Both Madonna and U2 have albums planned for late this year and we hear that Universal is considering releasing them as a “surprise,” just as Beyonce did in 2013. Our source from Universal says it's a lot more likely to happen with U2 than it is with Madonna. However, Universal is looking for ways to market Madonna's next album, under the working title of Rebel Heart, in different ways.
“So far, Universal is incredibly pleased with what has been presented by Madonna. This is not another MDNA with generic EDM songs. She is not straying away from her dance roots, but is giving the music a little “folk” twist,” our source says. However, Universal has some concerns. “It happened with Madonna and MDNA . It happened with Lady Gaga and ARTPOP. It happened with Britney Spears and her latest release. People are out to destroy the album before it even comes out. We liked the way Beyonce worked around that and hopefully, we'll come up with something different for Madonna as well,” our source continues.
U2 haven't released an album since No Line on the Horizon and the reception wasn't too great. However, given the success of U2′s most recent tour, none of that mattered. But our source says they still want to market U2 in different ways as well. U2 doesn't face the same automatic backlash that Madonna does, but there are still people who want them to fail.
“There is overwhelming support in the industry for U2′s new album,” our source says. “If the cards are played right, U2 will have their most successful album in years. The promotion for this album will be a little different,” he continues. We can comfortably tell you that despite recent reports, U2 fans will definitely get an album this year.
Madonna is getting back into the director's chair. The performer, who last directed 2011's stylish period romance W.E. , is attached to direct Ade: A Love Story, an adaptation of the debut novel by Rebecca Walker.
Bruce Cohen is producing the indie adaptation via his Bruce Cohen Productions. Jessica Leventhal, the company's director of development, and Walker also are producing.
Walker, the daughter of The Color Purple author Alice Walker and civil rights lawyer Mel Leventhal, wrote about growing up interracial and with mixed religions in her memoir Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self.
In her debut novel, published October 2013, Walker creates a narrator similar to herself (the mother is Christian while the father is Jewish). The story centers on a 19-year-old American student traveling with a feminist companion in Africa who falls in love with a young Muslim man on an island off the coast of Kenya. Their hastily made plans to marry, however, get blown away by cultural and political forces.
Although very much a love story, many of the themes and subjects in Ade are those Madonna has touched upon in envelope-pushing ways at the height of her music career. Sex, religion, race, lesbianism all figure into the story one way or another. Already a fan of the book, Madonna also provided a blurb that appeared in promotional materials.
CAA is arranging financing. Madonna and the producers on the hunt for a screenwriter to adapt the book.
Cohen was a producer on Silver Linings Playbook and is working on adapting the graphic novel The Fifth Beatle.
Madonna, repped by CAA, also directed the 2008 comedy Filth and Wisdom. The Weinstein Company released W.E ., which, despite curiosity, only grossed $583,000 at the domestic box office.
Madonna is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment. Walker is repped by UTA, Anderson Literary Management, and Shep Rosenman at Katz Golden Rosenman.
In the past few days, Madonna has posted several Instagrams using the hashtag #rebelheart (one of them showing off her unshaved armpit). One of the pictures, has the words "Rebel Heart" written on it, accompanied with a comment that seems to be part of song lyrics. Could Madonna be hinting at one of the new songs she's been recording for her new album?
The supposed lyrics go:
"Day turns into night. I won't give up the fight. Don't want to get to the end of my days.......... saying I Wasn't amazed!"
Sometimes the hashtag is written in plural (#rebelhearts), so if it really is a new song title, we're not sure whether it's in singural (Rebel Heart) or plural form (Rebel Hearts)...
Mention the name Patrick Leonard to a Madonna fan, and their ears should immediately perk up. After all, it was Leonard who co-wrote and/or co-produced many of Madonna's classic hit singles like Live to Tell, Open Your Heart, Frozen and Like A Prayer.
The latter cut was the lead single and title track from Madonna's 1989 album, which now celebrates its 25th anniversary. It was released by Sire/Warner Bros. Records on March 21, 1989, and shot to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 shortly thereafter. It spent six weeks atop the chart -- her longest run at No. 1 for any album.
To celebrate a quarter century of Like A Prayer, Billboard spoke to Leonard -- the primary co-writer and co-producer of the set -- to discuss the making of the album and his recollections of working with Madonna. (Would you believe Like A Prayer was written in one day? And the entire album was written in less than two weeks?)
In our lengthy chat, we discuss everything from where Prince pops up on the album (it might surprise you), to Leonard's all-time favorite song they did together. Not to mention those rumors that he's working with Madonna on her next album.
