14 March - 4 Minutes to debut in new Sunsilk ad
Madonna, whose new album HARD CANDY is scheduled for an April 29 release, will debut her first single 4 Minutes in a new Sunsilk commercial, announced today by Unilever. The pop artist and ever-changing chameleon and superstar originally appeared in the first Sunsilk "Life Can't Wait" Campaign alongside Marilyn Monroe and Shakira, but will now be the sole focus of the brand's new styling product spot that will debut on March 17.
The spot will trace Madonna's ever-evolving look throughout the years as a means to inspire girls to play around with their current styles -- with the help of the new Sunsilk styling aids -- and will include the music of Madonna's new single 4 Minutes.
"We're proud to unveil a powerful advertisement that features a truly inspirational icon along with our new styling products," said David Rubin, director of U.S. Hair Care Operations, Unilever. "Madonna continues to be such an inspiration for young girls by continuously reinventing her looks, and we expect the new commercial will also encourage girls to evolve by changing their looks and making their hair and lives happen in a variety of exciting ways." (source: Press Release via Yahoo Finance)
14 March - Hard Candy albumcover revealed
People.com has just posted the cover picture of the new Madonna album Hard Candy. It features a blond Madonna in a wresting belt, in front of a pink candy background.
The picture was taken by longtime collaborator Steven Klein.
14 March - 4 Minutes countdown
Madonna has launched a website tick-tock.tv to anticipate the release of her new single 4 Minutes. It features a candy clock and it loops a sample of the song where Madonna sings 'tick-tock-tick-tock'.
Meanwhile, in the past few days many radio stations have broadcast a 30 second preview of the single, ahead of monday's radio debut.
14 March - 'Miles Away' is about Madonna's marriage?
Madonna has shed light on the difficulties of having a long-distance marriage on a new album track.
The pop icon has spent most of the last six months separated from husband Guy Ritchie and sings about the problems on her new album Hard Candy.
On the track Miles Away, Madonna sings: "You love me more miles apart...I love you, but we are at our best miles away...When you are gone you realise I'm the best thing that happened to you."
The 49-year-old was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday and witnessed rock veterans Iggy and the Stooges pay tribute to her by performing Burning Up and Ray Of Light.
Madonna was handed her award by Justin Timberlake, who noted: "The world is full of Madonna wannabes. I might have even dated a couple." (source: Digital Spy)
14 March - Video debut on March 29th + another version in the making?
Madonna and Justin Timberlake are making a Smart move together.
A source tells me the duo’s debut collaboration, 4 Minutes, will be featured in the upcoming movie adaptation of Get Smart.
Nothing official yet, but my source says movie executives are trying to persuade Madonna and Justin to shoot a music video specifically tailored for the movie. They've already shot a video for the single, which is scheduled for a March 29 release.
Get Smart, starring Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway and based on the kitschy 1960s television comedy about a bumbling U.S. spy, opens June 20. (source: E! Online)
13 March - Madonna's Malawi movie was directed by her gardener
Madonna's new Africa awareness documentary was directed and filmed by her personal gardener. The pop superstar rewarded green-fingered multi-tasker Nathan Rissman by asking him to take charge of her new movie I Am Because We Are. She explains, "He used to be my gardener... He's a brilliant, lovely guy - one of those guys who came into my life and did every job.
He was a runner, an intern, a gardener. "He took care of my kids. He did everything and he did it with humility. And everyone just grew to love him. And then he started doing these little movies of my children and sending them to me, and making films out of photographs and just being really creative. "One day I said, 'I need somebody to document this,' and then looked at him and said, 'And that person is you.' He really stepped up to the plate." Rissman took off to Malawi, Africa to document Madonna's film, which she wanted to release to show that famine, poverty and AIDS in the developing world are problems that can be solved.
The singer adds, "He spent a lot of time in Malawi, literally sleeping on the floors of people's huts and waking up with chickens on his head. "He really lived it and approached it with an open heart and so much gratitude. "People opened their hearts to him. I couldn't have done that." (source: Contactmusic)
12 March - Other 4 Minutes dates + promo
As revealed earlier today, Amazon lists the single 4 Minutes for March 24th. On other sites, the general release date is going to be March 25th, while it's the 26th for the UK.
Great news is 4 Minutes already being listed on the A-list of UK's Radio 1 and is being promoted as a short clip on the main page of US station z100. This station is considered as the most influential radio station of America, who showed little love for Madonna in the past 5 years, so the buzz of the new track is incredible! The radio release for 4 Minutes is Monday, March 17th worldwide.
11 March - 4 Minutes single cover revealed + digital download next week
The single cover of new single 4 Minutes was revealed today. The fantastic picture is from the video set, with Madonna forming a '4' with her legs! ;-) The song is credited to "Madonna & Justin".
Il Corriere Della Sera, the Italian newspaper that revealed the cover, now also claims that on Monday, March 17th, they are going to offer 4 Minutes as a digital download exclusive at corrieredellasera.it. We do not have information whether other countries will follow on the same day, or a week later.
11 March - Interview in The Independent
Today's issue of UK newspaper The Independent features a 5-page spread about Madonna, including an interview and the picture from the same photo shoot as the cover of Dazed & Confused. Click on the thumbs below to check the scans and read the interview (thx to Marcin for the scans!)
11 March - Hall of Fame report on AP & Reuters
Madonna spoke of being possessed by magic as she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday along with Leonard Cohen, rocker John Mellencamp, British pop band The Dave Clark Five and instrumental group The Ventures.
"I felt like I had been possessed by some magic and luckily for me I have been miraculously and continuously possessed by some kind of magic," Madonna said at the annual Hall of Fame ceremony in New York.
"I have gone on to do so many things in my life, from writing children's books, to designing clothes, to directing a film. But for me it always does, and it always will, come back to the music, so thank you," she said.
Madonna, 49, was inducted by pop star Justin Timberlake, who has co-written and co-produced half the songs on her new album Hard Candy, which is released next month. "Nobody has gotten into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame looking this damn fine," he said. "You're no old museum piece."
Madonna made her debut in 1982 and her first album Madonna, including hits such as Holiday, Borderline and Lucky Star, helped her become one of the best-selling pop artists, with more than 200 million albums sold worldwide. (source: Reuters)
Madonna, pop music's quick-change artist, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday and paid tribute to people who encouraged her and even critics who panned her for helping drive her career. [...]
Madonna recalled key moments of her career, from playing her demo tape for record company president Seymour Stein when he was in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV, to her shock at looking out from the stage at thousands of girls dressed like her. "It freaked me out," she said.
She fondly remembered a teacher who encouraged her to follow her dreams when she was only 14, and said she's lucky to have people around her that are still doing that.
