Musically, Adore Delano is one of the most talented contestants to come out of LOGO TV’s RuPaul’s Drag Race. She recently completed season six and used that talent to finish in the top three. So it comes as no surprise that Delano, whose real name is Danny Noriega, went on to set a Drag Race record when her debut album Till Death Do Us Party (Released June 3rd) sold 5,000 copies in it’s first week – outselling all previous recordings released by a Drag Race alum. Party debuted at #1 on the Dance Chart on iTunes, and peaked at #3 and #59 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Album and Top 200 Album charts, respectively.
Delano has made it clear that competing on Drag Race was a platform to kick off her music career, after a semi-final finish on Season 7 of American Idol failed to do so. Being on American Idol clearly demonstrated that national exposure can only take you so far, and that you still have to put in the hard work. Delano is not taking a top three finish on Drag Race for granted. “I’ve always said no matter if you win or not… you have to work your ass off. It’s such a no bullshit business,” says the 24-year old drag star. The day that the Drag Race finale aired, May 19, Adore released the first single DTF from her debut album, followed by her second and only charting single to date (Billboard Dance Chart #49) I Adore You, which Delano took the lead in writing. After returning home from a month long tour of Australia and New Zealand, the fourth single, Hello, I Love You was just released, launching Adore into her current Till Death Do Us Party Tour along the west coast of the U.S. and all over Canada, complete with a live band. “(Performing) is just so much more intimate when it’s live music and live vocals,” Adore proclaims.
Watching Adore Delano on Drag Race, you couldn’t help but foresee this drag artist becoming a rock star, and after my chat with the drag starlet, I’m even more convinced her plan to be one is just around the corner. She’ll certainly be throwing her party ’till death.
I want to congratulate you for the initial success you’ve received for your debut album Till Death do Us Party. Its charting stats have been remarkable. Thank you so much!
You have stated from the beginning that your intention for auditioning for RuPaul’s Drag Race (both Season 5 and 6) was to get on the show to kick-off a singing career – which you now have going in full swing. Has the end result of you being on the show been the same regardless of your runner-up finish? Of course the exposure from the show will help you no matter what. But I have always said that no matter if you win or lose, you have to always work your ass off…. I have literally been off for only 3 days since the show. You have to do the videos. You have to be calculating. You have to know what you want to do. It’s such a no bullshit business. So I’m already working on the second album.
Was your debut album in production prior to the airing of the Drag Race Season 6 you were on? No, we spent a couple of months writing the album starting in March 2014 (Drag Race ended May 19). We recorded a little after that, so it was all going on during the middle of Drag Race.. It took me 3 days to record the entire fucking album. I knocked it out.
You released two singles immediately after the Season 6 of Drag Race ended, the first DTF and the second I Adore You, two very different types of songs. If I must say, the whole album is a bit eclectic to me. You’ve got a little rock, pop and some EDM on this album. However, you released it as a Dance genre album. Is that a real representation of the music on the album? Not necessarily, but being a drag artist it is difficult to get on the main charts. So, we decided on the Dance (chart) and that helped. I mean it’s better to be #1 on the Dance chart than to be like one million on the Pop Chart. But, what is awesome, I got to be #1 on Dance and I debuted at #59 on the Billboard 200 chart in America. I thought that was really awesome. I didn’t expect that and was pleasantly surprised.
I know I Adore You, which you co-wrote, is probably the most personal song on the album. Based on its popularity with buyers on iTunes, it also seems to be the fan favorite. It’s a quality piece of work, quite worthy of radio play and large-scale attention. How do you feel about the attention that particular song is receiving? The difference with DTF and I Adore You represents the difference when others want your single to be one thing, and the artist wants the single to be something else. I chose and fought for I Adore You to be the second single. I really wanted it to be the first single released, but they (the label) said no. I was not happy with DTF being the first single. I wrote almost all of I Adore You. I was like ‘I don’t want this song to be touched’. I came up with the melody. I came up with the rap. I came up with everything. It was a song written from personal experience, so I wanted the song to really be solid. I got the chills just hearing what you said because I Adore You is the song that I had the most involvement with. So, it’s really lovely to hear your comments. My second album will definitely be more intimate and more like I Adore You, I feel.