In addition to his partnership with Madonna, Leonard has worked with many other artists, including Jewel, Elton John and Roger Waters. He's currently working with Leonard Cohen on his upcoming album.
Billboard: When you were working with Madonna on the album, you had already worked with her on True Blue and Who's That Girl, and you had worked with her on tour as the musical director for the Virgin Tour and the Who's That Girl Tour. What was it about your working relationship that made it so successful? Clearly there was something very special between the two of you. Is there something tangible that you can actually name?
Patrick Leonard: The one thing would be that, in terms of musical spirits, like any good collaboration, we're sort of on opposite ends of the spectrum, in terms of our approach to music.
I started playing the piano when I was three-years old, and studied music my whole life. It's my language. And for her, it's much more just about creativity, and a natural gift, what the impulse says is right.
So, that thing of, almost opposites makes nice chemistry. And it always did with us, because I could write something somewhat complicated and and somewhat complex -- certainly especially in the pop realm -- and she would respond collaboratively with something that anchored it in something very simple and central.
And when I say simple, I don't mean stupid. I mean just not complicated. You know, simple in that beautiful way that when something is really simple, it's not easy to do something simple... When you look at most well-known collaborations over the decades of music that we're familiar with, they're always opposite types of people that are doing the best work. David Gilmour and Roger Waters. John Lennon and Paul McCartney. And I'm certainly not comparing Madonna and I to those people, but you know what I mean.
The other thing is that we're both from Michigan. We're both people that grew up in a place where it's 30 below zero a good part of the year and blue collar work ethics apply to everything. I still am a blue collar work ethic type of person, and so is she. So we shut up and we did the work. We had this creative chemistry, and then there was no futzing around. There was no question about what the job was.
Speaking of chemistry, there's been a lot of rumors that you guys are going to work together on her next album. Is that even remotely true?
I've gotten a bunch of people who have forwarded me a bunch of those emails (saying that they've) seen us in restaurants together. None of it's true.
Leonard co-wrote and co-produced the bulk of the Like a Prayer album with Madonna, including hits like Cherish and Oh Father. Of the album's 11 songs, Leonard co-created eight of them with the diva. The set has gone on to sell four million copies in the U.S., according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
You've said before that Like a Prayer was the first song that was written for the album. When you guys finished that song, or at least had it at some sort of stage where it seemed like it was finished, did know that you had something special?
I think there was a point when we realized that it was the title track, and the lead track, and it was going to a powerhouse. It became obvious that there was something unique about it. And that somehow we made this thing work: with its stopping and starting, and a minimalistic rhythmic thing, and the verses, and these bombastic choruses, and this giant choir comes in. This is ambitious, you know?!
Of the songs I've worked on in the studio -- which is in the thousands -- there is something different when you write something and you just have a sense that you can't break this, you can't really ruin this. It exists already. And that used to be what made a hit song.
I'm assuming you watched the Super Bowl when she performed Like a Prayer?
No, I actually didn't... I heard it was really cool! I think I might have seen a YouTube video or something of it afterward. You know, just to hear the song is really cool and to know that she's still doing the songs -- some of the songs that we wrote together -- makes me happy. A lot of people were like all the rage about that -- that she did that song. I'm just happy she's still doing it. I think it's great.
The Like a Prayer album proved to be very successful, spawning five top 20 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart: the title track (peaking at No. 1), Express Yourself (No. 2), Cherish (No. 2), Oh Father (No. 20) and Keep It Together (No. 8).
Were there songs recorded for the album that the two of you worked on that eventually were just shelved or haven't been released?
I think there was one, but I'm not sure what it was a remnant of. It might have been a remnant of Who's That Girl or of I'm Breathless. There was ever only one song, and it got released as a b-side, and I don't remember what it was called, even. I don't think it was Like a Prayer-era. [Note: Leonard may be referring to the Cherish b-side, Supernatural.] My recollection is that we just wrote the songs that were going on the record and that was it. I mean, those songs were written one a day -- that's it. A few hours and they were done.
Prince turns up on the album, obviously, on Love Song, the song he and Madonna did together. I've read that his guitar work is on Keep It Together somewhere.
What I know is that his guitar work is on, when you start Like a Prayer, the guitar that you hear before the door slams…
The distorted guitar?
That's Prince. What happened is, [Madonna] sent him something to play on and he played on it and sent it back. And we didn't feel that what he did served it. But that piece, that beginning, is him.
