and then bring on the two-headed lady or the world’s smallest person. It was always about exploration of different types of talent. [We] didn’t want to do ‘Happy Days.’ We didn’t want her and the other performers to come out and do songs from that period. We thought that what would be cool if the music we did feature was not random – it was very specific.”
The covers that will be performed in upcoming episodes will be chosen based on the identities of the original artists, rather than the time period or setting. “We’re only doing songs by artists who have self-identified as freaks; that they felt different,” says Murphy. He goes on to hint at some other possible collaborations, divulging, “David Bowie said yes to that, Lana Del Rey said yes to that, Kurt Cobain’s daughter said yes to that, Fiona Apple approved that. That for me was the theme of the season, so we went for it. And that’s how we came up with the ‘Life on Mars’ idea.”
Murphy also stated that Baz Luhrmann’s work was an inspiration for the soundtrack’s time period fluidity, specifically the 2001 musical, Moulin Rouge. In recent years, Luhrmann was equally slammed and praised for similar musical anachronism in his 2013 film, The Great Gatsby. Luhrmann’s take on the 1920s classic included music from Jay Z, will.i.am, and Fergie, among other present-day stars.
The forthcoming music features are still under wraps for American Horror Story: Freak Show, but you can catch the next episode this Wednesday at 10PM EST on FX. Hopefully, Murphy’s promise of more freaky covers and more Jessica Lange vocals will help you hang in there when the scary clowns start popping up.