"Donna's voice is gorgeous and ethereal, but then she'll let it wail. Her singing is a beautiful combination of worlds." - Paula Cole
"I have always admired Donna's voice; her songwriting is poignant and heartfelt. " - Madonna
For Donna De Lory, creating music has always meant melding the sensual and rhythmic sides of her soul into a compelling tuneful blend that exposes her fragility as well as her strength. That beautiful fusion is evident on her current album, the appropriately titled, bliss. From the sensuous yearning of "Where I've Never Been to the breathy lover's pleading of "Please" to the set-ending, stark, haunting remake of "Amazing Grace," De Lory takes the listener on an emotional musical journey about finding one's place in this world. A lot of these songs are about realizing that love is eternal and learning to see the truth in everything," says the singer/songwriter.
De Lory felt her artistic calling from an early age. Raised in a musical home, her grandfather played cello and upright bass for the Warner Bros. Studios orchestra, her mother was a singer and dancer, and her father, keyboardist and producer Al De Lory, is best known for his work with Phil Spector's Wrecking Crew, the Beach Boys and Glen Campbell's hits of the 60s and 70s. De Lory made her professional debut at age 8 singing a Recipe dog food commercial. By the time she became a teenager, she had been immortalized as the voice warbling the theme song for Disneyland's "It's A Small World" ride; she also sang vocals on albums by Barry Manilow, Kim Carnes and Santana.
"It was always really easy for me to know what I wanted to do, because I was always around music, singers and players," recalls De Lory. When she was fifteen, the family moved to Nashville from Calabasas, where her father found a new professional home on Music Row. "I hung out in that scene for a while and made a lot of friends," De Lory says. "It was there that I picked up a guitar, started writing a little bit, and decided that I really wanted to be an artist and a songwriter."
Moving back to LA to study dancing, singing and acting, De Lory's vocal on a demo tape led to her landing her breakthrough gig as one of Madonna's two singing/dancing stage companions. De Lory performed on three of Madonna's biggest tours -"Who's That Girl?," "Blonde Ambition" and "The Girlie Show," as well as taking part in the bold and brassy "Truth or Dare" documentary. "The biggest thing I learned from Madonna is that you can pay attention to every detail. You don't have to be this artist that just sings, and then walks away and lets other people take care of things. She took care of everything, from the music to the costumes to the set to all the details. I've never been around anyone who works as hard as she does."
Her association with Madonna continues. De Lory recently joined the Material Girl in Europe and the US for the acclaimed, Drown World Tour.
When not on the road with Madonna, De Lory performed with several different bands in the LA area, eventually signing with MCA Records as a solo artist and releasing her self-titled debut album in 1993. The project's hit single "Praying For Love" reached No. 1 in Japan and her second single, "Just a Dream" was a top 10 dance hit in the U.S. But the lure of collaboration eventually led her to the musical partner she was looking for - cellist, Cameron Stone.
After parting ways with MCA in the mid-90s, De Lory turned to writing a new album with Stone. "We work really well together. I really love to write with the cello because it has a very haunting quality." Her pop background and his classical training combined to form a new musical hybrid in part informed by her global explorations. "At one point, I went to places like Brazil and Israel to promote my solo record," explains De Lory. "And I was getting influenced by a lot of world music. I started studying Asian dance prior to making my first video, which was something really different for me. That put me on a whole new path musically as well. Listening to a lot of Eastern music led me to learn the harmonium, which is one of the instruments I play now. I like the droning quality as an accompaniment to my vocals and songs. And, at times, I like to play it when I write."
De Lory and Stone built a fully equipped 24-track digital studio in her garage, then promptly packed it up and took it in a U-Haul to a cabin in Taos, New Mexico, where most of the material for the album bliss was created. Encompassing De Lory's dance and pop roots, Stone's classical leanings, and various aspects of world music into a shimmering pop landscape, the album marks the first time De Lory feels like she's made music that's truly her own. "It takes time to mature as an artist and truly find your own voice. I made this record with no expectations, and I was free to explore the sounds that I love. The only one I was trying to please was myself."
While she may feel like the music is her own, others are clearly embracing it as well. Superstar club DJ/producer Junior Vasquez's remix of "On & On" reached the top 20 of Billboard's club dance chart. Additionally, music from the album has been featured on daytime drama "Passions," as well as on the Lifetime Network series "Beyond Chance." bliss is now widely distributed in the US and Japan, finding the audience it deserves.