Recently, I listened to [the song Like a Prayer] -- I hadn't heard it years. There's a heavy rock guitar that's in the bridges -- I don't think it's Prince. There's a heavy guitar in the choruses and when I heard it, I thought: "Did we use his guitar in those bridges?" Because the sound is similar to the first sound [in the opening], but it's not exactly the same... But I know for a fact that we did use that [Prince] thing as the intro, because we just thought it was crazy and really cool. I seem to recall that that's all we used, but I could be wrong.
With Oh Father, were you surprised that song was chosen to be a single? That was a pretty bold move for her because it was such a slow, heavy song to come out as a big pop commercial single from her at the time.
My favorite thing that we ever recorded, ever -- or wrote -- is Oh Father. That to me is the best thing we ever did. So, it didn't surprise me because we knew when we did it, that there was something about this that was in a way kind of the most *real* thing.
[For] that song, the 'record' button was only pressed three times. It was pressed to do the track, live, with her singing live. Then we did the orchestra. And then we did a double of her vocal when we were mixing. That's it. So it's real. It's something that I really wanted to do and she was kind enough to say "let's try this," and it was not easy.
There's two or three guitar players playing. I'm playing keyboards. Jai Winding was playing keyboards. There was a percussionist and a drummer -- and she's singing -- all at the same time.
These days, people go "wow, that seems crazy." Those days it wasn't uncommon for everybody to be playing together even though you're not a band. But it was one of those things where the arrangement was tricky enough, that it really took some working out to get it all right.
Even all those weird synth overdubs and things -- all those things were being done live. We worked out all the parts, had all the sounds. I remember that we cut it live, and then put the orchestra on. You're not doubling the orchestra, so it's one pass for the orchestra.
When I say [the 'record' button was] pressed three times, it might have gotten pressed 10 [times] that day, but it was ultimately one that stayed there. If you see what I'm saying. When we were mixing it, [mixer] Bill Bottrell suggested that we double the choruses. I remember even being a little upset about it (Laughs). Like, look, "we've got an amazing record that we only pressed the record button twice -- can't we leave it?" He said, "three isn't exactly shameful." We doubled the lead vocal on the choruses, and that was it.
The whole album sounded so "live" with real instruments. It didn't sound computery or programmy, and I think that was surprising to a lot of people. Was there a focus to make it have more of a "live" sound?
I've always had that agenda, at least it was then. I've actually kind of cooled on it a bit, because I'm not sure it matters that much when people don't actually understand A) what they're listening to or B) even how to play in an ensemble unless they're 60-years old like I am. It's not something people really do very well anymore.
It was one of those things I was always on my soap box saying "let's get real musicians in." And I think also that we had done the tour or even a couple tours I think at that point, and I was musical director on those tours, so we had the experience of working with live players. We had a couple players that were part of the flock that we knew we could bring in, and my studio is very well set up. It wasn't in any way painful. It was fun and easy.
It was kind of a process of getting the songs written, and the demos recorded, which was just you know, me, by myself making the demos and her singing. And then replacing the drum machines and the percussion with real people and getting background singers in and having guitar players come in and do parts. Most of the bass on the record is synth-based. Most of it is me playing bass. But on a couple things, there's bass players added. Like Like a Prayer's Guy Pratt and me. I think Express Yourself is Randy Jackson playing bass.
Was there something unique or special about including backup singers Donna De Lory and Niki Haris on the album? They also had worked with Madonna a lot on her previous tours. Was there something special about their sound that blended well with hers?
Yeah, it was. When we were putting the [Who's That Girl] tour together, I found Donna [because she] sang the demo for Open Your Heart and that's how her voice came to me. She sounded similar to Madonna, so, well, let's get her in to sing something, because it's going to blend really nice.
And Niki was somebody that someone recommended. She might have even just auditioned cold, I really don't recall. But they were chosen from many many many people. And we worked on the road together. It was just natural.
Dear Jessie was inspired by your daughter, Jessie, who was a toddler at the time. What does your daughter think of the song now?
They hung out a bit, and she remembers a lot of that, even though she was very little. It wasn't arbitrary -- it was like they were kind of buddies. Jessie was on tour with us when she was just a baby. We have a lot of photos of them together in the studio. My daughter is 28 now and she's actually working for me as a writer and she's just an amazing human being.
I think Jessie feels like that's an interesting thing that she has out there, but I don't think she considers it her legacy (laughs).
No, no, I didn't mean it like that! It's kind of a fun curiosity to have this song that was written about and inspired by you.
Every once in a while it comes up. Somebody will send her something, or say, "You're the Jessie?" And she thinks it's funny. It's sweet. It was really sweet of Madonna to do that. Even that little video that they used -- that animated video in the U.K. -- was an animation based on a photo of Jessie. It doesn't look anything like Jessie to me. But they wanted a photo of her for the video.