Even the people who "said I was talentless, that I was chubby, that I couldn't sing, that I was a one-hit wonder, they helped me, too," she said. "They inspired me because they made me question myself repeatedly and pushed me to be better."
Singer Justin Timberlake, who helped produce Madonna's upcoming album, inducted her with an innuendo-laden speech.
"The world is full of Madonna wannabes. I might have even dated a couple," said Britney Spears' ex. "But there is truly only one Madonna."
Timberlake told of how he felt ill one day while working on Madonna's new album and she asked whether he wanted a B-12 shot. He said sure, expecting a doctor to show up, but Madonna pulled out a syringe and said, "drop 'em."
After he pulled his pants back up, "she looked at me and said, 'That's top shelf,' and that was one of the greatest days of my life," he said.
"Everything he said is basically true," Madonna confirmed, "but I didn't say 'drop 'em,' I said, 'pull your pants down."
Madonna didn't perform but asked punk rockers Iggy Pop and the Stooges to sing Burning Up and Ray Of Light. At the end, a shirtless Pop said, "you make me feel shiny and new, like a virgin touched for the very first time," and tossed his microphone to the floor. (source: AP)
11 March - She's the shot in the ass when we need one
Madonna has now been officially inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Justin Timberlake came on stage to the tunes of 4 Minutes. He started out with some of the early prejudices people told about Madonna. "Many people said that back then but I don't think any of them are here tonight." He continued that when he was asked to induct her, he realised that when talking about Madonna "everything sounds hotter, dirtier and more fun. Induct her! I'd love to. Enter the hall! Every chance I get."
He complemented her with "Nobody has gotten into the Hall looking so fine!" He joked that she also "once kissed some that I may have kissed myself... Of course I mean Sean Penn!" Justin also praised her for "47 Top 40 hits; almost one for every year she's been alive!" He threw in some song references, saying she had urged people to "express yourself, open your heart, cherish and justify your love". He then talked a bit about the production process of the new album and told an anecdote of Madonna giving him a B12 shot when he was ill ("Drop 'em!"): "And that's exactly what Madonna will always be for us: a shot in the ass when we need one!"
Then he introduced a hot looking Madonna on stage. She gave a great speech, reflecting back on her career and the people who helped her through it, such as her ballet teacher Chris Flynn and her first boyfriend Dan Gilroy with whom she played in a band. She talked about how she was once sitting in a synagogue in Queens, teaching herself to play the drums and then writing her first song called "Tell the Truth". She felt like possessed by magic and she's grateful to be possessed by that magic still today. She thanked all the people who believed in her dreams, but also those who called her "talentless, chubby and a one hit wonder, coz they helped me question myself and pushed me to get better."
She then reminished about meeting Mark Kamins and getting a demo tape played. Then meeting Seymour Stein of Sire Records, while in the hospital, where he signed her. "And before I knew it, I was rolling on the floor at MTV with my ass hanging out! I lost my shoe and it became a dance routine... yikes! My manager freaked out and yelled that I ruined my career... oh well, what did he know".
She made some jokes about dancing on XTC when she got signed, and about meeting Liz Rosenberg, who was smoking a joint when she first met her. She also told how she chased Freddy DeMann, coz he was the manager of the most successful man in the music business at that time: Michael Jackson. "He drove a Porsche. And he drove me home. And by the time we got there, he was my manager... No monkey business!" She skipped to Guy Oseary, her current manager, who once told her "Anything is possible. Just tell me what you want to achieve." She then summed up a list of producers she worked with, for which she was so grateful. And then... she thanked the fans, who stuck with her through thick and thin! At that moment, the crowd went so ecstatic that she couldn't speak for a minute. She ended with a quote she also told a recent magazine: "I'm only the manager of my talent, not the owner." and "From writing books, to producing movies, I've had so many great experiences. But it always comes back to the music".
10 March - Today is Hall of Fame induction
Today is the day! Madonna is going to get inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in New York City tonight! While she's not going to perform, she'll attend the ceremony and will watch the tribute performance by Iggy Pop & The Stooges, who are rumoured to cover the songs Burning Up & Ray Of Light. Madonna is going to be inducted in the Hall of Fame by none other than her new collaborator Justin Timberlake, who features in the new single 4 Minutes.
The ceremony will only be broadcast on VH1 Classic in the US, but fortunately we can also stream it live at BestBuy.com. The induction is scheduled to start at 8:30 pm ET which means for CET it's 1:30 am (not 2:30 because yesterday the US had the daylight saving change).
Of course after the event, we'll keep you updated with news & pix!
10 March - The Sun previews Hard Candy track-by-track
Madonna fans' mouths have been watering for months in anticipation of new album Hard Candy.
And I've got an exclusive track-by-track rundown to whet their appetites ahead of its release next month.
The Chameleon Of Pop has chosen an edgy, urban feel for her latest reinvention.
She has come in for criticism for jumping on the R&B bandwagon and collaborating heavily with Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams.
And her new material may appeal more to fans of the hip-hop trio than old-school Madonna devotees.
Despite a few tasty treats, I'm not sure rap was the right direction for a singer approaching her fifth decade.
Album opener Candy Store is Madge's favourite track and I'm assured that it – and not the Hard Candy make-up brand – was the inspiration for the album's title.
Pharrell's fingerprints are all over this song and I reckon it will be a future hit. Madge was keen for Candy Store to be the first single but that honour went to the album's second track, 4 Minutes, to be released later this month.
In this up-tempo number, previously called 4 Minutes To Save The World, she exchanges dialogue with Timberlake and Timbaland for, as the title suggests, exactly 240 seconds.
It's back to Pharrell for third track Give It 2 Me, which has his trademark funky sound.
Next up is Heartbeat, which marks a departure of style with a heavily 1980s-influenced sound. The catchy tune is one of the few tracks that should please Madge's pop purists. It has echoes of her No1 smash Hung Up and could be the album's biggest hit.
Track five, Miles Away, goes back to her new urban sound.
She's Not Me has the album's most controversial lyrics and sounds like Madge's response to Robbie Williams' track 'She's Madonna'. Rob's 2007 tune was about Madge's hubby Guy Ritchie picking her over Robbie's TV presenter ex Tania Strecker. In She's Not Me, Madge sings: "She can love you in the shower" but "she doesn't have my name".
The superstar is clearly in no doubt her fella made the right decision. Incredible is the third of the Pharrell productions and has some sexual lyrics – but unfortunately, the track doesn't live up to its name.
Beat Goes On features more America rap royalty, Kanye West, but it's not up there with Madge's best.
Dance Tonight is a duet with JT with worthy lyrics about doing our bit for charity. On Spanish Lesson, Madge tries out her multilingual skills – which might have been better left in the classroom.
Devil is a reworked mid-tempo outtake from her last album, Confessions On A Dance Floor.
