With an excessive yet necessary mixture of creativity, uniqueness, nerve and talent, RuPaul’s Drag Race season six runner up and fan favorite, Adore Delano, effortlessly stole the spotlight with her vibrant personality, quotable catchphrases and precise comedic timing during her memorable run on LOGO TV’s reality competition show.
Following her season’s conclusion in May 2014, Delano(aka Danny Noriega) wasted no time in using those precious “fifteen minutes of fame” to her ultimate advantage. In June, the performer released her debut album, Till Death Do Us Party, to positive reviews and strong commercial sales.
The album, preceded by infectious singles “DTF” and “I Adore U”, debuted at number 59 on the Billboard 200, selling over 5,000 copies in its first week and becoming the highest charting effort from a drag performer. The album’s chart and sales numbers even bested past performances from RuPaul and season four winner Sharon Needles.
Performing her original material during a recent stop in Austin, Texas, the entertainer opened up about plans for a brand new album, the reveal of her debut album’s seventh single and the differences between the personalities of Danny and her drag alter ego.
“I think a lot of drag queens have a lot of approaches to drag and they feel different about what their persona does to them,” Delano says. “It just exaggerates my personality and lets me do things that I feel like I can’t really do as Danny. I’m quite a hermit and I like to stay home and be away from people. But when I’m in drag it’s kind of like my superhero.”
While in high school, Delano admits to being bullied, choosing to start wearing makeup in order to reinvent himself, an experience he says was extremely liberating.
The reinvention continued as Danny auditioned for the seventh season of American Idol in 2008. Eventually only making it to the semi-finals of the competition, the exposure was enough to garner a devoted following who then turned Noriega into an online sensation as he performed and introduced his drag character, Adore Delano, for the first time.
After years of rumors and anticipation, Delano finally made a deserved appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race during its sixth season, quickly moving to the forefront of the crowd with her charm and wit. She may not have won the coveted crown, that honor went to Bianca Del Rio, but Delano certainly made a lasting impression.
The performer was asked to film a “Coffee Frenemies” commercial for Starbucks, alongside Del Rio, was set to perform the role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter for a month-long engagement of The Rocky Horror Show in San Antonio, Texas – she eventually withdrew due to dental surgery- and her debut album, Till Death Do Us Party, garnered critical acclaim and has seen the release of six official singles, including her latest effort, “My Address is Hollywood”.
“Writing ‘My Address is Hollywood’ had to do with the first time I felt like a star,” Delano shares. “I remember when I was about 12 or 13, I went to Hollywood Boulevard with my mom. I just felt at home there. I just felt I came alive, my personality was able to shine and that’s when I knew 100% that’s what I wanted to do”
For the accompanying music video, released at the beginning of November, Delano is shown in her trademark red hair, leopard print and torn fishnets as she walks down the busy streets of Los Angeles. The video is a darker, honest look underneath the shiny surface of the cinematic version of the city.
“I wanted to show the rough parts of Hollywood, and what it takes to make it. It’s very slight, but in the beginning, it’s like ‘is she a prostitute. Is she struggling?’,” the artist says. “It’s a dark side of Hollywood that not a lot of people talk about and express in music, so I wanted to show the delusion in Hollywood as well. Everyone thinks they’re a star and everyone thinks they’re better than everyone while getting a f***ing Starbucks coffee.”
The artist shares that so much love, time and exhausting with into the making of her album, resulting in a finished product she can happily say she is proud of.
Though the album was released back in June, Delano has not stopped promoting her collection of dance/pop hits. Following single releases of “Party”, “Hello, I Love You” and “I Look Fuckin’ Cool feat. Alaska Thunderfuck”, the sexually-driven and seductive “Jump The Gun” was next in line to receive the official single treatment with plans for a Wild Things-inspired music video featuring an appearance from fellow competitor Courtney Act.
“We did the video in the summer in Sydney, Australia,” Delano says. “I wasn’t really happy with it in the beginning to be honest, I like to be hands on with the editing process of my videos and we just went back and forth. I think it’s going to be one of those “Born to Make You Happy” Britney Spears videos.”
However, plans have changed and now Delano reveals her cover of “Give Me Tonight”, originally performed by Shannon, will be released as her album’s seventh single.
“’Jump The Gun’ is going to be released as a bonus video, but ‘Give Me Tonight’ is the next video that we’re going to start. We are doing this dark, retro thing,” Delano says.
It appears the seventh single will also be the last off the 11-track Till Death Do Us Party as Delano will soon begin work on a follow-up record, hitting the recording studio in December with some renowned writers she’s refused to name.
Delano admits that although performing her original songs is fun at first, it can get boring when there’s a limited selection of songs to choose from for every show. This could be why the artist unexpectedly gave an impressive spot-on rendition of Lil Kim’s “How Many Licks?” during her Oil Can Harry’s show in Austin, Texas on Sunday.
“I think I have a block right now where you get jaded after a year of your album coming out,” she says. “We are working on new stuff next month. I just want to release an album every year because I get so sick of it so fast.”
While her debut album mostly covered carefree, sometimes humorous, topics such as sex, partying, deranged stalkers and monsters, events of the past year have allowed the performer to dive into more personal storytelling for her upcoming sophomore effort.
“It’s going to be a little more serious. I’ve gone through a lot of shit this year,” Delano says. “I fell in love, I got to travel the world, my dad passed away, I want to write about real shit. It’s darker I think, but it’s still me.”
As Delano continues to travel across the country, performing at various venues and events, the artist does have plans for a three-week break in order to relax and collect herself. Afterwards, it’s the fast-paced showbiz life once again. In January, Delano will travel to Europe for another tour, return to Australia in February, hit the road with other Drag Race contestants for Battle of the Seasons and hit Austria soon thereafter.
Along with her obligations and commitments, Delano still finds the time to further her career as a musician and an aspiring actor. Big things are still to come from the reality competition star.
“We’re auditioning for movies and stuff like that. There’s some really cool roles,” she says. “And just music, I just want to make music and be content and happy.”