Tuesday, August 25, 2015

REBEL HEART TOUR : What It’s Like to Choreograph for Madonna

Few gigs compare to creating the moves for Madonna. Choreographer Megan Lawson is living that dream.

Lawson, whom you might know from Fanny Pak, began working on Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour a few months ago. But it’s not her first rodeo with the Queen of Pop. The Canadian-born choreographer was also responsible for the moves in Madonna’s “Living for Love” and “Ghosttown” videos, along with Madonna’s 2015 Grammy Awards performance, and was a contributing choreographer to Madge’s MDMA tour.

Dance Spirit spoke with Lawson about her work on the upcoming tour.

Dance Spirit: What’s the process of choreographing for a tour of this scale?
Megan Lawson: Jamie King is the show’s director. The process starts with a discussion between Jamie, Madonna and I about ideas and concepts. Then, my dancers, Jamie and I get into the studio and experiment for a while before presenting to M. She always has a hand in the choreography. She loves to be part of the process and collaborate with everyone, from the lighting designer to the makeup artist. I’d say every number in the tour has at least one part Madonna choreographed herself. It’s a really fun process.

DS: Are there other choreographers working with you?
ML: Since I’m the lead choreographer on this tour, I got to recommend other choreographers to collaborate with. I was so fortunate to bring in other artists, including Jillian Meyers, Matt Cady and Kevin Maher, who are all friends of mine. The great thing about involving other choreographers is that the show becomes really diverse. Every song is different stylistically, and each has a unique choreographic vibe.

DS: Does anything about the tour scare you?
ML: Getting it all done in time! It’s been a challenge to coordinate everything. Madonna doesn’t settle for anything but the best—she’s a perfectionist. It takes time. This is certainly the biggest-scale production I’ve ever experienced. I can’t wait to see it all come together. I know it will. But right now it’s crunch time, and that’s a little scary.

DS: What are your top three favorite Madonna songs?
ML: “Human Nature,” “Messiah” and “Falling Free.”

DS: What’s your advice for Dance Spirit readers?
ML: Explore as many avenues as you can. I never really had goals or plans that were set in stone. I just knew I wanted to dance and create for living. I tried lots of different things—from taking a wide variety of classes to assisting choreographers to picking up small gigs here and there. What really paid off the most, though, was grabbing some friends and making a few little videos of my own. Those experiences were more satisfying than working as a backup dancer—and Madonna ended up hiring me after seeing some of the clips! It’s OK if your goals change over time. Be open to your desires and follow your heart.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Happy Birthday To Madonna! 2015!


Throughout her long career, Madonna has enlisted the world’s top designers, most famously Jean Paul Gaultier, to collaborate on the costumes for her globe-trotting tours.

She’s again recruited a murderer’s row of fashion talent for her latest, the “Rebel Heart” World Tour, named after her 13th studio album of the same name.

On Wednesday, she revealed exclusively to WWD the designers who made the cut, including Jeremy Scott and Alexander Wang. And add Madonna to the Alessandro Michele fan club: the Gucci creative director also pitched in.

Related Story: Madonna’s Red Carpet Looks Through the Years

Just like she’s been teasing her setlist on Instagram for months — yes, “Vogue” and “Holiday” will make appearances on the tour — Madonna has also been posting snippets of looks she’s been working on with her longtime costume designer, Academy Award-nominated Arianne Phillips.

Ahead of the tour’s opening in Montreal on Sept. 9, she is revealing the full list of designers today: Fausto Puglisi, Prada and Miu Miu, Swarovski and the Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran are the others. She’ll show sketches at a later date.

The pop singer’s predilection for some of these names has been evident for a while: she wore Scott for Moschino to the Costume Institute gala in May, on the red carpet as well as to various after parties, for instance. And she was also in full Moschino regalia in her last video, “B**ch I’m Madonna,” where Wang made an exuberant cameo. Before that, she was spotted around town wearing the platform moon boots from Wang’s fall show, practically straight off the runway.

Curiously, Versace, in whose 2015 advertising campaign Madonna appeared, is not involved in this tour. Phillips, who has been nominated for two Oscars, including her work on Madonna’s own “W.E.,” is marking her sixth tour with Madonna and will also contribute costumes.

Some of the other designers, though, like Michele, are more surprising, underscoring the singer’s knack for spotting new talent.

Slideshow: Madonna’s Concert Tour Costume Designs Through the Years >>

Long before pop acts fraternized with fashion designers, it was Madonna who asked Gaultier in 1990 to design costumes for her famous “Blonde Ambition” World Tour. He delivered the now iconic coned bra and the two have since collaborated on several tours, on 2001’s “Drowned World,” 2006’s “Confessions” and 2012’s “MDNA,” which included a reinterpretation of their best-known garment.

Previous tours included costumes from Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Christian Lacroix — he designed the crystal-studded corset that opened the “Reinvention” tour in 2004 — and Riccardo Tisci, who designed the costumes the singer wore during the halftime show at the 2012 Super Bowl.

“People say everything has a limit,” Tisci told WWD at the time, “but limits do not exist with Madonna.” With today’s news, that still seems to be the case.

Source : wwd.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


As the reigning Queen of Pop — a title she’s held for a whopping 33 years — it is Madonna’s royal duty to deem whom among the crop of wannabe successors is worthy of claiming her throne.

But because Madge has voiced her disapproval for pitting women against each other (‘atta girl!), she hasn’t made a competition out of it. Rather, she’s bestowed her blessing among several pop princesses (plus other performers outside of her genre), giving us an idea of the talent and fearlessness Madonna looks for in her peers.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Rebel Heart singer revealed the “last big show” she attended was a Beyoncé concert. She subsequently began raving about Bey (a queen in her own right, thankyouverymuch), praising her as “a great performer” who “puts on a show.”

“She’s a professional, you know what I mean? She ticks all the boxes,” Madge gushed. “She’s great live, and all the stuff around her, it’s complete entertainment. She gives it her all, so I appreciate that. That was really good.”

High praise, indeed. But Beyoncé isn’t alone — check out these nine other artists who’ve earned props from the Queen herself.

In a compliment that left Taylor “dead,” Madonna praised the 1989 singer’s writing, saying, “It’s good to have princesses [of pop]. It means there’s lots of pretty dresses around. I like Taylor Swift. I think she writes some really catchy pop songs. I can’t get them out of my head.”

Madge further shared her thoughts on Tay’s success earlier this year when she told Rolling Stone, “She has an opinion, and she’s going against the norm. So in that respect, she is similar to me, yeah. And also, people just want to give her a hard time all the time because they think she’s a goody-two-shoes, so of course I want to embrace her.”
During an interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Madonna offered up her somewhat underwhelming but ultimately positive thoughts on Pink, saying, “I like her. She’s cool.” She then gave another nod of approval to Rihanna by opining, “I like her too. I think she’s sexy.” Damn right, M.
Despite the two bold artists’ alleged feud — which Madge adamantly shut down earlier this year, BTW — they’ve traded plenty of compliments about each other. Case in point: Madonna recalled the first time she saw Gaga perform live, admitting she was “really impressed by her.”

“I thought she was really cool and she did remind me of me back in the day,” Madonna said. “I liked her rawness and there was something fresh about her and ballsy, and when she spoke to the audience, she sounded like she had a similar sense of humor to me, quite ironic, and I liked her. So I do think she is very talented.”
Madonna admitted during a Twitter Q&A in 2012 that she just straight-up thinks Katy’s hot. Which totally makes sense, if you think about it. In addition to sharing an appreciation for cone-shaped objects on their breasts, these two basically occupy the same campy niche in pop music — and they do it so well. When asked what she thought of KP, M replied, “She’s hot. If she was my girl, I’d never cheat on her.”
Madonna threw us for a loop when she recruited Nicki AND M.I.A. for her danceable jam “Give Me All Your Luvin.’” But it soon became absolutely clear what makes the trio such a perfect team: genuine, indisputable badassness. “I like their independence. I like their spirit,” Madonna said of her fearless comrades. “They’re cheeky and unique and they have individual voices. They’re not conventional pop stars and I really admire them both.”
Remember during Miley’s “Unplugged” session when she brought out Madge for a cowboy-themed medley of “We Can’t Stop” and “Don’t Tell Me?” That was just the beginning of this awesome pair’s friendship — since then, we’ve seen them profess their love for each other on Instagram, and Madonna has also stuck up for Miley in the press, like the time she rallied against gender bias and sexism in an empowering interview with Pitchfork.
Besides literally giving Britney her kiss of approval in a VMAs moment for the history books, Madonna also collaborated on Brit’s 2003 hit “Me Against the Music” and has come to her defense several times. She once told Elle, “I find it really irritating that everyone beats up on Britney. I want to do nothing but support her and praise her and wish her the best.” SAME, GIRL. Same.

Source : MTV.COM

Friday, August 7, 2015


Andy Cohen guest-edited EW’s latest issue so of course he had to talk to his favorite pop star Madonna about her massive Rebel Heart tour, which kicks off Sept. 9 in Montreal. By her own estimation, the Material Girl has been spending 10 to 12 hours a day prepping for the string of gigs—a schedule so rigorous that an aide follows her to make sure she stays nourished. “I call her the food police,” Madonna tells Cohen. “ ‘Are you eating? Did you drink enough water?’ I’m like, ‘Bitch, get off my pole!’”

Speaking of poles, Cohen gets the scoop about the dancing nuns on stripper poles that Madonna teased in Rebel Heart’s trailer. “I just like the juxtaposition,” she says of the risqué routine. “I’m very immersed in deconstructing the concept of sexuality and religion and how it’s not supposed to go together, but in my world it goes together.”

As for the show itself, Madonna hasn’t revealed much, but she offers some insight about how she balances her setlist with greatest hits like “Vogue” and her new Rebel Heart material. “Of course, the thing Im most excited about doing is my new stuff, because I haven’t done it yet and it’s fresh,” she tells Cohen. “But I realize that people want to hear my older stuff, so for me it’s always a tricky balance trying to keep some kind of continuity, not only with sound, sonically, but also thematically … a lot of times I have to take the songs and turn them inside out and make them more ironic than straightforward.”

