Madonna about hard work
M: I believe in hard work and if you have a goal and you want something bad enough, you're gonna work hard for it. I think anybody can relate to that.
Madonna about security
M: A lot of places I go to are considered dangerous, whether that's Tel Aviv or Rio. That never stops me from going somewhere to put on a show. I have good security and I'm not worried about it.
Madonna about a new album
M: I have a movie that I have to finish. I have a new record that I have to make.
When is the record due?
M: I dunno, I have to record it first.
Are you collaborating with a new artist?
M: Yep, also a secret.
Madonna flew to Mexico City on Monday to open the first Hard Candy Fitness club, part of a global chain she and her business partners are unveiling around the world.
More than 700 guests, including most of the club's new members and Mexico City mayor Marcelo Ebrard, attended the opening, along with VIPs hand-picked by the 52-year-old pop music icon.
Named after her last album, the Hard Candy Fitness center is a partnership between Madonna, her manager Guy Oseary and Mark Mastrov, founder and CEO of 24 Hour Fitness -- the world's largest privately owned fitness center chain.
The Mexico City gym is set in a lavish, three-story, 32,000 square foot (3,000 square meter) space in the Mexican capital's exclusive Lomas Altas neighborhood.
It offers the latest in cardiovascular equipment and an array of classes including yoga and capoeira -- an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, music, and dance.
The complex also houses a juice bar-cafe as well as luxury locker, sauna and steam rooms.
"Our goal is to create an environment inspired by Madonna's vision and high standards of what the ideal gym would be," Mastrov said in a statement.
Madonna's group said it expects in the coming months to open more fitness centers in Argentina, Brazil, Russia and other unspecified countries in Europe and Asia.
Hard Candy Managing Director Chris Dedicik said Madonna had chosen the Mexican capital for the first gym after she visited the city on a musical tour in 2008 and was charmed by its surroundings and people.
The Hard Candy club is the latest business venture by Madonna, who in recent months has been diversifying her Material Girl brand well beyond the realm of pop music.
Earlier this year, Madonna announced plans to launch, along with her teenage daughter Lourdes, a line of teen clothing called "Material Girl" to be sold at Macy's department stores.
When the glass doors of Hard Candy Fitness, Madonna's first gym, officially slide open in Mexico City on Monday, a mural of white, black and violet Warhol-esque images of the Queen of Pop will greet each client.
But it's no disco with exercise machines or Hard Rock Cafe-style temple of Madge memorabilia.
The facilities are not much different from any other high-class gym in Mexico City, and very little screams that this is Madonna's first fitness venture, apart from the name - the title of her last album - which she says in fitness parlance is the perfect combination of "hard body" and "eye candy."
"It's a sexy name that gives you the opportunity to have fun and to build strength as far as the imagination will allow," the singer, dancer, actress, children's author and clothing designer said in a Q&A provided by her handlers.
Still, not every gym opens with a Hollywood red carpet appearance by one of the most powerful women in entertainment, who will cut the ribbon as tradition dictates, then teach a dance class for 20 hand-picked members with music by Paul Oakenfold, the DJ who opened her last tour.
The star said she chose Mexico City because it was a stop on last year's Sticky & Sweet tour, which grossed $408 million, second only to the Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang Tour. She said she liked the energy of the people.
"Our plan is to use Mexico as a place to fine-tune our brand and then expand it to other countries and, in the long term, develop a global brand that includes the United States," she said, noting that Mexico is close enough to home for her to be heavily involved.
Though Madonna's own hard body may not be plastered everywhere in the gym, the singer of Like a Virgin is omnipresent in the (2,800-square-metre facility in the city's upscale Bosques de las Lomas neighbuorhood, much as she has been in pop culture for nearly three decades.
Her touch is in the mosaic design of the bathroom tile and in the yoga salon's bamboo floor imported from China.
"She chose the graphics, colors, the machines," says Chris Dedicik, general director of California-based New Evolution Ventures, Madonna's partner in creating the gym. "She has weighed in on the choreography of all the classes and given them a twist to make them more dynamic, more special and to better reflect her style."