When you and Madonna worked together, she would mostly do the lyrics and you would bring in the music. Was there overlap where you would suggest ideas for different lyrics, or she would suggest a change in the music?
To my recollection‚ the norm was that I would go in the morning -- you know, I'd get to the studio very early, 8 o'clock, 7 o'clock sometimes. I had a gym in the studio, I used to work out there. So by 8 o'clock or so, I was working. I like to start really early in the day. She would come in about 11 and I would have the musical idea on whatever piece of gear I was using. I think it was just a Yamaha sequencer or something at the time. Or we might have been up like to an MPC 60 or something like that.
I would just put the track, the chord changes, some kind of drum beat, bass line -- something simple -- and say, "here's the idea, here's what I have for the day." She would listen, then we would talk a little bit. Oftentimes I'd say, "here's the verse, and here's the chorus," and she'd say, "no, it's the other way around, switch 'em." So I'd switch 'em. This thing is an hour old, it's not etched in stone.
Then she would just start writing. She'd start writing lyrics and oftentimes there was an implied melody. She would start with that and deviate from it. Or if there was nothing but a chord change, she'd make up a melody. But, a lot of the time in my writing there's a melody implied or I even have something in mind. But she certainly doesn't need that.
She would write the lyrics in an hour, the same amount of time it took me to write the music (laughs). And then she'd sing it. We'd do some harmonies, she'd sing some harmony parts, and usually by three or four in the afternoon, she was gone.
That's how Like a Prayer was written, and then the next day we wrote Cherish, and then the next day we wrote Dear Jessie. And that's how it was. We wrote the album in less than two weeks.
You wrote the album in less than two weeks?
Yeah. Because we wrote a song a day, and we didn't change them. And oftentimes the vocal that she did was the lead vocal, we didn't even change the lead vocal. That was it. She sang it. It was done.
We learned that from [her album] True Blue... Live to Tell's [vocal] was a demo, and so were a lot of others. It's not that they were demo vocals -- they were just never sung more than once.
I put the track together, she would sing it, and that was it. We learned from that. This idea of a ritualistic vocal session doesn't make any sense. You perform now. You know the song, perform it. And oftentimes, the energy that's there because you're in this creative space is much more pure than when you've thought about it and worked on it and practiced it in your car and all that stuff. It's like, eh, come on. Blue collar, once again. Get to work (Laughs).
What are you working on now?
I have my own media company and we're working on a lot of different projects that are interesting. Mixers of media, film and music and storytelling and novel writing -- and all kinds of different things.
I'm working with a classical pianist named Iris Hond. We're doing a project called "Sara and the Hourglass" that we've co-created. It's new classical music with a kind of a story interjected using 80-piece orchestras...
It's really fun, because it ranges from the simplistic to Rachmaninoff complexity. She's an amazing pianist. So there's this thing where kids can look up and go "wow, this girl's like in her 20s and she's amazing and what she does, and she's choosing to do this with orchestras." It's something that the classical world needs and is open for, and it's really exciting. So I'm putting quite a bit of time into that.
My day-to-day right now is that I'm in the most luxurious, lucky, gifted, human-in-the-world position in that I'm writing and making a record with Leonard Cohen every day.
You've worked with him previously, correct?
I worked on his last record. We did four songs together and it did very very well, and now I'm doing all of it. So, I'm writing with Leonard Cohen. (Laughs.)
And when might we expect that album?
I don't know, but we're working very quickly. I think that it should be done in the next relatively quick period of time, the next couple months, it will be finished. And I think it will come right out.
Patrick Leonard would continue to work with Madonna after Like a Prayer. He co-produced the bulk of her 1990 I'm Breathless album (including the cheeky top 10 Hot 100 single Hanky Panky) and co-wrote and co-produced her No. 2 smash I'll Remember in 1994. He later worked with Madonna on her 1998 album Ray Of Light, including the No. 2 single Frozen and the top 20 hit The Power of Good-bye. He most recently collaborated with Madonna in 2008. He composed the music for her documentary film "I Am Because We Are."
Would you like to work with Madonna again?
I would love to, because it's always really musically satisfying. We've done some things -- little things -- over the years. But the record-making/sitting down and writing songs together, we haven't done it in ages.
There was a musical play that she was considering and we got together and worked on some music, and we wrote a couple songs from scratch. And there was one ballad, and I remember the day we did it.
I had written the music and she wrote the lyrics and went in and sang it. And she came out of the booth and we both kind of looked at each other and she said, "You know, I think some things never change." It was just an immediately great song.