Cohen also inquires about whether Madonna’s 14-year-old son Rocco would appear on the tour. “I think he’s probably gonna work behind the scenes,” she says. “He’s not interested in performing on stage with me right now. There’s way cooler things. Your mom is not that cool when you’re 14.”

Source: EW

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Madonna’s back at No. 1 on the Dance Club Songs chart, as her latest single, “B**** I’m Madonna” rises 2-1 on the chart dated Aug. 15.

It’s Madonna’s 46th No. 1 on this chart, and extends her own record for the most No. 1s on a singular Billboard chart. (She broke the record in May, when she surpassed George Strait’s 44 leaders on the Hot Country Songs chart.)

For Minaj, “Madonna” is her fifth No. 1. She also hit the top with “Turn Me On” (David Guetta featuring Minaj), “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (Madonna featuring Minaj & M.I.A.), “Pound the Alarm” and “Beauty and a Beat” (Justin Bieber featuring Minaj).

Here is an updated look at Madonna’s 46 Dance Club Songs No. 1s, beginning with the double-sided single “Holiday”/”Lucky Star,” which reached the top the week of Sept. 24, 1983. You’ll notice that one of her No. 1s is an entire album: You Can Dance (1988), a collection of mostly remixes of previously-released songs (and one new cut, “Spotlight”). Prior to Feb. 23, 1991, the chart wasn’t always song-specific and full albums were, at some points, allowed to chart.

(For titles that spent multiple weeks at No. 1, total frames in the lead are noted in parentheses.)

Madonna’s 46 Dance Club Songs No. 1s

1983, “Holiday”/”Lucky Star” (five weeks at No. 1)
1984, “Like a Virgin” (four)
1985, “Material Girl”
1985, “Angel”/”Into the Groove”
1987, “Open Your Heart”
1987, “Causing a Commotion (Remix)”
1988, “You Can Dance (LP Cuts)”
1989, “Like a Prayer” (two)
1989, “Express Yourself” (three)
1990, “Keep It Together”
1990, “Vogue” (two)
1991, “Justify My Love” (two)
1992, “Erotica”
1993, “Deeper and Deeper”
1993, “Fever”
1994, “Secret” (two)
1995, “Bedtime Story”
1997, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”
1998, “Frozen” (two)
1998, “Ray of Light” (four)
1999, “Nothing Really Matters” (two)
1999, “Beautiful Stranger” (two)
2000, “American Pie”
2000, “Music” (five)
2001, “Don’t Tell Me”
2001, “What It Feels Like for a Girl”
2001, “Impressive Instant” (two)
2002, “Die Another Day” (two)
2003, “American Life”
2003, “Hollywood”
2003, “Me Against the Music,” Britney Spears featuring Madonna (two)
2004, “Nothing Fails”
2004, “Love Profusion”
2005, “Hung Up” (four)
2006, “Sorry” (two)
2006, “Get Together”
2006, “Jump” (two)
2008, “4 Minutes,” Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake & Timbaland (two)
2008, “Give It 2 Me”
2009, “Celebration”
2012, “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” Madonna featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.
2012, “Girl Gone Wild”
2012, “Turn Up the Radio”
2015, “Living for Love”
2015, “Ghosttown”
2015, “B**** I’m Madonna,” featuring Nicki Minaj

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Anyone who has ever gone to a Madonna concert knows the woman has stamina. And at 56 years old, Madge has no plans of slowing down. In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Madonna said that she wants to continue working into her golden years. “I like to compare myself to other kinds of artists like Picasso. He kept painting and painting until the day he died.” Madonna continued: “I don’t think there’s a time, a date, an expiration date for being creative. I think you go until you don’t have anymore to say.”

If anyone can serve as proof that an expiration date is meaningless, it’s Madonna. Her career took off in 1983, when she was only 25, and her pop songs and fishnet stockings quickly became a staple of the eighties. She continued to reinvent herself decade after decade, outlasting all her contemporaries.

So, she might be on to something when comparing herself to Picasso. Madonna’s trajectory, much like the Spanish artist’s, is divided into clear, defining eras: Picasso had his Rose and Blue Periods; Madonna had her Blond Ambition phase and sexually charged Erotica era. Picasso revived his painting with Cubism; Madonna found Kabbalah and reinvented her sound with “Ray of Light.” There are even similarities in their personal lives. Picasso was a notorious womanizer with a weakness for younger women, while Madonna has made no secret of her fondness for 20-something men.

Surrounding herself with young, talented people is another way that Madonna has managed to stay relevant. In 2003, she made VMA history when she locked lips with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera during a medley performance of “Hollywood” and “Like A Virgin.” For her 2008 album, Hard Candy, she collaborated with Justin Timberlake and Pharrell. Last year, she popped up for a surprise duet on Miley Cyrus’s MTV Unplugged special. This June, she released a new video for her song “Bitch I’m Madonna,” which rounded up an impressive cast of cameos including Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Chris Rock, and Kanye West. And with age, comes an even savvier strategy: Madonna has now conscripted this summer’s most popular star, Amy Schumer, to be the opening act during her Rebel Heart tour. Really, if Taylor Swift learned the art of assembling a squad from anyone, it was from Madge.

Location:Traction Ave,Los Angeles,United States

Monday, July 20, 2015


Live Nation announced today that Madonna will make a return visit to Manila Wednesday, February 24th, 2016, at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Manila performance is presented by Globe and tickets will go on sale starting Sunday, July 26 at 10:00 AM.
The Rebel Heart Tour begins in Montreal on September 9, 2015 and continues throughout North America and UK/Europe before heading to Asia, New Zealand and Australia next year.

Icon is Madonna’s official fan club and members will receive a special code to access the Icon pre-sale Tuesday, July 21st, at 10 AM.

Tickets for the Rebel Heart concert in Manila will go on sale on Sunday, July 26 at 10:00 am through SM ticket outlets, smtckets.com or call 470-2222.

Citi® Cardholders will be eligible for a pre-sale opportunity beginning Wednesday, July 22nd at 10 AM through Thursday, July 23.

Globe customers will be eligible for a one day pre-sale Friday, July 24 at 10 AM.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


You co-produced several songs on Madonna’s new one, including her new single. What do you make of the ageism she faces?

She created the world we live in. It already sucks to be a woman in the music industry, but to be a boss woman is even harder. She sold out her tour in minutes, but no one seems to want her to succeed — “Madonna, we’ve been there, done that, now we’re about Kim Kardashian.” Her song “Ghosttown” was a guaranteed Number One for anybody else, but she didn’t get a fair shot. With “Bitch I’m Madonna,” everyone said there’s no way it will go anywhere, but I’m like, “Screw it, it represents you more than anything.”

Monday, July 6, 2015


Dear Madonna,

I owe you an apology.

For several weeks I’ve been thinking of writing you an open letter and, until the moment I wrote it, I was going to ask you to change.

Your wardrobe, videos and words linked to the latest “Rebel Heart” tour have attracted negative criticism, and I almost joined the majority.

I was going to confess that I grew up on your music. From wearing lace gloves when I was 5 years old to recently listening to your songs while dancing with friends, your voice has been well represented on the soundtrack of my life.

But as I grew up, you seemingly did not.

You’re 22 years older than me. That didn’t seem like such a big deal when I was 5 and you were 27. Then, somehow, I became 34 and you reached 56, and I just wanted to give you a hug and say, “So, maybe you should put the fishnets under a pencil skirt.”

I was wrong.

You’ve made a career out of raising eyebrows with hits “Like a Virgin,” “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Like a Prayer,” “Erotica,” “Justify My Love,” not to mention every relationship you’ve ever had.

Those were all number one songs, by the way.

And fans are paying more this year to see you on the Rebel Heart tour than they did three years ago.

Music reviews in Rolling Stone have called you and your art a “provocative extravaganza.”

You made headlines for several other things too: the kiss with Britney Spears, saying you wanted to go on a date with Drake and falling off stage during the recent Brit Awards. And those are just a few things from the 2000s.

There are plenty of things from the 80s and 90s that prove you were waging a war against racism, sexism, hate crimes and bigotry long before the listeners were brave enough to loudly stand up with you.

You have a history of proving if anyone in the room is going to be uncomfortable, it’s not going to be you.

And I love that about you.
I still believe a little discretion goes a long way, but I love that someone like you is out there.

I love that you’re 56, and still bold and unafraid to show up at the Grammys with more cleavage than women 30 years younger than you.

It seems to me your latest war is against sexism and ageism – and rightfully so.

Nobody makes a big deal of it when 56-year-old male rock stars date 20-year-old women. It’s not just accepted, it’s expected.

But you’re a 56-year-old woman in America. That means you can’t date someone as young as Drake, who is 28.

Nobody writes about how 71-year-old Rolling Stones stars Keith Richards and Mick Jagger are still wearing tight leather pants – and, really, who is going to tell them no?

But you’re a 56-year-old woman in America. That means how you look and what you wear will always be under heavy scrutiny.

It means because you are a mother of four, you cannot be sexual.

It means it doesn’t matter if you built 10 schools in Malawi.

It means Piers Morgan can say, “Falling off the stage, Madonna, is God’s way of telling you you’re too old to cavort like a hooker.”

(But I wouldn’t worry about Mr. Morgan. He survived less air time on CNN than Dog the Bounty Hunter.)

It means middle-aged men and suburban moms get to judge you and say, “Put it away. Your age is showing.”

And I love that you keep saying “No.”

You will not be silenced. This is not a stunt. This is who you are. This is who you’ve always been.

You are the woman who made a mockery of the wedding dress, made the cone bra famous and taught us to vogue. Of course you’re wearing fishnets and thongs in public when you’re 56.

I won’t be doing it, but I’m glad you are.

So to amend my previous error in judgment, let me offer my sincerest apology for trying to make you fit into a severely outdated perception.

Don’t put it away now, Madonna. Your awesome is showing.



Source :PennLive

Sunday, July 5, 2015


“IT’S AMAZING, all the talk of my ‘required’ retirement. When I was thirty, it was all, ‘when is she going to quit?’ Then 35, 40 and beyond. This absurd assumption — that once you reach a certain point you have to stop doing what you love doing.”

Madonna back in 2008.
That’s Madonna, talking to me about six years ago! She meant it then and she means it now — more now than ever.