The album wraps up with Voices – its deepest track. It has lyrics about the "master and slave" and is about people being slaves to their egos.
Hard Candy is out on April 28.
Suck it and see for yourself then. (source: Gordon Smart @ The Sun)
08 March - Clash of the Divas
Music magazine Rolling Stone published an article by Sharon Dastur, program director for New York pop radio Z100, in their next issue about the albums of the 3 big divas: Janet, Mariah & Madonna. Here's what she says about Madonna's new album, Hard Candy. You can see the scan on theright.
New Album: Out in April, Hard Candy is her most hip-hop effort, copping the future-sex vibe of Justin Timberlake's last album.
Last Album: 2005's disco-ready Confessions On A Dance Floor sold 1,7 million copies [in the US].
The Single: The Timbaland-produced Timberlake duet 4 Minutes is thrilling march to the apocalypse.
Secret Weapon: Timbaland and Pharrell Williams produced, but Timberlake's hip cached is key.
This Is Why She's Hot: "When the lights go down and there's no one left/I can go on and on" (from Give It 2 Me).
Rihanna Moment: The Candy Store lyrics offer a totally "Umbrella"-esque invitation: "Come on in to my store/I got candy galore."
She Says: "I'm gonna kick your ass." she says of the record. "But it's going to make you feel good."
The Verdict: "The single is fantastic" says Dastur. "She was smart to collaborate with Timbaland and Justin. This is gonna be huge."
08 March - "I'm still trying to make those hits I was making in my 20s"
She was a teenage tearaway who ran away from home to become a pop star and shocked the world with her saucy stage antics and controversial book, Sex.
But now Madonna is nearing 50, she reckons she is more likely to be described as a disciplinarian parent than a rebel.
As she prepares to launch her eagerly-awaited new album Hard Candy, the Queen of Pop reveals she's a strict mum who limits the amount of TV her kids watch and is adamant they do their homework.
She also forces them to tidy their own bedrooms to prepare them for when they flee the nest.
This domesticated routine is the norm for the singer when she is at home with husband Guy Ritchie and raising daughter Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, 11, son Rocco John Ritchie, seven, and adopted son David Banda Mwale.
"I'd fall into the category of disciplinarian," Madonna said. "I make my kids pick up the clothes in their bedrooms. I don't like them to watch too much television. I make sure they do their homework."
Lourdes, fathered by fitness trainer Carlos Leon, is already showing a flair for fashion just like her mother and is set on becoming an actress.
Madonna said: "My daughter has a very strong opinion on clothes and fashion and she's got incredible taste actually.
"She's very self-possessed. She has a strong personality so that will be a challenge for me, but it will also serve her well when she grows older. She says she wants to be an actress, which I don't mind."
Hard Candy, Madonna's 11th album, is released next month. It completes her contract with Warner Brothers, the label that signed her to its subsidiary, Sire, in 1982.
For the latest batch of songs, she has teamed up with Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and Pharrell Williams, who was the most impressed with Madonna's incredible work-rate.
"That work ethic still exists," she said. "I don't think it was a surprise to Justin and Timbaland but Pharrell just kept referring to me as a work horse. He complained a little bit about my relentless inability to sit still for very long, but he got over it eventually."
Among the tracks fans will hear on this next outing is She's Not Me, which Madonna describes as "the ultimate jilted lover song" and Spanish Lessons, which was inspired by the Latino dance craze, The Percolator.
Of the song Incredible, she said: "That's not about my career, that's about a relationship. It's not even necessarily about me, but it's the idea that often at times we take people for granted and we lose our sense of appreciation for them.
"Then something goes wrong and all you can think about it is how you want to get it back to the way it was, because it was incredible.
"So sometimes you almost have to lose something before you can appreciate it."
Meanwhile, Madonna will be inducted by Justin Timberlake into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame on Monday, but she will not be performing at the event. She said: "At first when I heard about the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, I felt ambivalent. Is that where they put musical dinosaurs?
"After people explained that it's an acknowledgement of singers and songwriters who've made a contribution in the world of music for 25 years, I came around to the idea that it was flattering."
The award recognises a career that began with debut album Madonna in 1983.
It delivered hits such as Holiday and Lucky Star before Like A Virgin turned her into a superstar the following year.
She said:"Now when I hear Like A Virgin it's like a statement about the sounds everybody was making in music of the early Eighties.
"There's a simplicity about it. There's innocence about it. And when I look at the video I also see a girl who's innocent, wide-eyed and really excited about life and the beginning of a career."
Known for startling changes of direction in both her sense of style and her musical direction, she admits she is still determined to enjoy hits and surprise her fans.
"I'm still trying to make those hits I was making in my 20s," she said. "Everybody wants to make music that people want to listen to, that people want to hear on the radio.
"I never ever made a record where I didn't care if people heard it or not. As I have evolved as a human being, my music has reflected that.
"I wrote about simple, straightforward, good time songs when I first started out and then as I grew as a person my music has been a reflection of that.
"But that doesn't mean I can just write a song about getting up and dancing and feeling good, but my songs now have a sense of irony or contradiction in them. I like to think they are more complex.
"My music is a reflection of how I've changed and experienced the world and other people."
Madonna, who will turn 50 in August, admits there is a sense of urgency in her music now but insists she isn't worried about facing yet another milestone. In fact, she's already planning a huge bash to celebrate hitting the half century.
She said: "Everybody else keeps mentioning it but I see it as an excuse to have another birthday party. I don't think my age has anything to do with my sense of urgency. I would say the world has to do with it.
"I've had this sense of urgency for quite a while. I just haven't voiced it in my music before.
"But you're right to pick up on that. I do feel like we're living on borrowed time and most people are coming to that understanding. It's impossible for that not to be reflected in pop culture."
She says there is no secret behind her ability to stay at the top of her game as both a mum and an artist.
"A big part of it is the recognition that I'm not the owner of my talent, I'm just the manager of it," she said. "And that I know I have been blessed with many gifts.
"As soon as you think you own what you have, it will go away.
"I also have a great sense of curiosity about the world and I'm always trying to learn new things and put myself in the position where I'm working with people who know more than I do.
"So if I constantly put myself in the position where I'm learning something, then I have new things to express. I put myself in challenging environments.
"I have a great desire to learn and with that comes evolution and discovery.
"And with discovery comes the desire to express what you have learned." (source: The Daily Record)
08 March - Madonna, the pop culture phenomenon to be enshrined
The positive articles about Madonna's Hall of Fame induction keep rolling in. The long article below (from Cleveland.com) is very well-written and it includes some new quotes from Pharrell:
As if dancing in a gondola without falling overboard weren't impressive enough, the Material Girl managed to stare down the king of the jungle, too. It happened in Venice, Italy, during the video shoot for Madonna's 1984 smash Like A Virgin.
