Donny Latupeirissa, Vengaboys
Queer Careers is an ongoing series featuring out-and-proud professionals. This time, we speak to Donny Latupeirissa, about his career as a member of the Vengaboys. Donny is a positive spirit and his answers are filled with love and optimism. He speaks to us about how he became a Vengaboy, his favorite gigs and his recent explorations with drag.
Hey Donny, where are you from/where did you grow up?
“Hey ROMEO. I was born and raised in Friesland, which is in the north of Holland, in a village called Hurdegaryp.”
How did you get into the Vengaboys?
“I started with the band in 2006. At that time, I was a manager in a restaurant and I did dancing gigs on the side. A mutual friend of both Kim (lead singer of Vengaboys) and I, got a hold of me and called to invite me to the audition personally. They were in search of a new guy to fulfill their cowboy character. At the end of the audition, I was picked. And now, 12 years later I am living the Vengaboys life to the fullest.”
What excites you the most about your job?
“What excites me the most about this job is to be able to be on stage and perform, and thereby giving the people joy and happiness. The traveling part of our Vengaboys life is pretty amazing as well. Seventy percent of our gigs are abroad, so it brings me to all the corners of the world. I’ve met awesome people and seen beautiful places.”
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What’s gay life like in The Netherlands?
“I am very happy and fortunate to be gay in The Netherlands. I am glad to live my life in Amsterdam. I feel free to be who I want to be. And I am glad that I moved from the North, to Holland’s ‘City of Sin’. Here in Amsterdam, you can explore every inch of yourself, and experience the freedom to fully develop into the human being you’re supposed to be. At least that’s how I see my life.”
Would you enter Eurovision?
“HELL YEAH!! I think that would be so much fun. Vengaboys is mega cheesy and so is Eurovision. So that’s a match for sure.”
What would you like to be doing 5 years from now?
“That’s a good question. I would love to still be performing and traveling the world to do so. Five years sounds long, but in truth, 5 years can pass by very quickly.”
What is the hardest part of your job?
“Although traveling the world to do your job is awesome, I am very grateful for being part of this worldwide party act, Vengaboys. Being away from home is hard. And by getting older, I realize more and more that time is precious. So yeah, this awesome job has its downside as well.”
Best gig ever?
“Ufff that’s so hard to say. We’ve had soooo many awesome gigs. We had a few Australian tours, which were just AWESOME. Being all the way on the other side of the world, and to still receive so much love and support for Vengaboys, was just heartwarming. We also had a UK tour with STEPS last year, which included 22 sold out arena shows, and we played at so many festivals, universities, and Gay Prides. It’s just really hard to pick the best.”
Dream gig in the future?
“WOW, my dream gig – maybe Eurovision. Yeah, why not? Without being cocky, I’ve seen almost everything already. We’ve partied on the biggest stages, and performed in front of the biggest crowds. But to do Eurovision, that would be another cherry on top of a whole bunch of cherries, on top of our Venga cake.”
What advice do you have for someone wanting to start a career in the performing arts?
“Go for it! Give it a shot. Perform from the heart. Believe in yourself. Stay true to yourself. Learn, grow and evolve.”
Anything you’d care to add?
“Three years ago I started doing drag. My drag queen name is Miss Donna-Ray Jones. It’s so awesome to do drag, and to tap into that feminine energy. To embrace both male and female energies within yourself is the way I want to live. Miss Donna-Ray Jones has given me the opportunity to create and express a part of me I have always known I had inside of me. Miss Donna-Ray is a sweet kind fierce queen and a powerhouse performer. Being on stage as Donna-Ray, I try to give as much as I can and hope my performance will touch your heart.”
Vengaboys on the Open Sea x Axel Cruise
This September there’s a new gay cruise hitting the mediterranean, Open Sea x Axel, and the Vengaboys will be part of the impressive entertainment line-up. The cruise has an evening agenda packed full of singers, DJ’s, and bands, from RuPaul to Kazaky. For Eurovision fans there will also be royalty, from Conchita to Loreen. If you plan to celebrate the end of the summer on the hottest new gay cruise, you could end up bumping into Donny and the rest of the Vengaboys on board. Find out more about the cruise here.
Even more Donny and The Vengaboys
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Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to read the previous Queer Careers interviews: