Singer Donna De Lory has spent 20-plus years as Madonna’s back-up singer and dancer on nearly every world tour, countless live performances and in music videos.
She gave an interview to Stuff Magazine and talks about music, yoga and Madonna!
Stuff Magazine: Do you find that a lot of Madonna fans wind up coming to the yoga centers? www.absolumentmadonna.fr
Donna De Lory: Some of them. But a lot of them, their lifestyles are just going in that direction [anyway], at least partly. It’s really sweet, a lot of fans would walk in [to a yoga center] and we’d say, “You have to take off your shoes.” They’d start apologizing: “Oh, we’re so sorry!” I’m like: you don’t have to be sorry! It’s just what we do in this place. [Laughs] It’s all a positive thing. I’m all about making positive music.
Stuff Magazine: Did studying Eastern philosophy help keep you grounded when you were traveling with Madonna? I just imagine, being so young in this exciting, glamorous life...
Donna De Lory: It always did, and more and more as I developed and grew in that experience. I was touring with a major superstar when I was 21. I was completely lost in it. I wanted to be just like Madonna. I was always comparing myself to her: how can you not? She was my big, famous sister. I was trying to be as pretty as her, as glamorous as her, have nice clothes like her. Here I am, [thinking] I can never have those kinds of clothes: Dolce and Gabbana morning and night. Maybe some day, but not right now! I was constantly trying to compare myself. ... But I learned. There was enough time in between working with her that I could go out, do my own thing and develop myself. Every time I came back to do a big tour, it was such a reflection to me of where I was at. Pretty soon, like the last time I toured in that capacity, I felt such incredible love for the audience: that oneness. I didn’t feel I was up on stage. I just realized that’s what it was all about - that’s what I wanted it to be about. I wasn’t into being on stage and being worshipped for myself - doing it as a character role is one thing. But having already gotten out there, my awareness had really changed a lot.
Stuff Magazine: You weren’t on her last tour. Is that change in awareness why?
Donna De Lory: I think inside I knew it was coming, but I was also pregnant and having my baby. I remember thinking, “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” I remember in that moment, I already missed it: “I’m not going to be on another Madonna tour!” But she’s a person who moves on. She fills a space and moves on. She has a lot of people who work for her, and this is part of the natural experience. I can go down my path and do my thing. I keep it open: when you work with someone for so long you keep it open to work with them again. Maybe not in the same capacity: I’d love to do more benefits and big events, and support her in that way.
Stuff Magazine: In terms of yoga and spirituality, some people would say Madonna is someone in pop culture that raised exposure too. Would you agree?
Donna De Lory: I think she reached a certain time in her life and there was a lot of that shown in her music. That’s what I appreciated in her as an artist, that [sense of] evolution. You’d see it on the tours, the images used on the screen, the symbols. I love the fact that people are into something, helping themselves grow and being more compassionate. Every time an artist does a record, it’s documenting where they are in their consciousness, in their life. My next record will document that about me. I’m already working on it. It has everything on there from a lullaby to my daughter to a funky, hip-hoppy kind of song. I think of it as my mainstream spiritual pop song. You don’t have to be into yoga to get the message. It’s just sweet.