Did we mention the supporting cast included a lion, on loan from a circus?
"Midway through one take, the lion began stalking Madonna," recalls video director Mary Lambert.
The tense scene wasn't in the script. While crew members scrambled to safety, Madonna stood her ground as the big cat padded slowly toward her. "She was really fearless," Lambert says. "The lion backed off and everything was OK."
It was all in a day's work for Madonna, no stranger to bold moves. With more than 200 million albums sold worldwide, this irrepressible artist is not only the most popular female singer of her generation, but a pop-culture phenomenon on multiple fronts.
On Monday night at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, she'll be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with fellow performers Leonard Cohen, the Dave Clark Five, John Mellencamp and the Ventures.
Madonna, who turns 50 in August, is no museum relic, however. Last fall, she inked an unprecedented recording and touring deal with megapromoter Live Nation, worth $120 million. Last month, her movie Filth and Wisdom premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival. And her buzzed-about new album, Hard Candy, comes out Tuesday, April 29.
Madonna declined to be interviewed for this story, although past and present associates contacted by The Plain Dealer shed light on various sides of her complex personality, multifaceted as a mirrored disco ball.
Shape-shifting musical chameleon. Ultra-glamorous star of stage and screen. Trendsetting fashionista. Author of the infamous "SEX" coffee-table book and, er, a series of children's titles. Kabbalah devotee.
She's all of the above, and then some.
Born Madonna Louise Ciccone in Bay City, Mich., she reportedly began turning heads at a young age when she danced in a bikini during a school talent show. Her show-biz dreams led her to Manhattan in 1978. "Take me to the center of everything," she told a cab driver, or so the legend goes.
Her break came when DJ Mark Kamins slipped a demo tape of her song Everybody to Sire Records head honcho Seymour Stein, who launched the careers of the Ramones, Talking Heads and the Pretenders.
Madonna and Kamins had a hastily arranged meeting with Stein in the hospital, where he was being treated for a heart ailment. Even though he was hooked up to a penicillin drip at the time, Stein didn't want another record label to snatch up Madonna first.
"The minute she walked in the door, I felt at ease, because I could tell that as much as I wanted to sign her, she wanted to be signed," Stein says.
After contract terms were agreed upon, Stein and Kamins huddled while Madonna waited by the elevator.
"If tonight was Halloween and it was midnight and the shortest way to get to wherever she was going was through a cemetery, she'd take that route," Stein told Kamins. "She's so determined!"
Her self-titled 1983 debut generated the hit singles Holiday, Borderline and Lucky Star, although her de facto coming-out party was the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards ceremony.
Madonna stole the show with her performance of Like A Virgin. A beaming Nile Rodgers, who produced the Like A Virgin album, sat next to a baffled Cher in the audience at Radio City Music Hall, as Madonna writhed onstage in a bustier and "BOY TOY" belt buckle.
"Check it out," Rodgers said. "She's going to be the biggest star in the world!"
The former Chic guitarist was basking in the multiplatinum afterglow of David Bowie's "Let's Dance" album, which Rodgers produced, when he teamed up with Madonna.
Among the tunes they ended up recording was a string-laden cover of the Rose Royce ballad Love Don't Live Here Anymore. Overcome with emotion, Madonna choked up.
"She did another take, which she thought was better," Rodgers says. "I don't know how I won this argument, because you don't win many with her, but I wanted the more emotional performance and we left the crying on the record."
When it came to choosing the project's all-important leadoff single, however, Madonna wouldn't budge. Rodgers thought it should be Material Girl, but Like A Virgin got Madonna's vote.
"Madonna said losing your virginity is one of the most important things for a girl," Rodgers says. "I ran it past as many women as possible, and they all came up with the right answer. They said this record was going to be No. 1 for six weeks. And it was - six weeks, on the dot."
When they weren't in the studio, Madonna and Rodgers often went out for a night on the town.
"Every time I'd walk into a restaurant or a club with her, you'd hear, 'Who's that girl?,' over and over again," Rodgers says.
Once just about everyone on the planet knew who that girl was, the question became: "What'll she do next?"
The video for Madonna's gospel-tinged 1989 hit Like A Prayer, also directed by Lambert, was rife with controversial imagery, including burning crosses.
"I think Madonna enjoys controversy," Lambert says. "But I don't think that is or was her goal in life, to create controversy."
Regardless, she hasn't lost her taste for it. Vatican officials and other religious leaders criticized Madonna for a production number involving a giant cross and a crown of thorns on her 2006 Confessions Tour.
From the get-go, Madonna always had clear ideas about which images she wanted to project to the world, Lambert says.
"There was something about Madonna, and there still is," Lambert says. "She has an amazing charisma. She has the ability to be really open and really give it up, without giving it away.
"Somehow she manages to keep her mystery and her self-respect.
"That's why she continues to have an allure for the press and with the public."
Drawbacks to celebrity
Niki Haris had a steady gig with the Righteous Brothers in Las Vegas when she was summoned to Los Angeles to audition for a spot as a backing vocalist on Madonna's Who's That Girl Tour in 1987.
"I wasn't super-familiar with her," Haris says. "She reminded me of many girls I grew up with - small cheerleader-type, dancer body."
Haris got the job.
"Within an hour, I was in Madonna's car, trying to call Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield to tell them I wasn't going to make it back," Haris says. "She made it very clear: 'This is what you're doing. Call them now. Here - use my phone.'
"I remember thinking, 'Whoa! She really gets what she wants!'"
Haris went on to do several tours with Madonna. Haris also sang on Madonna's albums and appeared in her videos. They became close friends.
"We hung out, went to dinner, watched movies at home ... a lot of black-and-white films, a lot of foreign films," Haris says. "There was a period when Madonna watched a lot of Pedro Almodovar. She loved his stuff."
Their relationship became strained during Madonna's Drowned World Tour in 2001.
"I saw the fishbowl get smaller around her," Haris says. "You had to go through this person to get to this person to get a message to her. She was more trusting and loving and open in the early days.
"She threw a baby shower for me, then I never heard from her again. ... I'd watched her do it to other people. It's part of the superstar machine - like, 'OK, we're done with you. Next!'"
In the late 1980s, a mutual acquaintance introduced Madonna to songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, the duo responsible for penning her biggest hit to date, Like A Virgin. Madonna had followed their demo almost note for note, although they first crossed paths with her - with "Warren Beatty in tow," Steinberg says - years later in Beverly Hills, at a black-tie birthday party for her manager.
"Oh, Madonna, I've wanted to meet you for so long!" Steinberg gushed.
"Well, now you did," Madonna replied, then walked away.
"Yeah, I felt a little crestfallen," Steinberg says. After Like A Virgin, he and Kelly went on to write hits for Cyndi Lauper ("True Colors") and Whitney Houston ("So Emotional"), among others.
