Best known as a background singer and dancer for Madonna, Donna De Lory has continued to make her presence felt as a soloist and a member of Bliss, the duo that she shares with cellist Cameron Stone. Her second solo single, "Just a Dream," written by Madonna (who sang harmony vocals), became a Top Ten dance hit.
De Lory was born to sing. Her great-grandfather was a professor of music, a violinist, and a singer. Her grandfather played upright bass and cello for the Warner Bros. Studio Orchestra. Her mother was a singer and dancer. Her father, Al De Lory, played keyboards on recording sessions for Phil Spector and the Beach Boys and produced albums by Glen Campbell and the Lettermen. Her brother, Alan, is a screenwriter and poet.
At the age of eight, De Lory sang on children's albums for Walt Disney and was heard on the tune "It's a Small World," featured on a ride at Disneyland and Disney World. She also sang on commercials for McDonald's, Mattel, and Eastman Kodak. Although she moved with her father and brother to Nashville at the age of 15 following the death of her mother from breast cancer, she returned to Southern California to pursue a career in music. While she helped to form a band, the Danny Peck Collective, De Lory's greatest break came when Madonna's manager, Pat Leonard, heard her demo tape of her song "Open Your Heart" and hired her to sing and dance on Madonna's Who's That Girl tour in 1987. She subsequently appeared on Madonna's Blonde Ambition tour in 1990. She appeared in Madonna's movie Truth or Dare, filmed during the Blonde Ambition tour. De Lory also toured as a background vocalist for Belinda Carlisle, Julian Lennon, Carly Simon, Carole King, Kim Carnes, and Ray Parker, Jr. in 1988.
De Lory's self-titled debut solo album, released in 1993, led to comparisons with Kate Bush and Tori Amos. The following year, she formed the aforementioned Bliss with Cameron Stone. The duo's first album, Love Never Dies, was released on their own label, Dirty Bird, and initially sold only at their concerts. Reissued by the Secret Road label, the album was renamed Bliss (2000) and credited solely to De Lory.
In 2002, De Lory released the concert album, Live & Acoustic. A year later she delivered In the Glow, an album of music influenced by yoga devotional chants. De Lory dug even deeper into her love of Sanskrit mantras and chants with 2003's The Lover & the Beloved. Three years later, De Lory returned with another album mixing devotional and pop music with 2006's Sky Is Open. Sanctuary appeared two years later. In 2013, De Lory released the album The Unchanging, which found her blending world music and pop and featured an appearance from fellow Madonna backup dancer Niki Harris. ~ Craig Harris