During this chat, Madonna said: “Look, Liz, I’ll quit when you do!”

I said; “Okay, you and I will be the last girls standing at the rodeo.”

M: “You mean when we’re not straddling the saddle?”

JUST IN case nobody picked up on the fact that 56-year-old Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone is not going to wedge herself into a black evening gown and begin crooning standards, the pop icon’s latest video put an end to that fantasy.

Gathering together a batch of guest stars including Kanye, Beyonce, Chris Rock, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Madonna romps through a minor song, “Bitch, I’m Madonna” with major implications.

Critics have had a fine time pointing out that her album “Rebel Heart” has not been a raging success, and that she needs to stop doing what she’s doing.

Well, Madonna blithely showed that hit album or not, at the snap of her fingers she can not only command any producer in the world to work with her, but she can command the world’s hottest pop stars to come play in her backyard.

“Rebel Heart” is a hot mess, but was probably affected by the hacking of all her songs, forcing her to rush the album out. (There are 25 tracks!) But “RH” contains about eight great numbers, so why complain? The video, “Bitch, I’m Madonna” — which has the star rampaging through a nightclub — is a kind of joyful hot mess. Just relax and have fun. (The people who rain on her parade are usually twenty years younger and much less agile!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Los Angeles-based Nick Fouquet is in many ways the ultimate California dude — tall and lanky, with a shaggy blond mane that simply begs to have a hat put on it — but don’t call him a milliner. His approach to hat making is anything but traditional. “I’ve always wanted to do my own thing,” he says, “and it’s such a niche market and undervalued accessory. To me, hats are the pinnacle of elegance. I’m not here to reinvent them — but to do it with my twist; not over-the-top or dramatic, like a milliner might.”

There’s almost a hint of disdain in Fouquet’s voice, in fact, when he says the “m” word. “There are maybe 30 people in America and 300 people in the world who know this trade,” he says. “When I started, a lot of hat makers were appalled that I would use fire, throw paint on a hat, distress the felt, reinvent shapes. And I was like, ‘You’re like, 80 years old, what do you know?’” Indeed, a Nick Fouquet hat captures a lived-in aesthetic that brings a much-needed breath of fresh air to the market; the designer’s signature detail is a strike-anywhere match tucked into each hat’s brim. “TSA at the airport is not a big fan when I roll through with the matchsticks,” he admits. “They get very suspicious.”

Now, about five years since he’s entered the hat business, Fouquet puts out two collections a year, has partnered with Colette and has a collaboration with Barneys New York planned for this fall, and has a celebrity following that includes Madonna, Pharrell, Bob Dylan, Carine Roitfeld, Gigi Hadid and Sia (who wore a Nick Fouquet hat to perform at the afterparty for the Calvin Klein men’s show in Milan last week). But commercial success and the glitz of celebrity endorsement notwithstanding, Fouquet sounds most excited when he talks about working with individual clients through his bespoke business. “The client always thinks of things that I would never think of, like, ‘Let’s put 100 feathers on the brim,’” he says. “We just get these ideas. And I’m not afraid to fall flat on my face.”

Though Fouquet hasn’t ruled out expanding his line in the future — “In the grand scheme of things, yeah, I see a bigger brand,” he says — for now, his focus remains singular. “It would be preemptive to get into shoes, bags or ready-to-wear at this point,” he says. “There’s so much more that I have to say with hats.”

$900-$3,000, available at the Nick Fouquet flagship at 853 Lincoln Boulevard, Venice, Calif., and at Barneys New York starting this fall, nickfouquet.com.

Source : NyTimes

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gay Rights Pioneer Madonna Has Two Reasons To Celebrate

Thank you, Madonna for fighting for gay rights long before it was "cool".

It’s easy to forget what a pioneer for gay rights Madonna has been. During the 1980s and early 1990s, at the height of the AIDS crisis, Madonna promoted tolerance in her songs, videos, and concerts. She was widely condemned for doing so and, to a certain extent, it hurt her career. Towleroad recently listed why Madonna is the biggest pro-gay pop ally of all time.

Madonna was thrilled at the same-sex ruling by the Supreme Court and took to Instagram to show her excitement.

Many of her fans, especially on her Facebook page, thanked her for being one of the only major public figures to stand up for gay rights at a time when gay people were treated like vicious animals.

“Madonna…you helped all of this by standing up for gay rights back when no celebrities did…OG #trendsetter #rebelheart #longlivethequeen,” wrote fan James Davis.

“Madonna Always there for us LGBT from the start!! Thank you Madonna for always being there for all of us!!! We love you!!!” wrote Shawn Welles.

The Supreme Court decision isn’t the only thing the Queen of Pop is celebrating today. It was just revealed that her latest single, “Bit*h I’m Madonna,” despite being a third and barely promoted single from her Rebel Heart album, has charted on Billboard’s Hot 100. Billboard announced Madonna’s latest (and sort of bittersweet) chart victory on Thursday.

Madonna’s single “Living for Love” was at the top of the iTunes chart for several days. However, because it was sold as part of an album package, Billboard didn’t count the sales towards their charts. It’s quite likely that “Living for Love” would have been a top 40 if Rebel Heart didn’t leak, which would have given the song a stand-alone traditional release.

“The third single from Madonna’s album Rebel Heart becomes the set’s first Hot 100 hit, preventing the LP from becoming her first studio album not to generate a Hot 100 entry. Lead single ‘Living for Love’ and follow-up ‘Ghosttown’ both fell shy of the list.”

Even if Madonna never scores a chart hit again, nobody can deny her legacy (although people are certainly trying). Madonna’s fans see her as a groundbreaking pop artist who broke the boundaries of female sexuality, gay rights, and now, ageism. What do you think Madonna’s biggest accomplishment is?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Madonna’s longtime publicist set to retire
Madonna relied on her, so did Cher.

Now, ever-quotable p.r. queen Liz Rosenberg exclusively tells us she’s abdicating her throne to retire.

“I think two centuries is long enough, don’t you?” quipped Rosenberg, who’s also repped Michael Bublé and Stevie Nicks and worked with Prince, Rod Stewart, Carly Simon and Ashford & Simpson.

Madonna portrayed her on “SNL” in 1992 — “the good ol’ days,” Rosenberg recalled.

She launched Liz Rosenberg Media in 2010 after nearly 40 years at Warner Bros. Records.

“It reminds me not to take it all too seriously,” Rosenberg said of her look — regularly wearing bunny ears on starry red carpets.

She’s looking forward to an extended break, but, “I’m going to consult, advise and protect my peeps from the likes of Page Six forever. I love them too much to do otherwise,” she said. “On a serious note, these people are part of my family. I could never step away completely. I envision myself like Sue Mengers, doing my work from a round bed with a lot of lip-shaped pillows.”

Her firm’s logo was a pair of lips — with a trace of smudged lipstick.

Source : PageSix

Saturday, June 20, 2015



Madonna, the dissers who are trying to define or judge you for your age — 56 — are silly and small-minded. And in many cases, sexist! I’ll throw that in for good measure, because it’s true. You just released what is arguably the hottest, funniest and most compelling video of your life for your single, “Bitch I’m Madonna”, with guest appearances by Beyonce, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, Chris Rock, Rita Ora and a fabulous rap set by Nicki Minaj. It’s ridiculous that anyone has the gall to tell you you’re too old to “have fun tonight”!

You happen to be in incredible shape, look fantastic and can still dance your legs off, so why shouldn’t you wear a tight minidress, show off cleavage, kiss guys and girls, and just plain put out a killer single? Just because you’re 56, doesn’t mean you should stop doing anything or being anything. You’ve always been sexually open, outrageous and boundary-pushing. Who says that when a woman crosses a certain age she should cover up, shut up and stay off stage — especially stop shaking her booty?

If anything, people should applaud you for showing that age is irrelevant to staying creatively and physically energized. Why should anyone “accept” their age and “age gracefully” like someone says on Twitter.

I’d guess that all these tweeters are under 35. That’s because they have no clue how anyone who is 50-plus feels. I bet Madonna, at 56, is as full of beans and ideas as she was at 26. Furthermore, I bet that Madonna, at 56, has more energy and ideas than most people do at 26. So why does she need to accept any preconceived notion about what “age” is or have to “remember her age”? Instead, they should all be thrilled that she is taking the lead and showing them and the rest of the world that you don’t have to “remember” or “act” your age.

Madonna Shouldn’t Be Shamed For Being Sexy & Daring At 56!

You can shake, rock, roll, be sexy, be daring, be alive, at 56, 66, 76 and more. If Madonna wants to “get freaky”, jump in the pool with her clothes on and “go hard or go home”, what is so wrong with that? I can guarantee that when Madonna’s haters get to be 56, they won’t be so willing, either, to “grow old gracefully”. And I’d like to ask these dissers — do they feel the same way about mature rockers Bruce Springsteen, 65, Mick Jagger, 71, Jon Bon Jovi, 53 or Steven Tyler, 67? I don’t think so.

Source : HollywoodLife

Thursday, June 18, 2015


We say : Rebel Heart is a long, passionate, self-referential meditation on losing love and finding purpose in chilling times. It’s also a chance for the Queen of Pop to floss a bit and reflect on how she painstakingly carved a path others have happily twerked down in the years since her 1983 debut. The über-fit 56-year-old star gleefully enunciates “bitch” on the refreshing, reggae-tinged “Unapologetic Bitch” and the frenetic, Nicki Minaj-assisted “Bitch I’m Madonna,” both featuring Diplo’s ear-tingling airhorn blasts.


Anytime Madonna announces a new video, it’s a global event. And it’s no different with her newest clip for her thumping single “Bitch I’m Madonna,” which debuted online on Wednesday. In fact, it’s the Queen of Pop’s most bonkers video in years—and features a who’s-who of all-stars like Beyonce, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Rita Ora, Chris Rock, and others.

For such an occasion, Madonna teamed up once again with one of her most trusted collaborators, director Jonas Akerlund. Over the last 17 years, the two have worked on some of her most iconic visuals, from 1998’s Grammy-winning “Ray of Light” to April’s dramatic, post-apocalyptic “Ghosttown,” co-starring Terrence Howard.