"I tried to interest Madonna in covering another one of our songs, but I never could get a response," Steinberg says.
No hard feelings, though.
"I'm a big Madonna fan," Steinberg says. "I think she's actually very underrated as a songwriter.
"I happen to know that Madonna often writes songs to tracks that people give her. She's writing the lyric and the melody, which is huge.
"She's a really effective pop singer, too."
Rick Nowels co-wrote three songs with Madonna, including the hit The Power Of Good-Bye, for her 1998 album Ray Of Light, a dazzling foray into cutting-edge electronica.
"She's incredibly focused," Nowels says.
Madonna would show up at his Los Angeles studio at 3 p.m. By the time she left four hours later, they usually would have completed a new song, from scratch.
As a tunesmith, Madonna ranks up there with the likes of Billy Joel, Sting and Carole King, Nowels says.
"Madonna is a great songwriter," he says. "She has the gift of writing simple but poignant melodies and words."
Pursuing her vision
Madonna had another landmark moment at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, where she kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera onstage, symbolically passing the torch (or was it the tongue?) to a new generation.
Or was Madonna sucking the life force out of her young competition?
"She created the template for the postmodern female pop star," says Lucy O'Brien, author of "Madonna: Like an Icon," a biography published last year.
"Madonna has embraced so many different genres and come up with some amazing concepts," O'Brien says. "That's her strength, that she can move in so many different directions and bring it all together.
"She feels she can still compete with artists who are half her age, too. She's not fazed by that. ... She's just indefatigable."
The late James Brown was billed as "the hardest working man in show business," although even he might've felt like a slacker next to Madonna.
"She comes into the arena in the afternoon for a two- to four-hour sound check every day before the show," says dancer Mihran Kirakosian, a grizzled veteran of Madonna's past couple of tours.
She was constantly fine-tuning the music and choreography, Kirakosian says.
Working 12-, 14- or 16-hour days was the norm for the Filth and Wisdom cast, according to Eugene Hutz. He plays a cross-dressing dominatrix in the film, an offbeat comedy. It marks Madonna's directorial debut.
"Her style was very gonzo beatnik for the most part, but then suddenly she would get incredibly scrupulous and specific," says Hutz, leader of the gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello.
There is talk of releasing the movie soon via iTunes, he says.
Filth and Wisdom is about "pursuing your vision," Hutz says. "And Madonna certainly has done that."
Her upcoming album promises to venture deeper into uncharted creative territory, via hip-hop-savvy, club-thumping songs.
Hard Candy is "one of the best albums in years," says the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams, who collaborated with Madonna on a couple of new tracks.
Other contributors to the project include Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, who is set to induct Madonna into the Rock Hall. (For unspecified reasons, she won't perform at the ceremony, leaving fellow Michigan natives Iggy Pop and the Stooges to do a number or two in her place.)
Madonna "worked me to death," Williams says. "But you know what? I'm glad I was pushed, because it's some of my best work."
As for Madonna, her greatest creation remains Madonna herself. As she puts it in The Confessions Tour DVD: "I am the art."
Despite the pop bent of her music, Madonna belongs in the Rock Hall, says Stein, president emeritus of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation's board of directors.
Madonna has "a true rock 'n' roll spirit," Stein says.
"She takes chances. She doesn't care about the odds. She cares about whether she believes in something or not.
"Believe it or not, Madonna is one of the easiest artists I ever worked with, because she knew what she wanted. And she was almost always right, too."
MSNBC revealed more excerpts from Interview magazine:
Timberlake and super producer Timbaland are both featured on 4 Minutes, the first single from Madonna's new album.
She told Interview, the song is a wake up call.
"It's kind of a funny paradox," she said. "It's like we're saying, 'We're running out of time. People, wake up.' But if we are going to save the world, can we please have a good time while we're doing it.'"
Madonna also spoke about working with Kanye West, who is featured on a cut titled, Beat Goes On.
"There was a big sense of urgency [with that song]," she said. "Kanye only had four hours. I had to finish it before he had to catch an airplane. But you know what? Right now, I'm operating in the mode of 'live every day like it's your last day.' So there's a sense of urgency in everything I do."
Admit it. When Madonna was writhing around onstage in a wedding gown to Like A Virgin years ago, the last place you'd expect to see her was in something called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Time has a way of changing things. On Monday, Madge will come to the stage of the Waldorf-Astoria to accept enshrinement. Classmate John Mellencamp, who also churned out hit after hit in the 1980s, will join her.
The Dave Clark Five, whose lead singer Mike Smith died of pneumonia on Feb. 28, are being inducted as well as Philly soul legends Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen, surf rockers the Ventures and blues harmonica ace Little Walter.
She's the pre-eminent pop star of her generation, who stayed a step ahead of trends while adding in shock value to keep herself in the news. Along the way she's made sturdy, state-of-the-art pop such as Material Girl, Crazy For You, Papa Don't Preach, Cherish, Like A Prayer, Vogue and Ray Of Light.
Yet "if you think of rock 'n' roll, Madonna is not the first name that comes to mind," said Steve Morse, longtime Boston Globe music critic who was a member of the hall of fame's nominating committee for seven years.
He considers her selection, particularly in her first year of eligibility, an embarrassment.
Her music was never played on rock 'n' roll radio, he said. Some veteran rock artists like Deep Purple, the J. Geils Band, Steve Miller and Alice Cooper are still waiting for induction. Morse long and unsuccessfully argued on behalf of the late Gram Parsons.
"It seems like this is driven by commercial achievement and sales, rather than having anything to do with the rock 'n' roll genre," Morse said. "It's really a commercial move. They'll be able to sell more tickets to the museum and more people will watch the broadcast."
With rock's founding fathers already in the hall, the museum has broadened its meaning of rock 'n' roll to include rap and pop artists.Grandmaster Flash last year became the first hip-hop artist to make it.
Madonna, who declined interview requests, will answer on Monday night.
She's being inducted by Justin Timberlake. And unlike many contemporary artists - Madonna's new album, Hard Candy, is dropping April 29 - she's not scheduled to perform. Instead, she chose Iggy Pop, the ultimate crawl-around-on-glass punk rocker who shares her Michigan ancestry, to salute her work.
Tom Hanks will induct the Dave Clark Five, the '60s British pop band behind the hit "Glad All Over." Billy Joel will give the speech for Mellencamp, and Lou Reed speaks on behalf of fellow literate songwriter Cohen.
For the second straight year, VH1 Classic will show the induction ceremony live at 8:30 p.m. EDT. (source: AP via Yahoo)
'80s and '90s, and she's certainly deserving of being honored."
Henke points to Madonna's music, her incorporation of dance elements and her mixing of styles that influenced lots of performers that came after her.