You know, my music, her words, her voice. There's a chemistry that's really cool. I would love to [work with her]. But I also deeply respect her trajectory, and we're on very different trajectories. I'm very happy right now working with my monk (Cohen). With this beautiful old monk who's just probably the greatest poet on earth. Makes me really happy.
In a new Instagram, Madonna is seen posing in Armani in front of a black screen. In her comment, she reveals that the new photoshoot in for l'Uomo Vogue. No other details are mentioned.
Working Armani For. L'Uomo Vogue! #artforfreedom
To celebrate its 25th anniversary on March 21, here's Billboard's track-by-track look back at Madonna's classic studio album, 1989's Like A Prayer.
By early 1989, the world had come to know Madonna as a dance-pop provocateur with quirky-sexy style. She was the biggest female celebrity on the planet, and yet for all her fame, few realized just how much pain and self-doubt this soon-to-be-divorced 30-year-old lapsed Catholic from Detroit was carting around. With “Like a Prayer,” that would all change.
Recorded amid the dissolution of her marriage to actor Sean Penn, “Like a Prayer” was Madonna's most introspective and eclectic album to date. Unlike the three that came before, it blended classic psychedelic rock with then-current synth-pop sounds. And now, a quarter-century after its March 21, 1989 release, it doesn't sound a bit dated. Lyrically, it's about growing up, moving on from bad romance, and getting right with God and family. At least two of the songs center on the death of Madonna's mother, a childhood trauma that had a strong part in making the singer who she is.
Before “Like a Prayer” was even released, Madonna made it clear this wouldn't be just another album. Three weeks before the release, she debuted the video for the title track, the first of five top 20 Hot 100 singles spawned from the album. Featuring depictions of murder, interracial love, and cross burnings, the clip juxtaposed notions of religious and sexual ecstasy, leaving some folks puzzled and just about everyone talking. Catholics denounced her; Pepsi dropped ads featuring her (and ended plans to sponsor her tour). Fans, of course, ate it up.
Controversy aside, “Like a Prayer” is among Madonna's finest moments, and over the next 10 tracks, its namesake album never lets up. It's funky, poignant, and even a little kooky. And while Madonna is the quintessential singles artist, this chart-topping LP stands as one of her most fully realized collection of songs. Read on for our classic track-by-track review.
Like a Prayer
What a way to start an album. First, distorted guitars and a heavy thud. From there, a pop-gospel workout that's as enigmatic as it is invigorating. It's “Thriller” meets Catholic mysticism, and "Like A Prayer" works just as well without its vivid video. No wonder it shot to No. 1 on the Hot 100 a month after its release.
The party moves from the church to Madonna's posh high-rise, where she looks at her jewels and satin sheets and decides she'd rather have a man who's in touch with his feelings. It's her brassy, funky version of “Can't Buy Me Love,” and it climbed all the way to No. 2 on the Hot 100.
This collab between Madonna and Prince is the ‘80s-pop equivalent of Wonder Woman teaming up with Batman. Given the star power, the track feels a touch slight, and as Prince's signature scratchy disco guitar breaks through Madonna's synths, the divergent musical sensibilities make like the lovers in the lyrics—they don't quite connect.
Till Death Do Us Part
As her tumultuous marriage to actor Sean Penn comes to an end, Madonna reflects on the well-publicized fights—“He starts to scream / the vases fly”—and emotional distance that doomed the couple. The skittering guitar or keyboard part creates a frazzled feel that contrasts nicely with Madonna's assured vocals.
Promise to Try
Seemingly a straightforward song about the death of Madonna's mother, this piano ballad is actually rather complex. She's singing to her devastated five-year-old self, and in addition to offering some advice for coping—“Don't you forget her face”—she asks for forgiveness. She knows she's made mistakes, and she fears she's let her mother and herself down.
A welcome reprieve after “Promise to Try,” the album's third single is a frolicking pop confection about true love. The only conceivable reason this thing didn't quite make it to No. 1: America likes its Madonna a little edgier.
This playful psych-pop fantasia could have come from Prince's “Around the World In a Day” album, though the Purple One had nothing to do with it. Madonna wrote and produced it with Patrick Leonard, whose young daughter was the inspiration. Listening back, it's obvious Madonna was destined for motherhood.
A companion of sorts to “Promise to Try,” this song about Madonna's strained relationship with her father leaves little to the imagination. As a child, she felt betrayed by his decision to remarry, and in a 1989 sit-down with Interview magazine, she traced her rebellious, independent spirit back to the sinking feeling her lone surviving parent had been “taken away” by her stepmother. Though it's hardly a feel-good track, it resonated with listeners and reached No. 20.