So how did the two pull off such a feat with “Bitch I’m Madonna”? And what was it like juggling the schedules of M, her guest stars, and a crew of around 100 people? Akerlund shares behind-the-scenes details on making the video with EW.

On Coming Up With the Concept

“Madonna called me about ‘Ghosttown.’ We hadn’t worked for a while because of different circumstances so when I heard all the songs [on Rebel Heart], I was very excited about ‘Ghosttown.’ I connected to it creatively. And, yeah, we enjoyed working together. I was supposed to start something else right after and that got pushed and she asked me to do ‘Bitch I’m Madonna.’ I saw it being so completely different from ‘Ghosttown,’ something a little bit less serious, just fun and crazy.”

On Preparing for the Shoot

“It became almost mathematic figuring out how to shoot it. We had a detailed shotlist. We also rehearsed, which is rare for a music video.”

On Filming Over One Night in New York City

“It’s always a challenge. Madonna is a celebrity enough for any music video. But with the nature of the song and the playfulness of it, we thought, ‘Let’s have some friends and family and go crazy with it!’ Everyone was spread out and their time is tight, but the good news is we all love Madonna and everyone wants to be involved. That made it really fun and playful.”

On Fighting Against Daylight

“On film shoots, you normally fight against losing daylight, but on this job we were fighting against the sun coming up. But you do see parts of it at the end, the sun on it’s way up.”

On Downtime on Set

“It was fun! That’s the only way to do it really. But it was technical. Everybody needed to be on their place and do their job. Everyone had cues and everyone was ready. And when we left the shoot, we thought, ‘If the video feels half as good as we feel, then it’s a homerun.’”

On Why He Loves Working With Madonna

“We’ve built trust between us through the years and she’s one of those people who really gets the best out of you. She wants to do something great. Every time we do videos, we want to change the world. A lot of artists don’t do that, but she does. She has that extra thing that makes her job worth it.”

Source : Ew.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Her name is Madonna Ciccone, and her face matches her name.

Round eyes, arched eyebrows, finely drawn mouth – Da Vinci would have loved it. It is a theatrical face, a dancer’s face. And she has a dancer’s body – thin as a blade, lithe and agile. Doll-like, she looks as if she’d snap in a strong wind.

She wouldn’t. …

Countless times over the years, critics, pundits and reporters have written some variation on that to describe Madonna, the iconic pop starlet. But the story containing this passage is different, because it dates back to a time when nobody knew who Madonna was.

It’s the beginning of a Charlotte Observer story from July 1978, about the American Dance Festival’s first year at Duke University in Durham. And it might be the first notice from the press that Madonna received.

Observer staff writer Richard Maschal quoted Madonna, then 19 years old, describing the rigors of ADF as “pretty draining and demanding.” And he called her “what the American Dance Festival is about.”

Seven years later, after 1984’s “Like a Virgin” and 1985’s “Desperately Seeking Susan” established Madonna as a huge star and the it-girl of that moment, Maschal wrote a followup column about his earlier impressions of her. He noted her beauty, aura and precocious self-assurance – and also that she resembled a literal Renaissance madonna.

“I really did think she looked like a madonna and so was amazed when I asked her name and she gave it,” Maschal said recently via email. “I also found her one of the most self-absorbed persons I had ever met.”

That self-absorption also manifested as confidence, which would stand Madonna in good stead as she pursued her career. One of her 1978 ADF classmates was Eric Tyrone Smith, who later shared a West Village apartment with Madonna in New York City. In a 2007 email, he recounted a salient memory of Madonna’s evolution from dancer to singer:

She came back to the apartment one day bragging that she had just been out in Washington Sq. park singing with some black guys and that they had told her she could sing. I told her she couldn’t believe everything she was told and of course the rest is history!

Little else remains of Madonna’s long-ago time as a dance student in Durham. Her primary teachers there, Pearl Lang and Pauline Koner, are both deceased. And while ADF still has her application and school records on file, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) means they will remain private unless Madonna herself chooses to release them.

That’s doubtful, so mostly we have Maschal’s witness-bearing account. He admits he did not come away impressed, with little inkling of just how big a star she would become. Maschal’s 1985 story about Madonna concluded by asking about the 26-year-old singer, “Can you picture Madonna at 40?”

Now 56, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and still topping charts and touring arenas, Madonna seems to have done all right for herself.

Source : NewObserver

Friday, June 5, 2015

Madonna, Ageism and Sexism

Too many people forget that Madonna, the most successful solo artist in history, has paved the way for so many artists, both male and female. With her outspoken opinions, her sometimes shocking but always thought provoking performances and her pure determination, she's broken down barriers on women, pop stars, homosexuals, race, religion, business and everything in between. There would be no Britney Spears, no Beyoncé, no Rihanna, had Madonna not paved the way with her conical bra or her pink leotard.

Madonna is once again breaking down barriers. This time, it's that taboo topic of age. So many people, particularly in the media, apparently feel that women of a certain age should go quietly into the night and rest on their laurels. Actresses have been complaining for years that once they hit 50 there are no substantial roles. Meanwhile, Liam Neeson continues to be in every action movie involving a daughter. Madonna won't rest on her laurels though, as that has never been her M.O. This is a woman who sold out multiple nights at Yankee Stadium on her last tour (which beat her own record for top selling solo tour of all time.) when there had never been a woman headlining there before at all. This is the same artist who performed at the Super Bowl and got more viewers than the game itself. This is the same woman whose recent Grammy performance was the most watched (and tweeted about) performance of the night. All of those accomplishments happened after her 50th birthday.

Madonna's age is not her problem. It's your own problem. It's the mindset some have that women of a certain age should act a certain way, look a certain way and talk a certain way. In fact, if you have a problem with Madonna and what she does, it's only your problem that you've created in your mind. There's no rule book that says that on a certain magical date you must suddenly stop wearing clothes that you like and must suddenly wear clothes that you don't like because society says so. The truth is, society doesn't get to say so. This isn't a woman who's chasing trends, this is a woman who starts them. If you think she's going to listen to the countless talking heads droning on about how a woman should live her life, then you've clearly been living under a rock the last 30+ years. Those some people will praise U2 or Rolling Stones, while chastising Madonna. And Madonna's the only one of them still cranking out hits. This is an artist who's latest single, Ghosttown, became her 45th #1 hit. After all, "Bitch she's Madonna."

As so often happens with Madonna, controversy has overshadowed the music... and that's quite a shame. Rebel Heart, her latest album, is one of the best albums of her career. Reflective and introspective it sounds like nothing else on the radio or in the clubs. She has written a tour de force of an album while being shocking for what it really is: her most honest, personal album yet. Diplo, a Philadelphia native, (call me, bro!) marries his avant garde club sound with Madonna's mainstream pop sensibilities and the result is perfection. Check out the Pop Culture Whore piece for a track by track review of Rebel Heart or just do yourself a favor and buy Rebel Heart.

If you haven't noticed throughout her white hot career spanning more then 30 years, Madonna doesn't give a shit what you think. She's going to be her, unapologetically. And when you can go out to the club with your friends at 56 years old and look absolutely amazing in what you're wearing as you dance the night away, you can thank Madonna. As it is, that club probably be playing her latest hit.


Friday, May 15, 2015


The Queen of Pop reigns with “Ghosttown,” giving her the most No. 1s of any artist on a single Billboard chart. “Thanks to all my fans on & off the dancefloor,” she tells Billboard.

The Queen of Pop is now unequaled chart royalty. Madonna makes momentous Billboard chart history, as she now has the most No. 1s ever, 45, by an act on a singular Billboard chart. She earns her 45th No. 1 on Dance Club Songs, where “Ghosttown” lifts 3-1.

(The chart, dated May 30, will refresh on Billboard.com Thursday, May 21.)
With the coronation, Madonna passes another icon, George Strait, who’s logged 44 No. 1s on Hot Country Songs.

“Thanks to all my fans on and off the dancefloor,” Madonna said in an exclusive statement to Billboard. “I’ll (always) be your partner.”

With her 45th leader on Dance Club Songs, which measures reports submitted by a national sample of club DJs, Madonna pulls further ahead of runners-up Beyonce and Rihanna. In fact, Madonna has tallied more No. 1s as they have combined: 22 each. (The chart launched as a national survey in the Billboard issue dated Aug. 28, 1976.)
Madonna bests Strait (still, and always, the King of Country), who’s sent 44 singles to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs between 1982 and 2009. He first reigned with “Fool Hearted Memory” (Aug. 28, 1982) and most recently ruled with “River of Love” (April 18, 2009).

“Ghosttown” was released, in its original ballad form, on Madonna’s 13th studio album, Rebel Heart, which launched at No. 1 on the March 28 Top Album Sales chart with 116,000 first-week copies sold, according to Nielsen Music. Remixes from Don Diablo, Mindskap and Armand Van Helden, among others, helped the track top Dance Club Songs. (The original version, meanwhile, ranks at No. 20 on Adult Contemporary and debuts at No. 38 on Adult Pop Songs.) First Rebel Heart single “Living for Love” became Madonna’s 44th Dance Club Songs topper on the March 7 chart.
Madonna wrote “Ghosttown” with Evan Bogart, Sean Douglas and Jason Evigan. “When I write with people, we always try to come up with a theme,” she told Billboard’s Keith Caulfield in December. “So, this one is about the city after Armageddon. The burnt-out city, the crumbling buildings, the smoke that’s still lingering after the fire. There’s only a few people left. How do we pick up the pieces and go on from here?

“Kind of dramatic,” she added with a laugh.
In honor of Madonna’s milestone achievement, here is an updated look at Madonna’s 45 historic Dance Club Songs No. 1s, beginning with the double-sided single “Holiday”/”Lucky Star,” which reached the top the week of Sept. 24, 1983. You’ll notice that one of her No. 1s is an entire album: You Can Dance (1988), a collection of mostly remixes of previously-released songs (and one new cut, “Spotlight”). Prior to Feb. 23, 1991, the chart wasn’t always song-specific and full albums were, at some points, allowed to chart.

(For titles that spent multiple weeks at No. 1, total frames in the lead are noted in parentheses.)

