You mentioned that there can also be health and safety risks encountered while touring. What are some examples of those?
Well, as focused as I’m telling you I am, there’s also a part of me that’s a little bit reckless. And my motivation for that is that I really want to squeeze all the juice out of life. I remember when September 11 happened, it was devastating. No one wanted to fly anywhere, and a lot of tours and travel arrangements were stalled for awhile. There were travel advisories, especially throughout Europe. But I didn’t want to be afraid. And there were a few brave souls saying, “We’ve got dates booked and we’re going anyway. Do you wanna go? Because nobody else will go.” I was like, “I’m goin’.” If it’s time for me to check out of this life, then I’m goin’ down singing on a stage, or in a plane on my way to some place. I’m gonna hack at all the languages I can possibly speak poorly. I’m gonna have ridiculous love affairs. And I’m gonna do it all in every corner of the world until my clock runs out.
What tour were you part of at that time?
I was in New York, right near the Towers when all of this happened. I did a lot of the tributes and memorial shows, just volunteering as much time as I could and hoping to heal with music. Then, I got a call from Anastacia, who’s huge in Europe and the rest of the world. She was going out to do a huge world tour. Every place we went, because we were American, there were threats. It was treacherous, but I was determined. It was a lot of living!
You’ve now been on three tours with Madonna, beginning with the “Confessions Tour” in 2006. It seems like we started hearing more from you as a solo artist since that time, as well. Was there something about that first tour with her that motivated you to put out your own music again?
Madonna is one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met in my life. But Donna DeLory, the other backing vocalist on the “Confessions Tour,” really lit the fire under me to get back into the fray of putting music out. As an independent artist, she was just unstoppable. It’s one thing when you have a lot of support and money. It’s another to just wake up one day and decide this is what you’re doing, then make it happen. I’ve worked with some really hard workers: Tina Turner, Mariah Carey—people I would say are some of the hardest-working musicians out there. Madonna is certainly that kind of creature. Every day, I’m influenced by that.