Her biggest contribution, though, was her music videos.
"Madonna takes us into a new era," says Rick Krim, VH1's executive vice president for music and talent programming. "As the years go on, the new eligibles from the MTV era will be different from those who came before them. They will be different from the Ventures or the Dave Clark Five. And Madonna emerged as one of the icons of the video era."
When Madonna made her debut in 1982 with the dance single Everybody, she seemed like just another dance-pop singer, like the countless ones who would follow, from Regina and Martika to Stacey Q and Pebbles.
Once she figured out how to use music videos to sell her image as well as her songs, Madonna, with the help of MTV, was soon in a league of her own.
Established performers who adapted well to music videos improved their careers, but Madonna was the first superstar to be launched on MTV.
"Other acts, like Michael Jackson or Prince, saw their careers taken to another level by videos on MTV," says Krim, who worked at MTV in its early days. "Madonna was born there. She always pushed the limits. Her videos never looked like something somebody else did. We always took everything she did really seriously and we still do."
Starting with Borderline in 1984, Madonna turned her videos into events. Teenage girls - dubbed Madonna "wannabes" - quickly copied her various styles, from the crucifixes to the rubber bracelets to the mesh shirts and the underwear as outerwear trends.
Madonna videos became just as important as the songs they represented, sometimes becoming more attention-getting than the songs, either with the controversial Like A Prayer and What It Feels Like For A Girl clips or the artistic, culture-shaping videos for Express Yourself and Ray Of Light, which influenced video and filmmaking styles.
"She is still a musical and cultural icon," Krim says. "She's always finding a way to impact culture and changing with the times, someone who, despite having plenty of exposure, still has a mystique about her. She's a smart woman and done an amazing job managing thatcareer and still having people wanting to see more and hear more. She's not settling back and relying on what she's done in the past. She's always looking ahead."
While induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is seen by many as the culmination of a career, Madonna is still moving forward with hers.
Her new album, Hard Candy (Warner Bros.), due next month, includes [duets] with Justin Timberlake, who will induct her into the Rock Hall. And Krim says it continues the Madonna tradition of pushing the envelope.
"It sounds great - it's very 2008," he says. "But it's still very Madonna. She's growing with the times. She's not an oldies act. There's still a lot of anticipation for her new album. Every time she releases a new video, it will be an event and we're going to treat it that way. I believe MTV will, too. She still has a place on MTV and not many 49-year-old artists can say, that even though a lot of them would like to." *
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction takes place Monday at 8 p.m. in New York. VH1 Classic will air a live simulcast of the event beginning at 8:30 p.m. (Source: Philadelphia Daily News)
07 March - New interview excerpts + new promo picture
PageSix.com has posted a preview of a new Madonna interview, including a gorgeous new promo picture by Steven Klein, which apparently fits into the new "fighting" image of Madonna:
And in this corner, Madonna: 49, married lady, mother of three and still fierce in some glorified undies.
With an album dropping in late April and a documentary about Malawi, I Am Because We Are, due to be released this year, the not-so-material-anymore girl sat down with Interview magazine's Ingrid Sischy for her final issue, to talk Africa, albums, and freedom. Read on for excerpts!
On working with Justin Timberlake: "I really enjoy writing with Justin...We had psychoanalytic sessions whenever we wrote songs first. We'd sit down and we'd start talking about situations. And then we'd start talking about issues or problems or relationships with people. That was the only way, because you know, writing together with somebody is very intimate...that was fun, because he's open and he's got talent. He's a songwriter. I haven't worked with a lot of songwriters where I'm instantly connected and start riffing and playing with the rhythm of the words. He's as interested in the rhythm of the words as the meaning of the words."
On adopting her son David: "He wouldn't have lived if I hadn't taken him. It's not even a possibility."
On gaining perspective: "We live very comfortable lives, and unfortunately, we have to have our noses rubbed in other people's pain and suffering to realize how much we have and how much we have to be grateful for."
On bringing daughter Lourdes with her to Malawi: "She spent several weeks working in the orphanages, particularly one with newborn children, and most of them were HIV-positive. She so came into her own and was so responsible and stayed for eight hours every day and worked tirelessly. I thought, why am I babying her so much? She's capable of so much more. We don't let kids do anything. We think, Oh, they're kids -- they can't take care of other kids; they can't do this; they can't do that. And after you go to Africa, you drop all that silliness."
On freedom: "Freedom is a funny word because when we think we're free, we're not really. I think freedom is quite illusory....When I stop thinking about myself all the time and put other people before me on a regular basis, that's real freedom. When I can love unconditionally...then that's real freedom. So it's something to strive for, but I'm not free."
07 March - 4 Minutes video preview
Check DrownedMadonna for three screen captures of the 4 Minutes video, featuring a very hot Madonna and Justin Timberlake. The video will supposedly premiere in April.
06 March - 4 Minutes to debut on radio on March 17th
Fansite Madonnatribe reveals that 4 Minutes is going to debut on radio on Monday, March 17th. We wonder if the end of March premiere was actually pushed up because of the leak (since the album will follow 6 weeks later, a rare practice if one looks at previous Madonna eras).
06 March - Dance Tonight lyrics revealed
Fansite Drownedmadonna revealed the lyrics of track 9 of the Hard Candy album, Dance Tonight. The song is performed as a duet with Justin Timberlake and has a few lines that are reminiscent of Prince's popular song 'Kiss'. You can read the lyrics here.
06 March - Madonna's secret hunt for hot dancers
Madonna has fuelled reports she's secretly planning a series of early summer (08) shows after announcing an open call audition for "versatile" dancers on Thursday (06Mar08). The pop superstar and choreographer Jamie King are taking over Foresight Dance Studios in Los Angeles in an effort to find "hot" dancers. The call sheet, obtained by WENN, asks wannabe dancers to "bring 2 pictures + resumes," and asks for "strong + versatile dancers". The release form states, "Be prepared with everything from knee pads to different shoes. Should be comfortable doing most any style of choreography. Dress: look good, hot, and able to dance." The auditions take place throughout Thursday afternoon and into the evening. Madonna is remaining tight-lipped about why she needs new dancers, but the call sheet suggests the dates of work will be "April 2008 - TBD." (source: ContactMusic)
05 March - Pharrell talks about Madonna collaboration
After our previous news item we've got additional news from Pharrell, from an interview @ Pitchfork:
As producers, though Williams and Hugo have kept the Neptunes brand name intact, they've tended to work apart more in recent years. Williams, for example, recently finished some songs for Madonna's upcoming album, Hard Candy, an assignment that put his material head-to-head with another Virginia Beach native who has reached the innermost circle of pop importance: Timbaland. If Williams seemed less than enamored of the spotlight during his solo career, he clearly relishes the chance to compete with his old friend (prefame, he and Timba were briefly in a band together) and perceived rival.