Madonna’s 45 Dance Club Songs No. 1s

1983, “Holiday”/”Lucky Star” (five weeks at No. 1)
1984, “Like a Virgin” (four)
1985, “Material Girl”
1985, “Angel”/”Into the Groove”
1987, “Open Your Heart”
1987, “Causing a Commotion (Remix)”
1988, “You Can Dance (LP Cuts)”
1989, “Like a Prayer” (two)
1989, “Express Yourself” (three)
1990, “Keep It Together”
1990, “Vogue” (two)
1991, “Justify My Love” (two)
1992, “Erotica”
1993, “Deeper and Deeper”
1993, “Fever”
1994, “Secret” (two)
1995, “Bedtime Story”
1997, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”
1998, “Frozen” (two)
1998, “Ray of Light” (four)
1999, “Nothing Really Matters” (two)
1999, “Beautiful Stranger” (two)
2000, “American Pie”
2000, “Music” (five)
2001, “Don’t Tell Me”
2001, “What It Feels Like for a Girl”
2001, “Impressive Instant” (two)
2002, “Die Another Day” (two)
2003, “American Life”
2003, “Hollywood”
2003, “Me Against the Music,” Britney Spears featuring Madonna (two)
2004, “Nothing Fails”
2004, “Love Profusion”
2005, “Hung Up” (four)
2006, “Sorry” (two)
2006, “Get Together”
2006, “Jump” (two)
2008, “4 Minutes,” Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake & Timbaland (two)
2008, “Give It 2 Me”
2009, “Celebration”
2012, “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” Madonna featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.
2012, “Girl Gone Wild”
2012, “Turn Up the Radio”
2015, “Living for Love”
2015, “Ghosttown”

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Liz SmithOn Madonna At The Met Gala!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
by Liz Smith

I PRAISE Madonna a lot. I know that annoys some of you. Sorry! But I’ve also laced that praise with criticism, or at least my idea of what she might do, or say (or not say) or wear. I admire the fact that she has never taken my advice. Or anyone’s. She has traveled to the beat of her own techno-music.

But sometimes she’s perfect. I do mean her appearance at the massive Met Fashion Gala the other night in NYC. There she was, with long straight hair (gone are the overworked waves), beautiful makeup, and a stylish, whimsical, subtly sexy black gown by the designer Moschino. (Well, it was more subtle than a lot of what The Big M wears. It was certainly more subtle than Beyonce's get-up.) Totally appropriate for the pop goddess she is, and always will be. (Haters, listen up — even if she never has another No. 1 hit, she’ll always be the Queen. Accept that.)

When I saw the photos I wanted to reach in, hand her a microphone and say, “Sing out, Madonna Louise Ciccone — croon those ballads. Do your Dietrich!” Well, that’s my fantasy and problem. It will never be Madonna’s reality. But I am satisfied she looked like this for the Met event. She also looked like she was having fun. (Still rare for this workaholic.)

People — even so-called “fans” — often say she’s desperate to stay in touch with the youth culture. I think she simply enjoys composing and performing edgy material. She likes collaborating with young people. I believe she enjoys the music she makes. If she was “desperate” for a certain kind of approbation, she’d work on an album of standards. Or a “Duets” disc. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Privately, as a woman, she has changed. As an artist? Same as 1983. And if you can’t see it, you don’t know your Madonna.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


The last time Madonna was in town for a concert, I had a chance to sit down with her and discuss her thoughts on business. When I contacted her agent, they were more than open to her getting together with me for a chat. When she arrived at the Appointment-Plus office for the interview, she gave me a big hug and even agreed to sing a quick song for everyone. She put her arm around me and we sang “Papa Don’t Preach” together. The employees went wild. Madonna even suggested that I come up on stage and sing a song with her in her upcoming concert.

Then I woke up.
No, the great Madonna did not really visit our office and no, she didn’t agree to have a nice chat with me. And, no, I’m not going to hop up on any stage and sing, not even after 10 beers at a local karaoke bar.
But, I wish I could talk with her because she’s not only one of the most successful recording artists of all time, but she’s an incredibly successful businessperson. We all know that she’s a worldwide brand, but did you know she also has several clothing lines, has opened a chain of health clubs, has written books and has directed films?

But even though she has been involved in a number of ventures, what is most impressive about her is how she has developed her personal brand.

The Material Girl’s career has had an abundance of controversy. From her religious symbolism in the Like a Prayer video to her provocative performance of “Like a Virgin” on the MTV Video Music Awards, she’s no beautiful stranger to ruffling feathers. When you are controversial, people talk about you. Look at the controversy that GoDaddy created with their GoDaddy Girl TV commercials. Many people found them offensive, but look at what it did to GoDaddy’s business. It put them on the map, eventually leading to their recent IPO.

But it’s not Madonna’s ability to generate attention through controversy that gives us the most important lessons for our businesses. Nor is it the value of hard work and perseverance, which are two of her strongest traits. The most important lesson that we can learn from Madonna is the need to reinvent yourself. It’s something that she has arguably done more successfully than any other celebrity in history.
We all know that nothing stands still in today’s business world.
Everything is evolving, sometimes right before our very eyes. Industries are being disrupted left and right. Just look at what Uber is doing to the taxi industry and what smart phones are doing to the camera business. And, who knows what the Internet of Things movement will have our lives looking like in a couple years.
It used to only be the business gurus on the conference speaking circuit who talked about the need for businesses to reinvent themselves. Now it’s true blue gospel. If you aren’t actively creating a culture that embraces change, you better get started right away because change is coming to a theater near you faster than a Kodak moment.

So, it’s a given that your business has to evolve. But what’s not talked about as much but is just as critical is that you have to evolve, as well. Yes, you.
We’ve all seen long-time CEOs, department heads and other company leaders get replaced because they were no longer effective in their roles. They couldn’t change. They were set in their ways and weren’t actively trying to reinvent themselves.
It’s hard to reinvent yourself. It wasn’t easy for Madonna to evolve, but she innately understood the importance of changing with the times. It requires a deliberate decision to do so, a lot of preparation, and a healthy dose of courage. To reinvent yourself, you have to think differently and act differently. You have to keep your mind open to new thoughts and ideas, you have to work hard at it, and you have to accept that it won’t be easy.

But even though reinventing yourself is difficult, it’s imperative to your success in today’s business environment. The world is moving too fast these days to think that today’s version of you will be effective tomorrow.

Madonna has provided us a great example of the value in reinventing yourself. It’s not easy to do, but it’s also not an option in our Internet-speed business world. You must evolve if you want to be successful over the long term. So, get into the groove and make the commitment today to reinvent yourself. Don’t count on your lucky star to help. Only you can make the decision to cross that borderline into the new you.

Source : bizjournals

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Making Of Madonna's First Album Cover!

The cover of Madonna.
There's a new theme every day on It's Vintage. Read more articles on today's topic: Club-Kid Style.

Carin Goldberg — the art director behind Madonna’s debut album cover — spoke to the Cut about her first experience with the then-unknown pop star.

It’s the first question that anybody asks me, even today: What was it like to work with Madonna? People think that maybe something dramatic or interesting or kind of wild might have happened, based on, you know, Madonna’s persona. But I would say that Madonna was probably the easiest job I ever had — the most cooperation from a recording artist I think I ever had. She was a true professional, even at that young age.

It was ’83, and at that point I had my own small design firm. Warner Bros. called and asked me to do her cover as a freelance designer. When I got the call, I rolled my eyes, because it was another [musician with a] one-word name. At that time it had become cliché to have a one-word name, because of Cher, so I remember thinking, God, it’s going to be one of those. So I really went into it with very little expectation. The fact of the matter is that nobody knew who she was. As far as I was concerned, she could have been a one-trick pony and we might never have heard of her again.

Because she wasn’t famous, the budget was not huge at all. I asked her to come dressed in the kind of clothes she would normally wear. I said, “You’ve got your thing, just do it.” There was nothing particularly shocking about what she was wearing at the time. I think she just had a unique style. A lot of people did — Betsey Johnson, Cyndi Lauper, Diane Keaton. There was a lot going on then that was all about women wearing all kinds of weird combinations. We were all doing that kind of eclectic look, but Madonna did it with a much more audacious, sexual edge. It wasn’t so much about trying to be a rock star — it was more just making something from something you had around. Taking some piece of fabric and wrapping it around your head, for example. Over the years her style has changed, given her independence and wealth and ability to have designers design for her, but there’s still a kind of eclecticism to some degree.

My memory was that she wore some kind of cut shirt — there was definitely a lot of belly hanging out. And a balloon-y pant with the waist and legs rolled up. A lot of artists really didn’t have very much taste — they don’t always know who they are, and they need to be told — especially these days. Madonna walked in ready-made. She knew who she was. We didn’t have to worry about styling her.

She came with a lot of bracelets on, and so I said, “I think we ought to focus on the bracelets, let’s really try to get that in the picture.” That was the one iconic thing about her outfit, besides the rag in her hair. I thought she needed even more, so the girlfriend of the photographer went into her jewelry box and took as many bracelets as she could find, to give it a bit more boom.

We put on her music and I asked her to dance. There was not much else we needed to do, because she was a performer. It was short, it was sweet. She was prompt, she did everything we asked her to do, she said thank you. It could not have been more easy. I would not call her in any way warm and cuddly, but she was not unfriendly. She was just all business.

And who knew? In my wildest dreams, could I have ever imagined? I mean, I knew she had a little talent. She got there and danced, and sang “Holiday,” I think. I liked it, we could dance to it. But who the hell could have predicted after that? It totally exploded. That album was the moment.

I’m really glad we did a full-face portrait for the cover. I think it helped — even just incrementally. But it’s hard to know. I did my job, it went out there, and life went on. And I will be forever the art director who did Madonna’s first cover, which I suppose is not a bad thing.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


While her music industry success is apparent, what is less obvious, are the valuable lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Madonna.

Material Girl. Madge. Provocateur. Icon. At the age of 56, and with the recent release of her 13th studio album, Rebel Heart, Madonna, has had many famous monikers, as well as her fair share of very public successes (introducing the world to the original pop diva) and commercial flops (Dick Tracy).

What entrepreneurs should take note of, however, is that Madonna is a savvy business woman, with one professor at Cranfield School Management going so far as calling her “America’s smartest businesswoman.”

