When Mama RuPaul asked Adore Delano what she planned on doing if she were to win Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race during the May finale, her strategy was pretty straightforward: To become the next drag pop superstar. (Like Lady Gaga…but with a penis, she clarified.)
And while Adore ultimately wasn’t the queen to sashay away with the crown that night, it hardly mattered — she was already on her way.
From the first few episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the “Party!” hog body drag-pop princess quickly stole the show as a fan favorite: With her chill attitude, bomb ass ratchet couture trappings and adorable (get it?) ditziness (and don’t forgot a spot-on Anna Nicole Smith in Snatch Game), the 24-year-old drag newcomer provided the perfect contrast to Bianca Del Rio‘s well-seasoned, razor-sharp sass.
By the time the finale episode wrapped, Adore was already putting the finishing touches on her debut album Till Death Do Us Party (released on June 3), as well as a series of music videos, webisodes and shows around the country.
The album is a solid collection of electro-pop club cuts (including a cover of Shannon‘s “Give Me Tonight”), sobering balladry (“I Adore U”), sleazy come-ons (“D T F”), fuck-off anthems (“The Creeps”) and hilariously over-the-top camp, including “I Look Fuckin’ Cool,” her storming collaboration with fellow Queen, Alaska Thunderfuck.
Upon its release last week, Till Death hovered just outside of the Top 10 on the iTunes Top Albums Chart, sitting above acts like Lana Del Rey, Sam Smith and Iggy Azalea. Could Adore truly be the next drag queen to sissy that walk right into the mainstream?
Judging by the public response, all signs point to “Yaaaaas, bitch.”
I had a brief chat with Adore last week about the making of her debut album and her upcoming showcase in New York. And, of course, it was a party.
Hiiiiiiee, it’s Adore.
Adore! How are you?
I’m good, you?
I’m great. I’ve been listening to the album all day.
Oh, thank you! That’s awesome.
Actually, I went to go see Danity Kane last night at Irving Plaza, and there were posters all over the place for your showcase next week. Projections on the stage and everything.
Oh fuck, that’s awesome! That’s so cool. I love me some Danity Kane.
Yeah, they were killer. I wanted to talk to you about the making of the album. Can you tell me anything about who you worked with and when you were recording it?
I worked with Tomas & Shiny, and I wrote the album with Ashley Levy — she’s fucking amazing. It was a blast! I mean, it took like two and a half months to write, and it took 3 days to record. [Laughs]
Just 3 days?!
Yeah! We did like 3 songs a day. And on the last day, we did 4.
That’s crazy. What about the collaboration with Alaska? How did that come about?
I sent her a text. I was like ‘I’m recording an album, I would love for you to be on it.’ And she was like ‘Yes, yes, yes, and yes.’ She came into the studio and just wrote her verse and I wrote mine and then we recorded it. I was laughing my ass off the whole time because she’s so hilarious. I didn’t know what she was gonna say. She was improv-ing. It was hilarious.
I think her spoken voice alone is hysterical. When she asked that question during the finale, I was in tears — just the way she talks.
She’s brilliant. [Imitates Alaska] “Eyeeeelash…” [Laughs] She’s life.
I’ve been following you since Idol days, and I think it’s great that you’re really singing on the album, as well as rapping. How did you decide what you wanted to represent yourself on the album?
The thing is that I’m a fully developed character as Adore. I know what my brand is. We were working in the studio for a while before we were recording, and the songs they were showing me, which we worked on — I knew exactly what I wanted it to sound like and how I wanted to be represented.
I was looking yesterday when the album premiered, and you were at #11 on iTunes. You were above Lana Del Rey.
Yeah, and fucking Iggy Azalea too!
Yeah! Did you expect that at all?
No, it’s awesome! I was like ‘How does it feel down there, Mariah? Is it getting cold?’ [Laughs] No, it’s awesome dude. I’d never think my album would go on any chart. I was just like, ‘I’m gonna make an album that has so much of me in it.’ I love the fucking music, so it means so much to me that the people have responded to it positively. I had a release party here in Chicago last night, and people in the audience knew the words to ‘My Address Is Hollywood,’ which is fucking surreal, because the album wasn’t even out for 24 hours yet.
That’s also one of my favorites, by the way.
That’s one of my favorites too!
I think that also relates back to something you said on the finale, which was that you wanted to go for this drag pop mainstream superstar. And I think it’s incredible that it’s actually happening and are on mainstream charts.
I know. Completely.
Do you think, ultimately, that this is the route you’re going to pursue? Music first?
Absolutely. I mean, I’m a musician, first and foremost. Music is what I do. A lot of drag race girls make good money, and I’m definitely cycling it into my craft…by making music videos that aren’t cheap. [Laughs] I really want to fucking put more time, effort and money into my career. That was the only reason why I really wanted to win. It was a stamp of ‘America’s Next Drag Superstar.’ And the money, I wanted to cycle that into my career. But like, now that I’m making pretty good money, it’s like…I didn’t need to win. [Laughs]
And the [“I Adore U”] video came out like the night before the album.
Yeah, it was midnight.
When you think of Drag Race superstar videos, you think they’re going to be parodies or, like you said, low-budget. But this is a very sincere video with a message and it’s visually very interesting. Could you talk about the vision?
Yeah, the song was originally written about a boy named Colton. It was about my commitment issues, and about me hurting him, and about being able to kind of like, stamp the boyfriend title. And then I found out he was dating the guy that I dated before, and it kind of ruined our friendship and stuff for a little while. What I thought was interesting was how Ben and Katelyn – who were the director and producer of the video — they had an idea of just kind of playing with regret. They flipped it to where I caught my boyfriend in bed with another person. They’re very, very talented and I trusted their vision. I was like ‘Let’s just do it.’ They brought in a mood board and a concept, and I was in love with it. It’s a really cool video. I’m really proud of it.
And what can we expect at the showcase next week?
It’s going to be fucking fun! We’re about to go into rehearsals in a few days. It’s really kick-ass. I want it to be a solid, cute set and I just want it to be really fun. And yeah…just be a party. I love that it’s all ages, too! I’m getting sick and tired of these kids camping out of clubs, just waiting. We needed to get an all ages show, ’cause there are a lot of younger kids who are fans of the show.
I’m definitely looking forward to it. Love the album, and thanks so much for talking with me!
Thank you! It was awesome.
Yes! Maybe we can meet up at the show.
I would love that! Just be like ‘Hey mothafucka, it’s Bradley.’ And I’ll be like ‘Hayyy.‘ [Laughs] Thank you, babe.
Adore will be performing at Gramercy Theatre on June 13 with Cary NoKey.
‘Till Death Do Us Party’ was released on June 3. (iTunes)