Members can do cardiovascular exercises on five types of advanced-technology machines chosen by Madonna, many with individual viewing screens and iPod docks.
The yoga instructors are trained in various styles of the ancient Indian art, inspired by the knowledge the singer has accumulated in her travels. The yoga room will also have a special wall used in Iyengar yoga, one of very few in the world according to Dedicik, with ropes and steps to help people with less physical ability. A balcony outside will feature plants and Zen-style decor, all at the singer's request.
"If any of you have seen my shows, you know that I don't skimp on them and the same is true for the gym," she says. "We spend what it takes to make a globally first-class gym."
At 52, the Material Girl's own workout regimen is legendary and her physique has been both admired and chided for being overdone. Her famously pumped biceps have been labeled scary by some. Members who have signed up so far didn't seem to care about matching Madonna's workout feats. Those using the gym during a weekend preview said they liked the equipment and features and cited proximity to their home or work as their reason for joining.
Ronen Waiss, businessman and Honorary Consul of Lithuania in Mexico, said his office is two doors away and he registered long before he was told it was a venture by Madonna.
"I think it's super sexy and motivating of course, but I didn't know till after I joined," said Waiss, 32. "But it's attractive to me because it's close and has the best computer technology. That's what caught my attention."
Clara Ruiz, a 59-year-old housewife, says she, too, chose the gym for location. But she likes the facility and wishes Madonna success in her new venture.
"She has a lot of experience in this," Ruiz says. "She's done it all her life. I think she chose what for her is the best."
We're only 5 days away from the opening of the world's first Hard Candy Fitness Center in Mexico. Thanks to our friend Fernando we can have a sneak peak of what the place looks like from the outside.
Apart from some shots of the Tom Munro photoshoot, we can also find the Celebration coverphoto used on the wall. Among the promotional taglines, there's "Get Ready to Rock... Your Body" as well as "Hard Body, Eye Candy".
As you can see in the pictures, they are still working on the center, but it seems it already opened and some people were seen exercising. Some 700 people have already registered (out of a maximum capacity of 2500).
Since the music used in the center will be Madonna-only, some 600 different remixes have been provided. During the opening party on the 29th, Madonna is expected to give a gym class herself.
Madonna talks to Ellen (over a satellite connection) about gay bullying and teen suicides and calls on everyone to stop the bullying and the gossip. She says she discusses the subject with her children too and that she felt different and like a weirdo herself when she was a teen.
In other news, she adds that she'll hit the recording studio once she finished editing the movie W.E.
Madonna will sit down with Ellen Degeneres on the show of this Tuesday. We can probably expect talk on the movie W.E. and some promo for the Hard Candy Fitness Centers.
From Ellen Degeneres' website:
Game Week - Tuesday, November 9, 2010
She's the biggest-selling female artist of all time, and she only needs to go by one name -- MADONNA -- is talking to Ellen today! She'll tell Ellen what she's been up to, and she has some important things she'd like to share with everyone.
Enjoying some time in New York City, Madonna was spotted at the 5th Annual Fashion Delivery Awards last night (November 3).
The "Papa Don't Preach" songstress got to present an award to Kenneth Cole's brother Neil Cole, and of course she looked hot while doing it.
Madge recently made her way into the fashion world by teaming up with her daughter Lourdes for the Material Girl label.
In addition, Madonna will be opening a string of high-end gyms called Hard Candy Fitness in major cities around the world.
Fifteen years ago, the video of one of Madonna's most ambivalent single releases premiered on MTV: November 2nd, 1995 saw You'll See debuting. By that time, Madonna was busy with the ambitious Evita project, working on the soundtrack in London. Perhaps that's the reason why it became Madonna's first ever sequel-video.
Helmed by Michael Haussman once again, You'll See became the direct sequel to the Take A Bow video, which had just won a MTV VMA and propelled the single to become one of her biggest hits earlier that year. The storyline of the video includes Madonna being followed by the matador she had run away from in the previous video.
While the clip even goes as unimaginative as it actually reuses footage from Take A Bow, Madonna still managed to update her image and showed off a more restricted and mature, yet gorgeous look, clearly meant as a teaser to her then-upcoming portrayal of Eva Peron, the clear opposite of the scantily clad Madonna of Human Nature.
