What: Puddles Pity Party

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St., Bend

Cost: $31, $36 or $46 plus theater preservation fee, $99.50 plus theater preservation fee for Puddles Pity Party Experience Package

Contact: towertheatre.org or 541-317-0700

A 7-foot-tall clown walked onto the “America’s Got Talent” stage in 2017 to the sound of the audience’s laughter. By the time he left the stage, most of that audience was in tears.

Puddles Pity Party belted out his emotional version of Sia’s hit “Chandelier” during his audition on the 12th season of the show, advancing to the Judge Cuts round. Although he was eliminated in the quarterfinals, this gentle giant of a clown, mute except for his honeyed singing voice, made an indelible impression on anyone who watched his performances.

While “America’s Got Talent” raised Puddles’ national profile considerably, the mysterious, Atlanta-based clown went viral in 2013 thanks to his stark video cover of Lorde’s “Royals,” featuring Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.

He has since toured the world (with help from manager and spokesman Mike Geier, who, suspiciously, also sings and is about the same height as Puddles) with groups such as The Eels, and was a featured performer at Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme in 2015. His song catalog continued to grow, and his YouTube channel features covers ranging from Blondie’s “Dreaming” to a mash-up of Queen’s “Under Pressure” and “Let it Go” from Disney’s “Frozen.”

Expect these songs and more when Puddles brings the Pity Party to the Tower Theatre on Sunday.

“There is something for everybody at the Pity Party,” Puddles wrote via email to GO! Magazine. “Sing-alongs, dancing, fellowship and snacks. I’ve recently added a Warren Zevon and Nick Cave song to the show, and another Elvis tune, too.”

Puddles also answered questions about his song choices, coulrophobia (fear of clowns) and that fateful “America’s Got Talent” audition. Read on for more of his answers (edited for length and clarity).

Q: Hi, Puddles! Where are you right now, and how has the tour been going so far? Are you looking forward to coming to Bend, Oregon? Ever been here or performed here before?

A: Right now I’m in Santa Cruz, California, which is lovely. I can’t wait to get to Bend. I’ve never performed in your city. Did you know you have an extinct volcano there? That is epic.

Q: You put so much emotion into your singing and performances. Where does this come from — what are you tapping into when you’re singing? There seems to be a lot going on under the surface.

A: Music is like a master key that unlocks any door. I never know what is behind that door, but I just say yes and walk through. I’m always surprised by what I find there.

Q: Tell me about how you choose what songs to perform and record videos of? Tying in with the last question, how important is the emotional connection to the song? Are there any songs you’ve tried to sing and just couldn’t get into? What is your favorite song to sing?

A: It’s gotta have the feels. Sometimes those are hidden by production or tempo, but they’re there. And I find them. If a song doesn’t reveal its secret easily, I just keep trying. I’ve been working on a Led Zeppelin song for five years. I guess you could call it my Moby Dick. Which is fitting because the song is called “Moby Dick.” My favorite song to sing right now is “If I Can Dream.” It’s kind of a macho “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and it really speaks to these troubled times.

Q: You’ve been asked this many times before, I’m sure, but: Why so sad? Why do you think audiences respond to that sadness?

A: It’s a sad and beautiful world, and it’s ok to cry. We all need to let it out and work through our feelings.

Q: There seems to be a lot of coulrophobia out there. Why do you think people are scared of clowns? What would you say (or write) to someone who is scared of coming to your show?

A: Hey there, lil’ buddy. It’s ok. I hope you give me a chance. But if you won’t, I understand.

Q: Related to that, do you remember all the scary clown sightings that were in the news in 2016? What did you think of that?

A: I like it when folks get weird. But those ornery clown stunts didn’t help my cause with the coulrophobes. I was constantly having to reassure startled strangers that I’m a hugger, not a mugger.

Q: What are your earliest memories of singing? Do you remember the first song you learned to sing?

A: My MeeMaw said I came into this world screaming and carrying on to the tune of “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

Q: Your website mentions the story of how Mike Geier “discovered” you in a bar in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1998. What were your earliest impressions of Mike?

A: Hmmm … who discovered whom? I thought, “Dang, that guy is huge!” I also noticed that he sure liked to talk a lot. But he makes a mean Shirley Temple and he didn’t charge me for extra garnish. He’s alright in my book. Ya know, he’s half an inch taller than me, and both of his feet are the same size? Some guys have all the luck …

Q: Your version of Lorde’s “Royals” with Postmodern Jukebox went viral in 2013, giving you one of your first big breaks. Tell me about recording that song. What drew you to it in the first place? Were you surprised at how popular it got?

A: I think both of us were pretty surprised at how fast it took off. I met Scott on some gigs we were working at Sleep No More in New York City. One day, he asked me to stop by his place in Astoria to record a video with him. I didn’t know much about the song before I got there. He played it for me and I sang it and we recorded it. Just like that. It was fun! He offered me granola bars and ice water, but I had to be on my way. There was a savory pie calling my name in Greenpoint.

Q: How and why did you end up auditioning on “America’s Got Talent?” What was your favorite part of doing the show, and what did you learn from the experience? Did Simon Cowell or any of the other judges have any good performing tips that you’ve carried over into your shows?

A: AGT was a wild ride. They have the greatest crew that work on that show. I love them. They were so kind to me. One lesson I learned was be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. Simon Cowell suggested I be myself. So that’s what I did. And that’s what I try to do at all my shows.

23309299