Donna De Lory kindly agreed to join us in a Q&A celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Drowned World Tour (June 9 2021)
The Drowned World Tour was the first proper world tour since 1993’s Girlie Show, what changed mostly opposed to that tour in ’93?
So much time had gone by and we had all grown up in many ways. Niki and I had pursued our own artist careers and I believe developed even more respect for Madonna as a woman and true artist. Madonna had a family then so there was naturally less time for us to hang out while on tour as we had done years before.
There was talk of a Bedtime Stories Tour in ’95 and a Ray of Light Tour in ’99 but both never happened either due to Madonna becoming a mother, doing “EVITA” and “The Next Best Thing”, were you ever approached for these tours?
No I don’t remember talking about other tours but I knew how busy she was with her film career and her family life.
Before the Drowned World Tour you performed with Madonna at the Grammy’s in ’99 and did the extensive promotional tour for the release of “Music” with her. What was it like performing with Madonna again?
The Grammy’s were so much fun and I loved the oriental inspired look! We were so happy that she chose to do that song because we felt it was so strong since we went in to sing on it on the album. I must admit that Niki and I were a bit nervous during the performance about standing on the set rocks with 8 inch heels while belting out, “Nothing Really Matters” but we were used to a good challenge when performing with Madonna. I remember looking out and seeing Sting, Bono, Elton John and prayed that I wouldn’t loose my balance.
It was so much fun to perform the new songs on the promo tour. We were so happy for her continued success and how people loved “Music” and all of the other new songs. The promo tour was so much fun because it was more relaxed than being on tour and I felt like we got to play and interact more while singing and dancing. The promo concerts at Roseland and Brixton Academy felt so special and custom made for the fans!! They just felt like a big party and I loved the addition of live strings to the band too😁
The Drowned World Tour was a hugely succesful tour and sold out everywhere it went, do you know if any other stops were planned to be included in the itinerary? There was a rumour Madonna would be performing in Amsterdam, but that never happened (she did perform in Holland for the Re-Invention Tour in 2004)
I don’t know for sure.
Do you remember any tracks rehearsed for the Drowned World Tour that did not make it to the final setlist?
No but she liked to switch songs while on tour to keep things fresh. It was always nice when she would come into soundcheck and say that she wanted to add a new song. I knew the fans would go crazy!
Do you have the possibility to bring ideas or elements to contribute to the creation process of the show?
A bit here and there but Madonna always had a clear vision of what she wanted and there were so many moving parts to make the show so captivating. We were there to support her and help carry out her ideas. Niki and I were always suggesting adding harmonies and variations of the melodies because of the way we could all blend and harmonize.
What was your favorite track to perform during this show?
Holiday of course! We had so much fun with this. Besides singing great together I feel like Niki Madonna and I could be really funny together! I love the rap that Niki does in the beginning of the song.
Madonna presented the audience with ‘The Funny Song’ aka ‘Oh Dear Daddy’ and joked around with the band and with you, before launching the song ‘Secret’, was this part improvised or rehearsed at each night?
I believe it as improvised on tour. I just went back and watched that part of the show. I do think we make a great country trio don’t you?
The 9/11 attacks happened during this tour and some dates were postponed, it must have been quite challenging to continue to perform in the show?
Yes it was challenging and we are all in shock and so sad. At the next show after 9/11 at the Staples Center, we heard rumors of possible bomb threats in the arena but decided to go on with the show with no fear. It felt comforting to be with so many people to mourn together and celebrate the many lives lost. Everything suddenly had a different meaning. The audience kept holding up signs of New York City during the performance. I remember walking through the backstage of the arena and seeing the address of the towers written on the road cases as some of Madonna’s business offices were there.
You recently re-recorded and released ‘Just a Dream’, which was originally released in 1993 and became a hit in the Hot Dance Club Play chart. Madonna and Patrick Leonard wrote and produced the track in ’89, Madonna then recorded the track for her ‘Like a Prayer’ album but it never made the tracklist. How do you look back upon this track?
I was so happy and grateful that Madonna so generously gave me the song to record myself as she thought it would be perfect for my debut album. I decided to keep her background vocals on the track and add more of my own vocals as I thought her original vocals she put down when she wrote the song had such emotion. The version that is on my new EP is rearranged to go with the music that I am making now. It is more organic, acoustic and an engineer that I work with even said that it sounded to him like Fleetwood Mac. I take that as a great compliment, they were one of my favorite groups growing up.
Can we expect more music from you and Niki Haris?
Yes, we will be releasing a remix by Bright Light Bright of “I Know You I Live You” very soon and we are hoping to meet to record more later this summer. Always open to more song ideas too from our supporters.
You released a new EP on 4/23 ‘We Shine’ that also includes ‘Just A Dream’, can you tell us more about this release?
My new EP includes 3 covers of my own songs. Two of them, “Just a Dream” and “Somewhere in my Heart” were originally recorded on my first solo album that has never been available digitally. I thought that these were important songs from my life and I should cover them in a new way that would align more with the acoustic music that I make now. Also included in the album is, “I’ll be There for you”, the first song that I ever wrote about my Mother passing away when I was young and how I knew the secret of her own lost dreams that she could never realize. The song is ultimately a celebration because now I can lead this fulfilled life that my Mom never had.
There is also a Tracy Chapman cover called “I’m Ready” that I heard in a Yoga class and thought, I would love to make a new version of this using world music instruments. I am always so healed by nature, the ocean, rivers, waterfalls. The lyric says, “I’m ready to let the river wash over me”. The most personal song on the album is called “Two Secrets” that I wrote on acoustic guitar about a traumatic situation dealing with a loved one struggling with addiction. It’s really about finding the strength and setting personal boundaries for myself from a place of love and compassion.
Big thank you to Madonnaunderground for always being here to support me over the years. I want to also say THANK YOU to all of the Madonna fans out there! I am so happy to share these memories of Madonnas’s music from our lives that I know will always have a big place in our hearts. I look forward to a time when we can meet again in person and celebrate this precious life together. Peace, Love and many blessings to you always!
Follow your Bliss, Donna
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