Adore Delano on Party Your World and fighting anti-LGBTQ+ hate in America: ‘Bring it on’
In a PinkNews exclusive, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Adore Delano talks reinvention, reconnecting with fans and resisting anti-LGBTQ+ hate with her full-throttle tour Party Your World.
Nearly a decade after the drag superstar appeared on the sixth season of the Emmy-winning series, before returning for a brief but no-less impactful stint on All Stars 2, Delano is now a certified pop-punk princess with three studio albums, nine tours and an EP to her name.
Delano isn’t slowing down any time soon, though. This month, the singer-songwriter embarks on the US leg of her Party Your World tour, which runs for 25 dates until 3 March.
Featuring a mix of famous covers, fan favourites and brand new tracks that will be performed on historic stages such as Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, the tour looks set to deliver a raucous punk-party that fans won’t ever forget.
Sitting down for a chat about the new tour over Zoom, Delano, dressed in sickening Donatella Versace drag complete with bleached eyebrows, told PinkNews that Party Your World – named after her iconic catchphrase – centres around the gradual return to normal life after the restrictions of lockdown.
“Coming back from the lockdown, the pandemic [and] just having the live music and energy all together, that in itself is just a reason to riot,” she explains.
“I went a little crazy during the lockdown. So just seeing all this energy and absorbing it and regurgitating it in this beautiful melodic way, it’s just beautiful. Every show is different.”
While Delano’s punk spirit is a hallmark of her music and live shows, her fanbase, made up of “wild beings”, are also cut from the same cloth. Years after her original Drag Race season aired in 2014, Delano says it’s been incredibly rewarding to watch them grow from “foetuses” to “holographic Pokémon cards”.
“My favourite part of being on tour is watching everybody grow up,” she explains. “I started my drag career when I was 21 years old. I’ve seen people from being 12 go into college. I feel like the cool aunt that just got home from college, and I’m warning them all about certain drugs not to take.
“Any time I get to see them grow and be the little stars that they are, I get sentimental”.
“I’ve seen these people since they were foetuses and now they’re now they’re like holographic Pokemon cards”
Delano hopes that the experiences of the tour will also provide inspiration for future art, in the style of a certain pop icon who famously draws upon her personal life in her music.
“We’re going to kick ass,” she says in suitably Adore-esque fashion. “I’m really taking in every experience right now like my human experience, and I’m compartmentalising it so I can Taylor Swift it later in a song. And I’m just living my life the way I’m living right now. I feel like Jenny on Forrest Gump when she’s about to jump out the window.”
While Delano currently has her feet planted firmly on the ground, she has, à la RuPaul, tapped into her child on the upcoming leg of Party Your World.
“I always ask my inner teenager, ‘what would you envision this age?'” she says. “And I try to meet that in the middle, at least a little bit. Because this is a dream. We’re all living in a dream, so it’s really, really important to have fun. And who better to show you what fun is, than your 10-year old self being like, ‘break shit’?”
For queer people in America, though, joy is in short supply right now. Following a rise in hateful legislation, laws and rhetoric targeting the LGBTQ+ community, including displays of violence and intimidation from right-wing demonstrators at drag queen events, queer art is more important than ever before.
While Delano is understanding of high-profile Drag Race queens such as Jinkx Monsoon, Alaska and Yvie Oddly who have hired extra security at their gigs to protect themselves, Delano is also angry about not feeling safe in the country that she was “born and raised” in.
“This was supposed to be the land of the free; that’s what we were raised on”
“It just makes me sad. This was supposed to be the land of the free; that’s what we were raised on. That’s what we were taught in school.
“I’m most worried about performing big events in the country that I’m from, because of the laws that are in certain counties; I don’t know what I’m getting myself into sometimes. I don’t have that same reaction when it comes to [performing in] the UK or Australia, because you can’t carry a f**king gun in your belt to a goddamn show.
“That sh*t kind of scares me, when you ask about hiring security and stuff because I’ve never had to think of that before.”
Delano’s message for those on the other side of the protest line, however, is clear.
“Bring it on. We live in America and we should be able to have the freedom of speech. But remember the last word to that statement is ‘speech.’ If you get physical, I’ll beat your ass.
“If there’s a resolution to this conversation, then I’m down. But if you’re just saying, ‘God Hates F*gs’, I hope you get a flat tire and hit a f**king pole, f**k you.”
Even in the face of repression and adversity, Delano is a firm believer that queer artists will continue to find liberation through art, just as they always have done.
“I wouldn’t be able to create art that goes against the words you’re saying, if there wasn’t a ‘you’ to begin with. So just stay behind that cute little gay velvet rope. And don’t get difficult with any of us, because we put too much work to look like Donatella at 33.”
It’s almost impossible, of course, to talk to a RuGirl – a queen who’s appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race – without mentioning the juggernaut.
While Delano has forged a successful career as a singer-songwriter in the years since appearing on the show, she remains one of its most beloved contestants. Happily, she remains good-humoured about the association, and says she finds the separation between her past and present selves “beautiful”.
“I was born to be reinvented,” she says, explaining that the Adore Delano of Party Your World is irrevocably linked to her time on Drag Race. “You gotta learn how to weave through it. You have to accept the changes – life is evolution.”
Delano is still very much of the Drag Race family, however, having appeared in the most recent and “really important” episode of The Pit Stop, which is currently being hosted by her season six sister, Bianca Del Rio. Like many other Drag Race alum, she’s also a huge fan of season fifteen contestant and “love of her life”, Sasha Colby, who she describes as an icon and “the moment”.
Delano is certainly on the verge of a new creative era, too, as she’s already written 14 or so songs. Fans might have to wait a little longer to hear them, though, as she doesn’t plan on releasing them any time soon.
What she can say for sure, though, is that her new chapter will be nothing short of transformational.
“This will be a life changing, spectacular era; the beginning of a new Pandora’s box of love, interest, glitter and butterflies,” she enthuses, encouraging fans to “fly on the wings of Adore Delano” and join the tour.
If you can rely on a RuGirl for one thing, it’s always going to be branding.
Adore Delano’s Party Your World tour kicks off on 31 January at Whisky A Go Go in LA. Tickets are available now.
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