Keep It Together
As the preceding eight tracks attest, Madonna had some familial issues. But on this mid-tempo synth-funk tune, she offers an olive branch to her estranged father and siblings, insisting that blood “is thicker than any circumstance.” A No. 8 hit in March 1990, “Keep It Together” is a tense groover.
This Latin-flavored guitar ballad is either about AIDS or gang violence, and the ambiguity—a topic of debate among fans to this day—shows just how far Madonna had come since “Everybody” and “Borderline.”
Act of Contrition
Having spent the previous 10 tracks digging into some pretty deep emotions, Madonna takes a minute to decompress. Amid wailing guitars and backwards tape loops, she empties the contents of her head, and in the hilarious coda, she's not sure if she's confessing her sins and reserving a place in heaven or booking a room at a trendy hotel. “What do you mean it's not in the computer?” she asks, ending the record in true Madonna fashion, with a big old wink.
Madonna has launched a video commercial for her skincare product MDNA SKIN, which was developed in collaboration with MTG and launched last month in Japan. The video shows a sexy and young Madonna in a long trench coat and a cane in what seems to be her own bathroom.
The website www.mdnaskin.jp has now also been updated with information (mostly in Japanese) on the product and shop locations, as well as a concept video.
Madonna recently donned the Daenerys Targaryen look from "Game of Thrones" to celebrate Purim, posting the results on Instagram over the weekend, and the Mother of Dragons, or rather, the woman who plays her - Emilia Clarke - was impressed.
"Oh my goodness. It's insane. I thought I was asleep, I thought I was dreaming," Emilia told Access Hollywood at Tuesday night's "Game of Thrones" premiere at Lincoln Center in New York City of seeing Madonna dressed as her character.
"It's a huge moment," Emilia added. "And, damn! She looks good."
For Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth, a character that challenges female stereotypes in HBO's fantasy drama, it was a big deal.
"I got really, really excited. Madonna's always been a favorite of mine. I love her strength and her transformative nature and the idea that she might be dressing up as a brilliant character in the TV show I'm in is pretty exciting," Gwen told Access.
Actress (and singer) Carice van Houten joked that Madonna could have chosen another ensemble, namely the one worn by her character, Melisandre, the Red Priestess.
"I was like, 'Why's she not wearing the red dress, man?' No, I completely get it. It's such a great honor for my youth idol to dress up like someone that I'm working with," Carice said. "But the fact that Jack Nicholson and Snoop Dogg and Samuel L. Jackson are watching the show -- it's pretty cool too."
Kristian Nairn, who plays the one-lined character Hodor (he just says Hodor - so far!), and who is also a DJ, loved seeing Madonna as Dany.
"[I] kind of freaked out, slightly. That's kind of a sign how big 'Game of Thrones' has got," he said. "The Queen of Pop is wearing a Daenerys costume. I completely freaked out."
John Bradley (Samwell Tarly) thought it was a good example of the show's reach.
"She looks delighted, doesn't she? Look at that. Things like this are just amazing," he said. "It's when you know that you're really kind of pressing the right kind of cultural buttons."
"I'm like still getting over it," Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) told Access . "But that's amazing. I'm dying."
Alfie Allen told Access he thought it was "fabulous."
"It's crazy. It's mad and everyone's up on it," he added. "It's mental."
"Game of Thrones" Season 4 premieres April 6 at 9 PM ET/PT on HBO.
Belgian DJ Jef Martens, known as part of the duo Lazy Jay and recently as a jury member for the Belgian pre-selection of Eurosong 2014, has refused writing a song for Madonna, because he is too busy.
'I regularly work together with Madonna's label Inter-scope, hence why they asked if I was interested.
This kind of exercise brings several song writers together in a studio in Los Angeles, but you don't have any guarantee about where your song will end up, nor about whether or not you'll actually be working with Madonna in the end. [I've turned it down because] I already have concrete projects with Natasha Bedingfield and Mika.'
It seems that even the world's most talented people faced rejection before they became household names.
Letters collected by Mental Floss reveal how Madonna, Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath and even Gertrude Stein were turned away by their respective industries before making it big.
Madonna was rejected by the music producer behind Dirty Dancing's soundtrack the year before she debuted her first album, meanwhile The Museum of Modern Art turned away Warhol in 1956, and in 1962 Sylvia Plath was dismissed by the New Yorker.
While there is no date on a rejection letter sent to Madonna's team, it was clearly before she signed with Sire Records in 1982, a year before she released her first, self-titled album (which has sold more than ten million copies worldwide).