As controversial as she may be, Madonna’s success in the music business is clear. In 2014, she topped a list of the world’s wealthiest recording artists, besting a list of musicians including Paul McCartney, Jay Z and Celine Dion.

While her music industry success is apparent, what is less obvious, are the valuable lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Madonna. Whether you love her or hate her, here are seven key lessons every entrepreneur can learn from Madonna:

1. Age is a state of mind.
Not only does Madonna exemplify the idea that age is a state of mind, she also is not shy about calling out ageism when she encounters it. When it comes to her age, Madonna says she has experienced people “… judging me by my age… Because women, generally, when they reach a certain age, have accepted that they’re not allowed to behave a certain way.”

Ageism — especially towards women — is prevalent in the business world, and entrepreneurs can learn from Madonna’s defiant response. Her inspiring answer to ageist critics? “I don’t follow the rules. I never did, and I’m not going to start.”

2. Ignore the haters.
Entrepreneurs inevitably will encounter naysayers on their road to success. Madonna exemplifies someone who focuses on the positive — her fans — pushing forward and ignoring naysayers. Speaking about the need to persevere in the face of negativity, Madonna offered this motivating quote in a 2013 magazine article, “One of the many things I learned from all of this: If you aren’t willing to fight for what you believe in, then don’t even enter the ring.”

3. Take care of yourself.
As an entrepreneur, your personal health and well-being is of the utmost importance, yet many entrepreneurs end up putting their own health on the back burner. This is a big mistake. You need physical endurance to make the hard journey, which is full of stress and is physically, emotionally and mentally taxing. Throughout her career — and well into her 50s — Madonna is a great example of someone who keeps herself in prime physical condition.

4. Turn lemons into lemonade.
When her new album was hacked before it was due to be released, Madonna turned it into a positive, strategically releasing several songs before releasing the finished product.

As an entrepreneur, you will encounter inevitable setbacks. The key will be your ability to turn such crises into opportunities.

5. Think about succession planning early.
When entrepreneurs involve their children in their business, kids learn valuable like skills such as responsibility, while founders gain priceless extra time with their kids. As a mom of four, Madonna is a great example of a woman who involves her children in her business. Her son, Rocco, has danced on stage during many of her concerts and she partnered with her daughter, Lourdes, to create the teenage fashion brand, Material Girl, for Macy’s.

Encouraging your kids to be a part of the “family business” also helps with succession planning for the day when you are ready to hand over the reins. If you don’t have kids, you can still take a cue from Madonna and think about grooming your protégés for succession planning or, at the very least, promoting them within your business.

6. Think differently.
It’s no surprise that Madonna has been a trendsetter for years. As one of the first artists to demonstrate the power of music videos in promoting an album or to offer live performances that border on performance art, she ushered in an entirely new era and approach to entertaining. Had she not thought differently about how music is brought to the public, pop artists who followed in her footsteps might not have found success. While some of her trends have caught on more than others, she has never been afraid to think differently. The ability to think outside the box and create something brand new is one of the most important and essential elements to being a successful entrepreneur.

7. The show must go on.
Perhaps the biggest lesson entrepreneurs can learn from Madonna? When Madonna recently tumbled down a staircase during her live performance, she got right back up and resumed performing – without missing a beat. If you fall, pick yourself up and keep going, because no matter what, the show must go on!

Friday, April 10, 2015


Madonna made an appearance tonight on The Tonight Show that will have people who think she’s “too old” running for cover. She performed “Holiday” with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots. Madonna then did a satire of a standup comedy routine, which people didn’t seem to understand was satire.

The biggest shock on Thursday’s The Tonight Show was when Madonna performed Rebel Heart track “B***h I’m Madonna” with a sock, gold grill, gold chains, and everything else that gave her a gangster look. She sexed it up with her dancers and came across as a drunk grandmother — but that was the purpose of the whole performance. It was a huge middle finger to those who constantly say she is “too old.” Madonna also danced up a storm like a twenty-year old would. Twitter was filled with raves.

Madonna recently talked about the criticism she often receives for being “too old” in Cosmopolitan and that she thinks sexism is still a huge problem.

“Don’t be fooled, not much has changed — certainly not for women. We still live in a very sexist society that wants to limit people. Since I started, I’ve had people giving me a hard time because they didn’t think you could be sexual or have sexuality or sensuality in your work and be intelligent at the same time. For me, the fight has never ended.”

In a controversial interview with Out Magazine, Madonna caused an uproar by saying that gay rights are more advanced than rights for women.

“Gay rights are way more advanced than women’s rights. People are a lot more open-minded to the gay community than they are to women, period. It’s moved along for the gay community, for the African-American community, but women are still just trading on their ass. To me, the last great frontier is women.”

Some people accused Madonna of not understanding that many women are also gay and African-American. However, others thought Madonna’s words were taken out of context, and that she meant to say one could still demean a woman and get no backlash, even though they would be punished for insulting an African-American or gay person.

Source : Inquisitr

Thursday, April 9, 2015


We have yet to see a Madonna guest appearance on Fox’s smash drama Empire, but the closest we have come thus far is the new music video for her latest Rebel Heart single, “Ghosttown.” Yes, that’s Terrence Howard, better known as Lucius Lyon, surviving the apocalypse and pointing a sniper rifle at the Queen of Pop before elegantly busting a move with her.

After waking up in the scourge of a nuked-out world, Madonna feels her way through the deserted society, I Am Legend-ing it up while Terrence Howard’s brooding loner suspiciously looks on. Eventually the two humans come into contact, inching toward each other until clasping their hands and dancing the forbidden dance of the last man and woman on earth. “Ghosttown” makes for a fitting soundtrack to the impressive choreographed sequence, although the image of a weary Howard proudly grasping the hand of a boy at the end of the video makes one long for a few seconds of “Drip Drop” as well.

Jonas Åkerlund helmed the new music video after directing the clips for Madonna singles like “Ray of Light” and “Music,” among others.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Madonna sits down with Cosmopolitan to celebrate 50 years of power, provocation, and living that Cosmo-girl life.

In May 1990, Madonna posed as the cover star of Cosmo’s 25th anniversary issue. Now, 25 years later, the icon sits down with the magazine to celebrate 50 years of power, provocation, and living that Cosmo-girl life. The May issue features not one, but four different covers of Madonna, on stands April 14. Check Cosmopolitan.com throughout the week to see all four.

On longevity in her career: “Popularity comes and goes. You need to know who you are, what you stand for, and why you’re here.”

On sexuality and ageism: “Don’t be fooled, not much has changed – certainly not for women. We still live in a very sexist society that wants to limit people. Since I started, I’ve had people giving me a hard time because they didn’t think you could be sexual or have sexuality or sensuality in your work and be intelligent at the same time. For me, the fight has never ended.”

On collaborating with Kanye West on her album Rebel Heart: “It’s a little bit of a bullfight, but we take turns. He knows that he’s walking into a room with a person with a strong point of view, and I do too. I listen to what he has to say, take it in, and he listens to what I say and takes it in. We didn’t agree on everything, but he has good ideas.”

On internet haters: “You can hide behind your computer or your phone and say whatever you want – you’re not known. Could you say it to my face? Would you say it to my face? I doubt it.”

For more of Madonna’s exclusive interview and photo shoot with Cosmopolitan, pick up the issue on newsstands April 14.

Friday, April 3, 2015


PARIS – He may be one of the world’s most famous designers, but Jean Paul Gaultier seems to be falling out of love with the fashion industry.

The French couturier — who found fame putting Madonna in a conical bra and helped shape global trends for four decades — shocked the fashion world by ending his ready-to-wear and menswear lines earlier this year.

Looking back through his four decades of creations he recalls the surprising origin of the bustier that first made him a household name in the U.S. — when a certain pop star from Michigan wore it on her “Blond Ambition” tour in 1990.

“It was not Madonna who wore my first conical bra, it was Nana my Teddy Bear. And when I was six, I wanted to have a doll, but my parents didn’t find it politically correct for a boy,” he said.

Madonna is still very much in his heart — and he defended her against ageist criticism that her fall in this year’s Brit Awards showed that, at 56 years old, she should be hanging up her pointy bra once and for all.

“Why do they attack her because of her age, and they don’t do it to men?” he asked.

“She got up as if it was nothing and to fall must have hurt a lot. She could have killed herself,” he said. “She’s a miracle because, well, she’s Madonna.”

The famed bra — and his Teddy Bear, Nana — can both be found in the Grand Palais exhibit in Paris, which runs until August 3.

Source : FoxBusiness

Monday, March 30, 2015


At the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the two superstars teamed up to thrilling effect

Last night, Madonna acted out one of her best-known recent tricks: Enlisting a younger performer to grant her music some extra currency. In a televised performance of her new single “Ghosttown,” the performer was supported by Taylor Swift on guitar. It was the most memorable moment from the iHeartRadio Music Awards (whatever those may be) and of Madonna’s recent promotional campaign for her new album. Though the star is often criticized for her work with younger artists, her performance with Swift was, in fact, the very best sort of collaboration.

But criticisms of Madonna for working with younger artists tend to skip over the particulars of the collaborations right to broad-brush condemnation of a woman over 40 trying to stay contemporary. It’s been that way since Madonna’s performance with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the 2003 Video Music Awards, a brilliant piece of stagecraft that effectively anointed Spears and Aguilera as Madonna’s successors. A musical generation later, Madonna chose the perfect collaborator for a country-tinged pop anthem about heartbreak.

And Swift, lost in the music, seemed legitimately excited to be onstage with Madonna: Why shouldn’t she be? Madonna’s ability to reinvent her sound and her image has provided precedent for any number of pop stars, including one who recent switched genres entirely. Perhaps the issue, among those who critique Madonna’s work with a younger cohort, is one of framing. Madonna is subjected to all the same criticisms as a pop star under 30, “desperation” and a perpetually oscillating level of “relevance” chief among them. When Paul McCartney, by contrast, performs with stars like Rihanna and Kanye West, it’s not a sign of his desperation to stay hip, because he’s a legacy artist perceived as earnestly interested in what’s out there these days.