The song itself remains one of the most peculiar entries in Madonna's canon. The dramatic and sad, but empowering lyrics were relatively rare for Madonna herself, but are templates for divas who regularly exercise vocal acrobatics.
The production ends up being middle-on-the-road and arguably Madonna's safest ever, helmed by adult contemporary mastermind David Foster, who by that time had already gone more experimental with the likes of "Earth Song" by Michael Jackson or "To Love You More" by Celine Dion and was responsible for the arrangement of one of the biggest hits of the decade at that point, Celine Dion's cover of "The Power Of Love".
On the positive side, Madonna's voice soars in the track and is easily her biggest vocal performance of the first twelve years of her career. Perhaps it was meant to reassure those who doubted she'd not be able to pull off the showstopper Don't Cry For Me Argentina?
Reception of the single continued its ambivalent nature. In the US, while a pretty decent sized hit, it failed to fully capitalize on the success of Take A Bow and just barely stood ground in the top 10 during the massively female-dominated holiday season of 1995. In Europe things fared better, after Madonna's continuous decline in the old continent post-1990 this single showed promise and remains one of the very few 90s Madonna songs to still get some recurrent airplay.
The UK got the biggest push where Madonna performed on a British tv show for the first time since she hit megastar status (earlier that year she took her first UK award show spot). After the #11 debut, Madonna lipsynched the song on now-defunct Top Of The Pops (showcasing yet another breathtaking look), which helped You'll See to climb to the Top 10, eventually peaking at #5 and becoming one of Madonna's bigger selling UK singles of the 90s, outselling all her hits between Vogue & Don't Cry For Me Argentina.
Interestingly, the single release itself is also among Madonna's weirdly-handed projects (has the honor of being one of the very few Madonna singles without her likeness on the cover as well). In the UK the single came out even before the video premiered (something that had already happened with Bedtime Story, most likely the promotional appearances were used to counter the lack of video), but in the US it came out weeks after its parent album, the ballad-compilation Something To Remember hit the stores (possibly due to Marvin Gaye cover I Want You cancelled as a single).
The namesake album of our anniversary column ended up as a success too, equaling the 3x Platinum certification of Bedtime Stories, outselling Erotica on the back of one Top 40 hit and proving to be a remarkable catalog seller for several years. It was not a simple greatest ballad hits compilation however, since it featured album tracks like Forbidden Love and underperforming single Oh Father, alongside massive soundtrack hits This Used To Be My Playground & I'll Remember.
The You'll See single release aimed to be an appetizer for the Madonna ballad-overload: the UK edition featured 1993's Rain while the US version, paired up with a re-sung You'll See in Spanish, included the 1987 live version of Live To Tell. Something To Remember would later yield a couple of more territory-dependant singles like the rediscovered Love Don't Live Here Anymore that all failed to make any impact.
On top of all that, You'll See has the honor of being the only non-permanent setlist change Madonna has ever employed on a tour. In 2001, You'll See replaced Gone in the cowgirl-themed segment of the Drowned World Tour on 13 US dates on the East Coast (5 cities: Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Miami & Atlanta).
The arrangement kept it very basic and Madonna gave a remarkable vocal performance. The reason behind this change is unclear, perhaps Madonna wanted to add one more older hit for her first major US tour in a decade, but eventually preferred the original choice of Gone.
It has not been performed live ever since, but fans have been speculating that a revisit on her next tour has very a strong possibility: YouTube phenomenon Susan Boyle covered You'll See on her debut album I Dreamed A Dream, that became 2009's biggest selling album by a landslide (which suggests Madonna got a healthy check as well due to royalties) and led to a rediscovery of the track.
Chances are hindered by the fact that You'll See was snubbed from both of Madonna's greatest compilations: first from 2001's GHV2 (while the provisional tracklist did include the track, at the time they probably left it out to make sure Something To Remember still had a catalog life) and 2009's Celebration (where ballads were kept to a bare minimum). The video seemed to be following this fate after its strange exclusion from Video Collection 93:99 but it did end up being one of the 47 videos selected for the double-disc Celebration Video Collection.