The letter is from music producer Jerermy Ienner, who is responsible for the music in films such as Dirty Dancing, Sister Act and White Men Can't Jump.
Mr Ienner felt that Madonna 'was not ready yet' to have a full album produced and that he would 'pass for now'.
~ The songs mentioned in the rejection letter are from the recordings of Madonna's pre-fame band Emmy.
So, Madonna , can you help a sista out or what?
Rapper M.I.A. (real name Mathangi Arulpragasam ) continues to be in a legal battle with the NFL over her impromptu gesture of flipping the bird during the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show alongside Madonna during their performance of "Give Me All Your Luvin'."
While initially seeking $1.5 million , claiming the act allegedly breached her performance contract and harmed the NFL's reputation, the National Football League is now demanding $16.6 million (!) from the English-Sri Lankan artist for her act performed nearly two years ago.
That's when she turned to her pal Madge for some help.
The celeb jokingly tweeted, " @madonna ummm ..... can i borrow 16 million ?" (Madonna hasn't responded and chances are she's not going to back her up .)
Since the first filing back in September, the NFL has added an additional claim, seeking $15.1 million more in "restitution" for the short time she was on the screen. The figure is based on what advertisers would have paid for ads during this time. "The claim for restitution lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic," according to her response papers filed on Friday and obtained by E! News.
The celeb's response continues to tell the arbitrator that the "continued pursuit of this proceeding is transparently an exercise by the NFL intended solely to bully and make an example of Respondents for daring to challenge NFL."
M.I.A. also states in the papers that her performance pales in comparison to Michael Jackson's 1993 Super Bowl show when he "repeatedly grabbed or fondled his genitalia especially while he sang ‘Billie Jean'" and also does not compare to Prince's 2007 Super Bowl Halftime show when he caressed the neck of his guitar "as if stroking an erect oversized phallus."
Additionally, M.I.A. has shared a document with her Twitter followers writing, "THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT ME TO SIGN , THAT IVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR 2 YEARS ON TOP OF 16 MILLION."
In September, the musician released a YouTube video accusing the league of "massive corporation d--k shaking" for demanding $1.5 million from her for giving the one-finger salute.
The "Born Free" rapper argued that if people zoom out from the photo of her and her middle finger, they'll find at least 10 to 15 African-American cheerleaders under the age of 16 that the Material Girl recruited from a local Indianapolis high school who struck very sexually provocative poses.
"So now [the NFL is] scapegoating me into figuring out the goal posts on what is offensive in America," said the 38-year-old hitmaker. "Like, is my finger offensive or is an underage black girl with her legs wide open more offensive to the family audience?"
She continued, "They want me on my knees and say sorry so they can slap me on my wrists. And basically say it's okay for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female than to display female empowerment through being punk rock. That is what it boils down to, and I'm being sued for it."
Now that Madonna has confirmed that she's working onher new record, the first rumours are circulating the Internet. Here's some stuff we picked up on MadonnaNation. Nothing official yet.
As per M's own Instagram photos, her "Viking harem" also includes Vincent Pontare , Salem Al Fakir and Magnus "Filthy" Lidehäll , who are all well-respected, award-winning songwriters (Vincent and Salem are also successful singers in their own right).
Music magazine Gaffa has reported that Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub are on board, too. According to Gaffa, Madonna's Swedish songwriting team was put together by Avicii's manager, Ash Pournouri, as per Madonna's request.
And another one:
According to Polish radio station Eska, a new Madonna single will be released in summer, produced by Avicii.
Madonna will work with Fred Ball. He worked with KT Tunstall, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, JLS, M.I.A., Daley, Bernhoft, Kylie , Brett Anderson and Little Mix.
Jean Baptiste (songwriter of Gang Bang, I'm A Sinner and Love Spent) will also work with Madonna. He posted a pic of himself and David Guetta on Facebook.
M is trying ideas with London-based, Norwegian producer Fred Ball at the moment, and they have booked studio time together in April. He has already given M some beats that she is writing lyrics to now, apparently.
If you're a huge fan of 1980s pop music and have a soft spot for the Mother of Dragons, we have a photo for you.
Madonna dressed up as Game of Thrones heroine Daenerys Targaryen to celebrate the Jewish holiday Purim.
The 55-year-old entertainer posted the results on Instagram on Saturday with the caption: “Happy Purim!!!!! All Hail All Queens! ##certainty.” Madonna, already no stranger to corsets, wore a platinum-blond wig and added toy dragons to each shoulder.