Where’s the same generosity of spirit when it comes to Madonna? When her album Rebel Heart missed the number-one spot on the Billboard charts (and her heavily promoted first single, “Living for Love,” missed the charts entirely), the schadenfreude was thick in the air, despite the fact that it’s no one’s baseline expectation that a new album by McCartney, or Prince, or Mick Jagger, would automatically become a hit. Madonna’s fame, though, has always been tied to a snooty assumption that her music is more popular than good, and thus it only matters if it’s popular.

But maybe it’s time to give her her due as an artist, not just a hit machine. Madonna has entered a phase of her career where statistics don’t necessarily matter, but where cementing her legacy absolutely does. Rebel Heart exists not to become a top-selling album but to prove she has a place in today’s pop-music ecosystem; not every one of its, or Madonna’s, attempts to prove contemporary savvy come across perfectly, but in general, the fact that we’re paying attention at all proves a point. Given Swift’s obvious willingness to perform with Madonna, and the degree to which their collaboration worked, the point seems made.

Source : Time


Taylor Swift is living her best life. Two months after she freaked out on Twitter over a compliment from Madonna, the “Style” singer had the distinct honor of sharing a stage with the Queen of Pop at the iHeartRadio Awards on Sunday, March 29.
Swift, 25, managed to contain her (totally justified!) fangirling long enough to accompany Her Madgesty on guitar for a rendition of “Ghost Town,” a song from Madonna’s 13th studio album, Rebel Heart.

The two started their performance sitting on adjacent stools, angled slightly so they were almost back-to-back. Midway through, the “Living for Love” hitmaker stood and walked toward the front of the stage, at one point dropping to her knees before getting back up again.

She was joined a short time later by Swift, who rocked out on guitar as Madonna belted out the emotional tune. At the end of the performance, they shared a hug before walking away together.

Madonna, 56, previously told Australia’s Today show that she liked Swift’s music. She echoed the sentiment a few weeks later at the 2015 Grammys, telling Access Hollywood, “She writes some damn catchy pop songs. Can’t get them out of my head.”

Source : UsWeekly

The “Blank Space” singer was beside herself when she caught wind of the kind remarks. “Stop! I will pass out,” she told Access Hollywood correspondent Shaun Robinson. “Oh my God! I’ve been so scared to meet her because it means so much to me.”

Sunday, March 29, 2015


They are the kind of headlines that would make the average 56-year-old immediately consider putting down a deposit on the nearest retirement home.

“Is Madonna too old?” and “Is Madonna too sad at this point?” jostle alongside regular edicts as to how the pop queen is “washed up” and that her “career is over.”

“At a certain point, we all must face this one, single, tragic truth,” declared pop culture website Pajiba last year, “Madonna might be just kind of pathetic now.”

“Please retire in peace” pleaded Crushable, in one of the countless less than charitable assessments of Madonna Louise Ciccone that have dogged the latter phase of her 30-plus year career.

But as fashionable as it has become to mock the bottom-baring, stunt-pulling superstar, Madonna may just yet — once again — have the last laugh.Despite being criticised for charging steep prices for her upcoming tour, tickets to the pop icon’s concerts have shown no sign of fan fatigue, with seats to her December show in Paris selling out within five minutes of going on sale.Closer to home, Madonna’s latest album, Rebel Heart, debuted at the top of the Australian charts on its release earlier this month.

As Hardeep Phull recently noted in the New York Post, critics who carp about Madonna’s supposed struggle for relevancy overlook the fact that the woman who inspired a generation of copycats is not so easily cast aside.

“But in truth, young singers are still clamouring to work with the Material Girl — because in pop music, she’s still a god,” Phull wrote.Acknowledging the staying power of a musician who has outlasted a thousand imitators, Phull pointed out that while much younger acts battle to fill stadiums, Madonna will be playing to sold-out arenas across the globe later this year.

“Not only does pop music still want Madonna, it positively needs her,” Phull concluded.

In a sign that the haters’ open season on Madonna might be drawing to a close, The Atlantic’s Spencer Kornhaber also found some kind words for the music veteran in a recent review.“If her attempts to keep pushing boundaries don’t quite work out this time, if she hasn’t had a bona fide hit in eight years, that’s okay. She’ll keep working.”

Not too shabby for a has-been.


Saturday, March 21, 2015


NEW YORK, NY – March 21, 2015 – The infamous Material Girl announced her Rebel Heart World Tour to spectacular reviews, driving massive concert ticket sales for the 38 cities on the tour, says online ticket broker ConcertBank.com. Despite hints in the media that Madonna ticket sales were lagging from prior years, the ticket supplier has seen a definite uptick in demand for Madonna concert tickets in the wake of the artist’s tour debut.

When it comes to concert ticket sales, Madonna’s history is hard to beat. In 2012, the Material Girl sold out Yankee Stadium in 20 minutes for her MDNA tour, making it one of the fastest sellouts in concert history. The MDNA tour also featured 88 sold-out shows. Madonna is no stranger to that kind of success. The MDNA tour, listed as the highest grossing concert tour of 2012, was just the latest in a long string of concert honors for the 56-year-old performer. She also held that honor in 2008 and 2009 for tickets to her aptly named Sticky and Sweet tour.

This year’s Rebel Heart World Tour is in support of Madonna’s 13th studio album, Rebel Heart, which UK critic Neil McCormick has dubbed her “best album in years.” His review notes that the songs on the album veer between emotional vulnerability and strident defiance, and display the perennial performer’s chameleonic musical talents at their best.

Fans who are lucky enough to score Madonna Rebel Heart concert tickets can expect to hear many of her sizzling fan favorites, but will also be looking forward to hits off her newest album, including the aptly titled, “Bitch, I’m Madonna”, which features singer Nicki Minaj.

While the mainstream media has speculated about “slow ticket sales” for Madonna’s 2015 tour, third party ticket sites like ConcertBank.com aren’t noticing any sludge in the works. Premium Madonna tickets are selling briskly, says the site, with many venues may only showing listings for cheap concert tickets and less desirable single ticket sales.

In addition, many smaller venues across the country have already sold out Madonna tickets, leaving only ticket broker sites with any inventory. Fans who want to see the Material Girl on tour should check back frequently to find the best Madonna tickets, the site’s ownership says.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Actor Terrence Howard, who starred in Dead Presidents and Mr. Holland’s Opus and is currently the star of Empire, will be seen up front and centre in Madonna’s new music video ‘Ghosttown’.

Howard once had had his own album ‘Shine Though It’ in 2006. It reached no. 31 on America’s Billboard chart. Howard plays record company mogul Lucious Lyon in the hit drama Empire. His character is a former drug dealer turned hip hop mogul and the CEO of Empire Entertainment.

Madonna is making her new video with Howard this week in Los Angeles, while she is in town for a week of guest spots on the Ellen Degeneres show.

The ‘Ghosttown’ video is being directed Jonas Äkerlund, who also directed ‘Ray Of Light’, ‘Music’ and ‘American Life’ for Madonna.

Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart’ debuted at number one on Australia’s ARIA chart this week after selling 6,962 copies. The album will debut at no. 1 in the USA later this week with sales around 92,000.

Source : Noise

Monday, March 9, 2015

Madonna to perform on iHeartRadio Music Awards and Howard Stern Show

Jamie Foxx will host the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards, live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles Sunday, March 29th on NBC. The announcement came Monday morning, along with a star-studded list of performers and artists to appear on the show, and it’s going to be a big one!

Rihanna, Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith, Madonna, Jason Aldean, Jamie Foxx, Meghan Trainor, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Snoop Dogg, Nate Ruess, Alesso and Florida Georgia Line will all perform along with appearances from Taylor Swift and more to be announced. This year’s iHeartRadio Music Awards will also feature unexpected collaborations from some of the top names in music.

The 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards air live Sunday, March 29th at 8pm ET/PT on NBC, and will be broadcast simultaneously on iHeartMedia stations nationwide and across the iHeartRadio digital music platform.

This Wednesday the show moves to 1p EST for a special live show with @Madonna! #MadonnaOnHoward #WestCoastFeed


Many pop acts, and most female pop artists, inextricably link themselves to youth. Stars exploit the beauty, rebelliousness and vogue of a fresh bloom, the connection with the obsessiveness of teen culture, to become icons.

The problem is people age. Even Madonna. Maybe especially Madonna, under the hot lights of three decades of scrutiny.

I wish Madonna didn’t carry the burden of being 56 in a world where Britney is ancient at 33, because Madge’s new album is her best this century. If we could forget how old she looks (she could barely pass for 45, gasp!) or how last month’s Grammy performance was less than awesome, we could focus on how great “Rebel Heart” is.

“Rebel Heart” rolls forward Madonna’s expanding, innovative approach of finding bridges between her classic ’80s and ’90s aesthetic and current sonic trends. Like 2012’s “MDNA,” a good record in itself, she continues her introspection on her 13th studio album, out Tuesday (to fit our maddening, modern age, there are two different deluxe editions with bonus tracks). But between the self-examination she doesn’t forget to have fun. Would Madonna ever forget fun?

Thwarting a leak, Madonna released six of the 14 tracks in December. “True Blue” fans got a hook and harmony reminiscent of old-school Top 40 in “Living for Love” — a joyful, fresh and nostalgia-inducing single to compare with her best. They also got choice album cuts that, with help from producers du jour Kanye West, Diplo, Avicii and Billboard, explored EDM tricks, lyrics obsessed with the divine (some things don’t change) and catchy choruses.

The other eight songs continue the delicious balance of Material Girl and modern Madge. “Iconic” begins with a sample of Mike Tyson ranting about his unparalleled skills before dropping down into a club-thumping beat with slippery, wicked verse from Chance the Rapper (who was born 10 years after Madonna debuted in ’83). Getting into her specialty, “Holy Water” blends sex with the sacred and includes a well-placed snippet of “Vogue.”

Not everything is great. Actually, not everything is good. This is a modern pop album, so there are songs that should be cut to make the music fit on two sides of vinyl — I nominate “HeartBreakCity,” “Inside Out” and “Wash All Over Me.”

Don’t expect another “Like a Prayer.” She’ll never equal that (nor will Katy Perry, Taylor Swift or Maroon 5). But ignore the eternal gossip around Madonna’s personal life, close your ears to suggestions she’s too old to be relevant, and embrace the mix of the exotic and familiar. Her still impressive blond ambition remains one of pop’s great voices.