"His tracks [for Hard Candy] are crazy," Williams says with a laugh. "I couldn't fuck around. I had to come with it."
05 March - Pharrell & Timbaland get equal shares of 'Candy'
According to blogs The Thomas Crown Chronicles & Vibe Rapidshare, Pharrell recently gave an interview to Vibe magazine where he revealed that the 12 tracks of Hard Candy are split equally: 6 by The Neptunes and 6 by Timbaland. He also called Madonna's upcoming album "monster". Currently the full credits of the new album are unconfirmed, but we'll keep you updated if anything new surfaces!
05 March - Q Magazine preview of new album
Q was treated yesterday to an exclusive preview of Madonna's upcoming album, Hard Candy. On the basis of the five tracks we heard, it sounds exactly like you'd expect a collaboration between Madonna and such super-producers as Timbaland and The Neptunes to sound: a slick, ultra-modern urban dance concoction. As has become customary for a Madonna album, it will be launched with a terrific lead-off single in the shape of 4 Minutes.
Produced by Timbaland and co-written with Madonna by Justin Timberlake, who also pops up on guest vocals, 4 Minutes rides the same sort of spare, sinuous groove as Timberlake's SexyBack single. Here, rather than proclaiming to return sexy to the global arena, Timberlake intones "Madonna, Madonna" over a pumping opening beat, before the pair join forces to suggest they have but "Four minutes to save the world". Naturally, the track clocks in at precisely four minutes.
Elsewhere, Give It To Me, which features Pharrell Williams, is a typical slice of Madonna dancefloor pop, its sashaying groove given a smart upgrade by The Neptunes production team. Two other Pharrell contributions, opening track Candy Shop – with Madonna rather unsettlingly suggesting to listeners that she has "all sorts of Candy" on offer – and Incredible ("Sex with you is incredible," heaves our Madge) see similar makeover jobs being done on Madonna staples, the latter more strikingly so on initial listens.
Patently, no 'Madonna goes urban' project would be complete without the presence of Kanye West, and the shy, retiring one pops up to deliver a self-aggrandising rap (no, really) on Beat Goes On, a maddeningly insistent track likely to follow 4 Minutes onto future Madonna hits compilations.
Hard Candy will be released on 28 April. Q understands that Madonna is likely to undertake a world tour later in the year. (source: Q Magazine)
The great news is that she IS gonna tour towards the end of the year and she wants go to the far places like Argentina and Brazil among others this time, it's gonna be a 2008-2009 tour. And she is indeed going to do small shows as part of her upcoming promo tour in big cities like Paris, London and New York.
In the video for 4 Minutes there are two Japanese dancers that Madonna herself found on YouTube.
The song 4 Minutes continues where Hung Up left off, and a clock sound reminds us there's no time left anymore and this is the right time to make a change.
She would like Hillary to be the next American president.
05 March - Which Madonna songs will Iggy perform?
The blog Movie Martin hints at the possible Madonna songs to be performed by Iggy Pop:
"Alright, so Madonna will not perform at this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on March 10, after all, but Iggy & The Stooges have been tapped to pay tribute to the Queen of Pop during the show. My beautiful-stranger spy tells me the band will play two songs – a really, really hot one from Madonna, her first album, and a really popular one from her Grammy Award-winning Ray of Light. Think about it.... Think about it..."
~ More info soon...
04 March - Hard Candy in the press, 4 Minutes reactions
The promotion of Madonna's new album Hard Candy finally got into first phase, with many news websites reporting the press release. While they don't add anything new to it, it's nice to see that finally official news of Madonna's music makes headlines after such a long time (check out articles by AFP, DotMusic, AdelaideNow & TurkishPress). As for reactions, so far the buzz about the new album is generally positive, many fans and bloggers are surprised by the duet 4 Minutes, but not many are denying that it's quite a catchy song and is obviously hit material. Unfortunately the official radio debut date is still unclear, supposedly it could happen in about 3 weeks only, but we wouldn't be surprised if Warner moved up the debut date, it wouldn't be unprecedented for a leaked song.
Don't forget to give us your opinion on 4 Minutes in our new poll!
04 March - Warner Music, YouTube scramble to pull Madonna track
Madonna's latest single, 4 Minutes, a duet with Justin Timberlake, was leaked onto the Internet by a French DJ yesterday and has left Warner Music scrambling to arrest the leak in order to prevent millions of fans from hearing the track before it is officially released.
Over 26 versions of the leaked track made it onto YouTube. A whole lot more were uploaded to Daily Motion. File sharing sites also saw a host of uploads and downloads of the track. Most Madonna fans listed on Last.fm showed numerous instances of having listened to the track on their PCs.
Warner Music instantly issued a copyright claim getting the video removed from YouTube and DailyMotion almost as soon as users put it up. They were still not quick in enough for thousands of motivated fans of the Material Girl, who managed to download the video or song from one of the many online file sharing sites currently available.
As of the time of publishing this article, only one video of the track could still be found on DailyMotion. The track included the voice-over of the French DJ announcing the new single at the start.
Incidents such as this will undoubtedly provide the music industry ammunition in their upcoming fight against piracy - they are lobbying the UK government to pass laws that will make ISPs responsible for monitoring Internet access and banning users who repeatedly download files illegally.
Record labels, however, can't deny the free publicity and excitement generated by such leaks, which might at times make it worthwhile to let the fans get early access to singles from their favourite artists, in the hope that the euphoria will also propel them to rush to the record stores when the CD is officially released. (source: AccuraCast)
~ We would like to comment that in 2008, everything leaks and nobody should be surprised with that. Nowadays, leaks add to the hype of the track. We think that fans will obviously buy the official version anyway, simply because the radio rip wasn't full and wasn't high quality.
04 March - Madonna laughs off pub rumours
Madonna has laughed off reports she and husband Guy Ritchie have invested $5 million (GBP2.5 million) in their own London pub. It was claimed the couple had bought The Punchbowl near their home in London's Mayfair from their friend Greg Foreman, with Foreman's former gangster father even confirming the sale. But the pop superstar's representative insists she and Ritchie are content to visit the pub as regular customers. Liz Rosenberg tells PageSix.com, "(It's) pure fiction. I know Mr. and Mrs. Ritchie enjoy their pub visits but they don't own one." (source: ContactMusic)
04 March - Iggy & The Stooges to perform for Madonna at Rock Hall Ceremony
According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Iggy & The Stooges will perform for Madonna at this year's induction ceremony. The choice of the Stooges may raise some eyebrows, but isn't as strange as it seems: both the band and Madonna are Detroit natives, and Iggy Pop opened for Madonna at the Dublin date for her Re-Invention Tour in 2004.
