Donna Burke is a well known name among Metal Gear fans. As the singer for both Peace Walker’s theme Heavens Divide and The Phantom Pain’s theme Sins of the Father, as well as the voice of the iDroid in Metal Gear Solid V, she has become an important part of the series.
In an interview with Belgian fansite MetalGearSolid.be and French website Eklecty-City.fr, Donna talks about her work, her involvement with the Metal Gear series and her future plans.
When she was doing Heavens Divide for Peace Walker, she had no idea the Metal Gear series was so big. “Then about 18 months later he asked me to sing it for the game release – THAT’s when I saw the world’s media gathered at Akasaka Blitz and thought ‘Hmmm this is actually a big deal!'”
Then, a few years later she was brought back on board to work on MGSV as well, doing both the theme song Sins of the Father and the iDroid voice. Donna is really pleased with how the song turned out. “If I haven’t sung it for a few months then the first few times makes me cry… I think of all the people that this song is actually true for… people who are being tortured, who’ve given everything and then been betrayed, who feel abandoned and forgotten about, rotting in a cell somewhere, who feel whitehot rage and yet are still vulnerable and not immune to love, honor and life. Then I start to realize, Shit! This song’s so amazing!”
Of course Sins of the Father isn’t the only vocal song made for the game. Quiet’s actor Stefanie Joosten had her own song in the game, and Kojima Productions begged Donna to help Stefanie out. “I’m not a singing teacher and I think Singing Teaching is such a special profession. A bad singing teacher can do terrible damage not just to a voice but more importantly to someone’s confidence and artistic soul. But after I met Stefanie I realized: ‘I can work with this girl!’”
“I love Improvised Theatre so I did lots of acting and movement exercises before the recording to loosen up her body and get her ready to vocalize as Quiet. It worked because Stefanie is smart and self aware and could tell when she was getting too tense – she knew she was getting in her head and observing her performance thinking ‘You’re not a singer’. When she dropped that and went back to acting as Quiet she was perfect.”
Fans kept asking for her to do her version of MGS3’s popular theme song Snake Eater, so she decided to approach Konami to see if she could release it. “Unbeknownst to me, at the same time, Hideo was planning to make a covers album, and at a recording for the Idroid voice I told him I was planning to remake Snake Eater… I’ll never forget his reaction… confusion… as HE was planning to do it but hadn’t discussed it and was wondering how I knew about it..and I was confused because I thought he didn’t understand it was MY project… I even joked ‘Are you secretly reading my emails?!’ Don’t worry he wasn’t!”
The cd, titled Metal Gear Solid Vocal Tracks, was released on September 2nd, go here for more details.
Lastly, how does she feel about Kojima Productions being disbanded? “I’m very interested, curious and excited to see what Hideo Kojima is going to be creating next. I’ve heard he will still be based in Tokyo. But all will soon be revealed! I’m still in touch with Hideo and also with some of his team many of whom are still working at Konami. He surrounds himself with really great talents who were lovely to work with. Not just talented but NICE! My office is in Roppongi near Konami. I really don’t know anything about the Silent Hills project – except that I would love to do a cameo in the project if it ever gets made! I’m sure I’ll work with them in the future if there is something I can contribute in Kojima’s new ventures and at future projects at Konami.”
To read the full interview, visit the link at the bottom.