Source : BostonHerald

Saturday, March 7, 2015


If any confirmation were required of Madonna’s sustained cultural relevance, it was surely provided by a mere wardrobe malfunction out-shining the combined micro-celebrity wattage of the entire Brit Awards line-up.

It’s fortunate, then, that this ironic triumph should be followed by confirmation of her musical relevance. Rebel Heart capitalises on the comeback charm of 2012’s MDNA, and in places repeats aspects of its success. Nicki Minaj reprises her role as Madge’s rapping henchgirl on the amusingly abrasive “Bitch I’m Madonna”; and Madonna again slips sly hints of hits such as “Vogue” into the arrangements, like straps binding the material to her legacy.

The most welcome reminders are those which recall the career-apex achievements of Like a Prayer, particularly “Devil Pray” and album closer “Wash All Over Me” – the latter mining a resistant melancholy while the former urges the adoption of a deeper spirituality not dependent on drugs. A less reverential employment of religious imagery, however, occurs in the controversy-courting cunnilingus anthem “Holy Water”, where she proclaims, “Bless yourself and genuflect/Jesus loves my p***y best.”

But if the lyrics mine familiar tropes of sex, dance, religion and celebrity, the music pushes out from her electropop template, with the brittle beats and wheezing dubstep electronic flourishes augmented by the kalimba groove of “Body Shop”, the choral responses of “Heartbreak City” and the Middle Eastern drone of “Best Night”.

The inventive Diplo is a frequent collaborator, with support from Avicii, Michael Diamond and Kanye, but what’s most impressive is Madonna’s singing, which for the most part eschews the excessive vocal treatments of R&B in favour of a simple clarity, which, on “Ghosttown” and “Joan of Arc”, recalls the purity of Karen Carpenter.

It’s a sonic nakedness that’s more revealing than any flirty flash of boob or buttock.

Source : Independent

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Madonna: The Last True Icon!

Stunning! March 2/2015 Paris.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pitchfork Interviews Madonna.

Pitchfork: You have worked in lots of different mediums—acting, directing, theater, philanthropy—but always come back to pop music as your primary means of expression.

Madonna: Yes, my home base—pop music and the Catholic Church.

Pitchfork: And sex.

M: [laughs] Yes. Why not? All three together, if possible.

Pitchfork: What makes pop music such a powerful medium for you?

M: It’s very primal. It’s also like poetry, when it’s good. I like that you have four minutes to zero in on something and evoke a specific feeling and take people on some sort of journey. When I discovered that I could write music, it felt like the most natural way for me to connect with people and tell my stories. I’ve always thought of that as what I do: I tell stories.

Pitchfork: I was really surprised by this new record. To be honest, I was also kind of relieved…

M: That you didn’t hate it? [laughs]

Pitchfork: Yes, actually. I mean, you never know…

M: Totally. That’s to be expected.

Pitchfork: This is your 13th studio album. Do you tend to go into the making of a record with a sense of what you want the record to be, or does that reveal itself as things unfold?

M: Generally I start by choosing producers to work with, which determines the direction the overall sound is going to go in. But this time around, my goal from the very beginning was just to write good songs that don’t require any production to be felt or understood. I wanted to be able to sit in a room with a guitar and play the song from beginning to end and have it be as impactful as if you heard the studio version with all the bells and whistles. In the beginning I was writing songs with Avicii, whom everyone associates with EDM, but I worked with his team of writers and everything was very simple—vocals and piano, vocals and guitar. It almost had a folk feeling to it.

It wasn’t until I got about halfway through the album that I started thinking about sounds, and that’s where Diplo came in. He started adding these monster beats and punch-you-in-the-stomach bass sounds and 808s like you’ve never heard before, and that pushed me in a certain direction. Then I looked at the songs I had that still didn’t have producers and started asking around for people I thought it would be fun to work with.

I wanted to work with a hip-hop producer, but not a conventional hip-hop producer, and DJ Dahi had worked on a Kendrick Lamar record that I really liked. Then [Diplo] brought Blood Diamonds into the picture, and I’d never heard of him before. It was like a train that started moving: Along the way, new people would get on while other people would get off for a while only to return again later. So not only was I the primary songwriter, but I was also the schedule keeper trying to manage the comings and goings of crazy DJs who all have ADD. [laughs]

Pitchfork: When I was listening to the record I started to make a division between the “party” songs and the “personal” songs—the party versus the personal…

M: Party versus funeral. [laughs]

Pitchfork: I found myself much more drawn to the personal songs.

M: Which song in particular?

Pitchfork: “Joan of Arc”, for example. Maybe it’s just because…

M: You feel like a martyred saint? [laughs]

Pitchfork: I was gonna say because I’m a 40-something gay dude—same thing. I was just drawn to the songs that seem to deal with getting older, making sense of things.

M: I can understand that.

Pitchfork: You’ve never been afraid to put yourself out there in terms of talking about provocative topics like sex or religion, but is it somehow scarier to talk about your personal, intimate feelings?

M: Hm. I think “scary” is probably the wrong word. You just have to be ready. You know, I just don’t ever want to sound like a victim, or like a person that is feeling sorry for themselves. However, I did want to share some aspects of my life experiences that were painful that I think people can relate to—especially in this age of social media where people can hide behind the Internet to say a lot of disparaging, hateful, discriminatory things to other people. It’s not that people got crazier or more hateful, it’s just that now people have the courage to say stuff without any fear. As much good as it does, social media can also encourage stupidity and degradation.

Do you know [‘60s poet] Anne Sexton? I worship her. She came up in a tough time, and she definitely wasn’t encouraged to be a poet or to speak her mind or reveal anything personal. When I made Truth or Dare, I got so much shit from people for everything, for allowing cameras to follow me around all the time. Can you imagine, in this day and age?

Pitchfork: Now everyone has a camera following them at all times.

M: When that movie came out I was constantly referencing this Anne Sexton poem called “For John, Who Begs Me Not to Enquire Further”. She was given so much shit for being too personal in her work, but that poem is her way of saying, “Look, I don’t know how to do anything else.” That poem always gave me solace, especially at a time when everyone told me I was being crazy.

Pitchfork: What has inspired you recently in the realm of pop music?

M: To be honest, pop music isn’t exciting me too much right now. I mean, do you consider James Blake pop music? I love his music, some of his songs just kill me. He’s a great songwriter. It’s the kind of thing that makes me jealous, like, “Oh! I wish I’d made that!”

Pitchfork: You’ve talked about how having kids is like the best A&R, because they keep you up to date on what’s happening in the world.

M: Oh yeah, they’ve certainly turned me on to lots of great music.

Pitchfork: Are they harsh critics as well?

M: Yes. They’re like, “Please, Mom, no. Please stop. Oh, here she goes again…” And then I say, “Shut up, this is paying the bills!” [laughs]

Pitchfork: Two of your children are from Malawi, and I think it’s important to acknowledge the work you continue to do there.

M: Yes. My work there gives me a sense of purpose that I never really had before—it gives me a lot of joy, and it would be wonderful to invite other people to get involved. You witness extreme suffering but also extreme joy. I know it’s a cliche, but it really puts everything else in perspective. You just have to pour yourself a great big glass of “shut the fuck up” because you realize that you literally can’t complain about anything.

I love taking my kids there because not only does it stop them from ever complaining, it lets them become adults and takes them out of their comfort zone and they get to do this amazing work to help people. Being able to step outside of yourself in order to help someone else is why we’re all here, it’s what we should all be doing if we can. I don’t talk about this too much because I’m not in it so people can pat me on the back. Even when the former president there was trying to run me out of the country when we were trying to build schools and hospitals, it never stopped me, because I do this for love. It’s as important as anything I have ever done.

Pitchfork: You also really advocated for gay people—and talked openly about AIDS—at a time when not a lot of people were willing to do so.

M: Absolutely.

Pitchfork: I appreciate that you’ve been so supportive of my people.

M: [laughs] Your people? My people.

Pitchfork: Are you surprised by how radically things have changed, particularly in respect to things like gay marriage?

M: Well, it’s about time. I’m not surprised really. There are too many powerful, intelligent voices in the gay community for things not to change. So, I’m happy and I’m relieved. I feel vindicated.

Pitchfork: In preparation for this interview, I spent a lot of time watching lots of YouTube videos of your past performances…

M: Oh god, you must be so sick of me.

Pitchfork: Are you still excited about being on stage in front of people?

M: Yeah. I like coming up with these spectacular extravaganzas that will, hopefully, totally blow people away. But I also like the intimacy of stopping it all and sitting at the edge of the stage and connecting with individual people in the audience. Actually, I quite like the idea doing a different kind of tour—and don’t get any ideas because this is not gonna happen right now—where I would sing songs and play guitar and just have maybe one other musician out there with me; it’s just me and a guitar and a good bottle of wine. I could talk in between each song and tell stories, or do some of my stand-up comedy, which I’m actually quite good at. I love it when I see a stand-up comedian have some amazing back-and-forth dealing with a heckler in the audience. I could really have a field day with something like that. I don’t think you understand how funny I am—I mean, maybe not right now, but in general. I do some of my best stand-up comedy during sound checks.

Pitchfork: I always thought it might be frustrating how big stadium shows don’t allow for much spontaneity.

M: I actually always try to have a moment in my show where I can just lay down on stage and talk to people for a little while. Also, I like to fuck with people sometimes. [laughs] I might be responsible for as many gay marriages as I am for heterosexual divorces, because there have been circumstances where see couples in the audience and there is a husband sitting there with his arms crossed, looking bored out of his brain, while his wife is up on her feet dancing and having such a good time. I’ll stop the show and point them out and say, “Who’s that guy sitting down right now?” And she’ll reply, “Oh, he’s my husband.” And I say, “Divorce him—right now.” And then they do! Just kidding. I hope they don’t, really.

Pitchfork: Could you imagine a time when you wouldn’t want to tour or make records anymore?

M: This might be verging on a stupid question. [laughs] You might need to take a drink for that one. You know what, I’ll have a drink too. [pours tequila shots] Cheers! Here’s to a stupid question!

Pitchfork: Here’s to apparently never retiring!

M: Here’s to never retiring!

Source : Pitchfork