Your album was put out on Sidecar Records. Are you in a multi-album contract, or is this a one-off? Well, my music management is Lucia Change (partner with Producer Entertainment Group), who also owns Sidecar Records. So, it all gets distributed through them.
You are not half-stepping on this on this tour. You are touring with a live band! Is it safe to say that coming to see you will be like going to see P!nk rock it out? We all knew from watching you on RuPaul’s Drag Race that you would be a rock star. You oozed ‘rock star’ every time you walked the runway. You seem to have a little bit of something in you for everybody – young, old and in the middle. Are you living the dream right now? It really is! You know my friends made fun of me saying ‘you know you made a Pop album, but you Rock on stage.’ But, that’s how I’ve always been as a performer. To have a band, it really allows you to release all of that. It’s my natural state, and how I perform naturally. It’s just so much more intimate when it’s live music and live vocals. What’s great is the people showing up to the concerts are really fans of the album and the music. They all know the words. It’s such a magical experience.
As Ru Paul says, ‘don’t fuck it up’ and miss a word because the audience will catch it. Right!? <laughs>
You’ve stated that even though you were a Finalist on Season 7 of American Idol as your boy self, that you really felt the most comfortable performing as Adore Delano on Drag Race. Is it that comfort zone as Adore that is contributing to your music and career taking off so well? Absolutely! I was a kid at 17 when I auditioned for American Idol. I didn’t know what I was doing or what direction I was going to take. I had done drag performances before doing American Idol, and I had been living my life like a girl from the age of 14. I’ve always loved make-up. <laughs> So, it was interesting to sort of feel more ‘in drag’ while out of drag because my natural state is being wacky and weird. I always say I was inspired by Steve Burns (original host of Blues Clues turned rock star). I knew I had to tone it down for the Fox Network but to be a cookie cutter image was not my type of thing. However, I’m really thankful for the (American Idol) experience. I met some awesome people. But doing drag is like being a superhero. When I was in school, I was bullied. But you know when you put on a face (makeup) and kind of reinvent yourself, it’s really empowering and a big rush to do that. I could go up to people with confidence and say ‘Go Fuck Yourself!’
You know, for the most part, music that has come from drag artists has been pretty campy. But your music doesn’t really fit that description. The video for DTF is a little tongue-in-cheek, but the music is solid. Do you think your music will reach beyond the audience that watched Drag Race and push the drag art even further out there for even more people to see and experience? That’s basically my goal. I am doing a lot of things that a lot of other Drag Race girls haven’t done. I just did an acoustic session of the album. The women who watch Drag Race tell me their husbands love the album, which is awesome. When I came off the airplane in New Zealand, there was a little girl with her Mom and brother, and she was just crying while telling me how much she loved my song Party. (It was) so awesome!
As I mentioned earlier, you are touring the album with an upcoming stop in San Francisco on Tuesday, August 19. Where else will you be taking the tour? And, how long will the tour run? I have a shit load of things going until next year. It’s pretty crazy right now! With the band, I’m doing San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle and a lot of Canada. I’m just about to head out on a solo tour in Europe at the beginning of August, which will be awesome.
Adore Delano’s debut album Til Death Do Us Party featuring DTF and I Adore You is available on iTunes and all other online retail outlets. Adore’s latest single Hello, I Love You is now available on iTunes.
Appearing with a live band, Adore’s tour makes a stop in San Francisco on Saturday, August 19th at the DNA Lounge.
For more information and tickets www.dnalounge.com/tickets
Adore Delano’s August American Tour Schedule
August 15 – Club 5 Madison, WA
August 16 – Sidewinders Albuquerque, NM
August 19 – DNA Lounge San Francisco, CA
August 20 – Badlands Sacramento, CA