The annual festival of Purim commemorates “the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman's plot to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews.” Madonna was raised Roman Catholic, then converted to Judaism-based Kabbalah in the late 1990s. She dresses up and goes to the Kabbalah Center every year for the holiday. Methods of Purim celebration include exchanging gifts, donating to charity, celebrating with a meal and, yes, wearing costumes.
Given that Daenerys has been traveling to desert cities and freeing oppressed people on the HBO show, one could argue that the costume is more thematically on target than most. Game of Thrones returns for its fourth season on April 6.
Madonna has finished a full week of studio work with Swedish DJ Avicii and is enthousiastic about the results so far. Earlier today she took to Instagram and Facebook with a selfie of Avicii and herself, adding:
The End of a long week with Viking Leader AKA DJ Virgo AKA Avicii! So many great songs! #icantwait #revolution
It was followed by another picture, which included 3 other musicians, and herself with an acoustic guitar:
My Viking Harem! Great Music Great Vibes! We were grinding on that. Wood! #rebelheart
Today, Madonna confirmed she's working in the studio with Avicii.
She posted an Instagram, wearing the same diamong headband from the Oscar party, commenting: "Doing some house work before heading to the studio with Avicci! #artforfreedom #clean"
Though she didn't give any other details, we can assume they are working on her next album. Rumours of an Avicii collaboration were already circulating online in the past few weeks.
She better learn how to write his name correctly though ;-)
Madonna is forever living in a material world. The pop star wore 1,000 carats of diamonds at her Oscars after party on Sunday, Mar. 2, Neil Lane announced Monday morning.
The 55-year-old singer posted an Instagram photo of herself from Sunday night's festivities, rocking a cherry red gown and matching lipstick, draped in jewels from head-to-toe. "The Oscar goes to Party ## 7!!!!! #revolutionoflove," she wrote in the caption.
The press release announced Madonna wore 1,000 carats of diamonds up the wrist and on her ears, including diamond and platinum bracelets and earrings. In addition to the Neil Lane jewels, the blonde superstar adorned her eye-catching gown with even more jewels. Leaning against a wall in her pic, Madonna flashes the camera an intense gaze as she wears a crystal-coated headchain by Johanna Johnson and diamond-covered cross necklace around her neck.
To put Madonna's 1,000-carat diamonds into proper perspective: Oscar presenter Anne Hathaway, who looked gorgeous at the Dolby Theatre wearing a black silk crepe Gucci column gown, paired her outfit with 100-carats of diamond and platinum bracelets by Neil Lane. The total cost of Hathaway's jewels amounted to a cool $1 million.
Best Supporting Actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence, who stunned in an elaborate rock crystal diamond and platinum necklace, also wore 100-carats of diamonds that were worth $2 million.
The Material Girl once again hosted her annual private Oscars after party at manager Guy Oseary 's mansion. The Gucci-sponsored event lures in top celebs annually with the promise of luxury brand goods from the Italian fashion house and plenty of booze.
A source tells Us that security detail was tight at the coveted after party. "There was tons of security and tons of staff checking people in," the insider adds. Paparazzi is not allowed inside with the promise of privacy for famous guests attending the event.
Madonna's annual post-Oscars party was the place to be after Sunday night's show.
The bash, held at her pal Guy Oseary's Los Angeles home, went on until 4 a.m. Celebrities were "wall to wall," a guest tells PEOPLE. "Everyone was dancing, mingling and eating."
Academy Award winners past and present let loose and dined on dishes such as Caesar salad, penne pasta with red sauce, rice and chicken in a curry sauce and potato knishes, served buffet style.
Best Actor winner Matthew McConaughey and his wife Camila were inseparable.
Julia Roberts and husband Danny Moder "were lovey dovey together," the partygoer adds, explaining that by the time Roberts arrived, she had ditched her Givenchy gown and "took all her glam off."
The show's host Ellen DeGeneres, and wife Portia de Rossi were relaxed and "just hanging out," says the guest, while Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem showed off pictures of their 7-month-old daughter Luna to friends.
It was also a destination for other A-list couples like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, newly engaged Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Toni Garrn, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult, and Nicole Richie and Joel Madden.
Even Madonna's ex, Sean Penn, popped into the party with girlfriend Charlize Theron. The new couple were "hugging and very sweet together," says the source.
Also among the revelers: Bette Midler, Meryl Streep, Jamie Foxx, Miley Cyrus and Pink.
But it was Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong'o who brought the most coveted dates of the night: their 13 ½-inch-tall golden statuettes.
Madonna, whose kids also attended the party, changed her outfit at least twice and wore diamonds – lots of them: "Diamonds, diamonds and diamonds on both wrists, and a headband," says the source.↑ Back to top of page