Other performers scheduled at the induction ceremony, which takes place next Monday, March 10th, at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel: Damien Rice (for Leonard Cohen); James Cotton (for Little Walter); Patti LaBelle (for Gamble & Huff); plus John Mellencamp and the Ventures, both of whom are being inducted. (source: Rolling Stone)
~ We wonder if they are going to do I Love New York, because that track was inspired by their song 'I Wanna Be Your Dog'.
03 March - Madonna and Guy buy London pub
Pop superstar Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie have bought a traditional London pub near their home in the British capital. The couple paid $5 million (GBP2.5 million) for the 18th Century The Punchbowl in Mayfair, buying it from friend Greg Foreman, the son of notorious former London gangster Freddie Foreman. A source tells British newspaper People, "She (Madonna) absolutely adores the pub. They pop in regularly to get away from it all.
"Madonna loves the beer and Guy meets all his pals down there. They have been desperate to own this place for a long time and have been making offers on it for ages. Now it has finally happened. "It's only around the corner from their West End home. She will be the most glamorous landlady alive." Foreman Sr. confirmed the deal, which was finalised last week (ends29Feb08): "It's great news. Madonna and Guy are a lovely couple and I've met them a few times at the pub. It's a gorgeous place." (source: ContactMusic)
02 March - Official press release about new album
'HARD CANDY' DELICIOUS NEW MADONNA ALBUM SCHEDULED TO BE RELEASED ON WARNER BROS. RECORDS APRIL 29th
Madonna's 11th studio album for Warner Bros. Records Hard Candy is scheduled to have a global release on April 28th and a US release on April 29th, it was confirmed by her label. Hard Candy (the follow up to Madonna's Confessions On A Dance Floor which debuted at No. 1 in 30 countries and sold over 8 million copies), has been described as a brilliant up-tempo collection of 12 songs in which Madonna remains ensconced in club mode but this time adds an urban hip hop beat in collaboration with musical partners Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes and Nate "Danja" Hills. The debut single, the pulsating 4 Minutes will be released at the end of March.
"The title is a juxtaposition of tough and sweetness...kind of like I'm gonna kick your ass but it's going to make you feel good. And of course, I love candy" laughed the material girl.
Madonna, a multi-Grammy-award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, cultural icon, world renowned stage performer, video visionary, children's book author, director and documentary film maker has sold 200 million albums in the course of her unprecedented two decade plus career and is slated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10th. (source: ICON Madonna)
02 March - Tony Shimkin speaks
Fansite Madonnatribe posted an interesting interview with Madonna collaborator Tony Shimkin. Tony used to be Shep Pettibone's personal assistant during the early 90s when Madonna collaborated with both of them. They worked on famous remixes of Like A Prayer, Express Yourself and Keep It Together (that were used as the base of Madonna's live performances that time and on the The Immaculate Collection), then went on producing the singles Vogue & Rescue Me, before starting the Erotica sessions.
Tony reveals that he was part of the writing process during Rescue Me already, but he did not get any credit at all except for Deeper And Deeper, because Shep told him he could only get one co-writing credit on the album. He talks about the recording process and the reception of Erotica, discusses work on several of the album tracks (plus This Used To Be My Playground that was recorded at the same time) and he reveals that there were 2 more catchy tracks recorded for the album that remain unreleased: 'You Are The One' & 'Shame'.
He talks about how Goodbye To Innocence was left out in favour of Fever and of course how the famous You Thrill Me-demo turned into the album version of Erotica. He confirms that after the success of Vogue, he and Shep were asked to co-write songs on Madonna's upcoming record, they began with writing music tracks which they sent to Madonna, who wrote the lyrics and melodies over them, which is her usual process on a record, as revealed by many other collaborators as well.
Other interesting details he mentioned is that the inspiration behind the music of Vogue was actually a remix they did for Janet Jackson's 'Miss You Much' and that by the time Madonna started working on Bedtime Stories, he was not Shep's assistant anymore (Tony did work with Madonna this time as well because he had a hand in Junior Vasquez's Madonna remixes) and how Shep tried to get some credit for the hit single Secret because of some demo he did earlier. Lastly, he appreciates how Madonna reinvents herself and keeps each record frensh and understands that changing collaborators to achieve a new sound is part of the process.
01 March - Life is not slowing down for Madonna
New album, new tour, new kids. As she rapidly approaches 50, life is not slowing down for Madonna.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Telegraph in Hollywood yesterday, the Queen of Pop revealed her plans to adopt another child.
And despite being known for her tough, no-nonsense demeanour, she spoke of being nervous about the release of Hard Candy, her 11th studio album, which will be available internationally on April 29.
While the singer agreed it was time she toured Australia, she was playful about what it would take to make her sign on the dotted line.
"How bad do you want me to be there?" she said at the exclusive Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. "There's a chance. It's been a while. It's the least I can do."
Madonna, the best-selling female singer of all-time, suggested a welcome party would lure her Down Under.
"Are you going to throw a party for me? All right, no didgeridoos though, OK."
Madonna's last Australian tour was the successful Girlie Show in November 1993.
Promoter Michael Chugg said Madonna's 2008-09 world tour plan, including Australia, "will happen".
He said: "It is being talked about ... and there is a promoter trying to put it together."
Although lighthearted and relaxed throughout the interview, her age - she will turn 50 on August 16 - was not a laughing matter with Madonna's publicist, who warned the star shouldn't be asked about her it.
She was, however, happy to talk about her pride at her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next week.
"It's 25 years of writing, producing and recording," she said. "That's a long time to do a job well, I might add.
"So, yeah - it's a great sense of accomplishment." The Sunday Telegraph was given an exclusive preview of her new album - and it certainly signals a new hip-hop-driven direction for the singer.
She collaborated with Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and Pharrell Williams. The first single, Four Minutes (To Save The World) hits radio this month.
"I'm very anxious and nervous and hopeful that people will like it," she said.
She is also releasing a feature film (Filth And Wisdom) and a documentary (I Am Because We Are), which tells the story of her adoption of son David Banda from Malawi.
"I would love to adopt more and I hope that as many people as possible see this movie," she said of the film, which will have its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
"It is very emotional."
The Material Girl also told of her soft spot for Aussies.
"I'm very fond of some Australians. Australians are usually quite funny people."
The nanny who cares for her children - Lourdes, Rocco and David - is also an Aussie. Madonna, called for jury duty after holding a post-Oscars party in Los Angeles last week, said David had a "funny American, English, Australian accent" thanks to the nanny. (source: News.com.au)
01 March - 4 Minutes leaks!
Madonna's new single 4 Minutes just had its world premiere on French radio! The track is amazing, we're practically blown away! The song matches the clip Timbaland played in December and all the descriptions we had, it indeed is a duet with Justin singing the main line in the chorus. You can listen to the radio rip here. Click here for lyrics.
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