J'adore Adore: A Conversation with Drag Race's Breakthrough Star

Adore Delano in "I Adore U" music video. Producer Entertainment Group, 2014

Adore Delano in "I Adore U" music video.
Producer Entertainment Group, 2014

Adore Delano may not have won the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, but that isn't stopping her from stealing the spotlight. Adore's debut album, Till Death Do Us Party has reached the #1 spot on the iTunes Dance Chart and her new music video for "I Adore U" has already topped 300,000 views in less than a week. 

I had the opportunity to chat with Adore about the new album, her experience on Drag Race and dealing with the pressures of stardom. After our conversation, one thing was clear: w
e are going to be seeing a lot more of Adore Delano/Danny Noriega in the coming months, as this breakthrough artist continues to burst into the mainstream.

I wanted to start off by asking, what does your music mean to you?

AD: Music is life for me. I'm a performer. I'm a musician. This is like what I've always wanted and I wanted to do it right. Music is comfortability for me. It's liberating - it's who I am.

You've been at this a long time. I remember a few years ago right after all of the American Idol hype, you released a single called "24/7"

AD: Oh my god! I apologize. Haha!

It was really catchy. I mean, you know how to make good dance music!

AD: I didn't even write that. My sister wrote it with her friends or whatever. I remember she was like "You need a single, let's do it!"

Did you always know that you wanted to be a popstar?

AD: Yeah, I mean I always knew. When I was younger, I would tell my mom: I want to be a popstar and I want to work at Pick-and-Save. Since I was a baby, I always knew that this was the route I was going to be taking. This was always in my blood.

I was kind of a troublemaker at school. I was just not into learning and I was very rebellious. I'd tell my teachers like "I don't need to learn. I'm a singer. I'm going to be a popstar!"

As of this moment, Till Death Do Us Party is #1 on the iTunes dance charts in Canada and The United States, among other countries. How does that feel?

AD: It feels... I just got chills! It feels so awesome! I don't think it's sunk in yet It's just really overwhelming in a good way. I was really nervous about this because I was prepared for negative feedback, just so I could be prepared. I thought, 'what if they don't like it?' And that's okay if they don't. But I just put so much into this and I wrote so much of this that it's really a part of me. I'd say 85% of the songs are about something I've gone through or are a part of me.

On your album, there's a song called "Hello, I Love You," it's kind of adorable and a bit of an anthem for stalkers. There must be a story behind that track?

AD: Absolutely! I identified as transgender when I was in high school so I lived my life as girl from when I was about 14 and a half until almost 17, before my time on American Idol. And I remember this guy came up to me, his name was Greg, and he thought that I was a girl. He gave me his number... and I told him that I was a boy and he took it back. And completely like didn't want anything to do with me! So I would like stalk him with my friends when he was jogging in the morning to his wrestling practice. I was convinced that he was gonna love me!

I think we've all had at least one of those experiences with a straight guy. Haha!

I keep forgetting how young you were when you made it on American Idol. Were you ready for the fame when you got it? Both with American Idol and then again with RuPaul's Drag Race?

AD: I don't think I was ready. I was a baby. I auditioned when I was 17. I was getting presented with reality shows but I was turning them down because I wanted to be an actor and I thought I knew what I was going to do. I definitely think I'm ready for it this time around, because I'm older and I'm more experienced. I'm grateful for American Idol to teach me to not pass up on any opportunity, I'm saying yes to everything. I'm exhausted, but I'm working my ass off and it's paying off.

Who inspires Adore and Danny as an artist?

AD: My mother inspires me, she really does. She's just a powerful, really strong woman and she inspires Adore. That's a lot of where I get the concepts for my character from. I'm inspired by a lot of tragic beauties in Hollywood like Anna-Nicole, Courtney Love and people that were very misunderstood, even Amy Winehouse, to name a recent one. I just really love the misunderstood tragic beauties of our time, where it's like they put themselves in the limelight, being completely themselves and they get judged for it and it's really beautiful to watch but tragic and sad at the same time.

And I identify with prostitutes. I have no idea why, but I've identified with prostitutes since I was younger. I remember going to Hollywood when I was younger and we would talk to the prostitutes and we would buy them pizza and just talk about their life stories and what brought them to that point and a lot of them were really like "Fuck it, we're taking the power back." It was very shocking to hear that. Now I'm in no way equating exotic dancers to prostitutes but in a way, I really look up to them too, because I think it's awesome that they're kind of taking the power back and getting the man's coin by what they have.

At what stage of putting on drag does Adore Delano emerge?

AD: Adore comes out when the lips are on. It's the lips and the wig. That's when shit is about to get real.

Has there been a personal evolution because of the Drag Race experience? What does that feel like?

AD: Yeah, absolutely! Drag Race changed me as a person. The talks that Ru and I had - they didn't even air the full talk but what he told me has helped me out in my daily life as well as drag. He helped me with my confidence, helped me realize why I freak out and he taught me to really just go for shit and put a stamp on my talent and just really embrace it for what it is and take every opportunity that comes my way. RuPaul is a fascinating person - he's just awesome.

So what's next for your career?

AD: I'm just going to continue touring and working my ass off and hopefully I can get some fucking shit hopping. I mean, I wanna be an actor I wanna star in stuff, I want to take over the world and put my stamp on mainstream with this album. And I want to record another album and I want to recycle the money I'm making back into my career and really make this blow up. I just really want to make good pop music!

Which you're definitely doing - the album is fantastic! One last question... are you Team Madonna or Team Lady Gaga?

AD: It's so hard! Because I'm so obsessed with eighties culture and the movies and what Madonna did in the eighties. Like A Virgin is one of my favourite albums of all-time. I really love old school Madonna, but I'm a kid of this generation. I love Lady Gaga and everything she does, I'm like YEAH! I'm such a Libra! I love them both! You can't really compare them. Madonna is an icon of so many generations and I mean, kids half my age know what's up with Madonna you know what I mean? She's still up and doing her shit.