The song "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" was an unstoppable force in pop culture in 2015.
Silentó's maniacally catchy track not only cracked YouTube's 10 most watched music videos of the year, but it also became a runaway dance phenomenon. Silentó's dance also spawned thousands of imitators who served to amplify the effect of the official video's 622 million — and counting — views. A video of toddler Heaven King dancing to it was named YouTube's most viral video of the year.
But if you think the dance's success was a happy accident for the artist, a viral hit that simply captured the imagination of the public at the right time, you're wrong. The explosion in popularity of the "Whip/Nae Nae" dance was the result of a carefully orchestrated campaign spearheaded by one particular company.
DanceOn, which counts Madonna as a cofounder, is in the business of creating viral dance hits.
CEO Amanda Taylor describes the company as a digital network that promotes the work of about 1,200 creators of dance content — she uses the term "influencers." A creator will film a dance video and DanceOn will work to get it exposure and subsequently help it bring in revenue.
Though most of its contracts have slight variations, DanceOn generally takes a percentage of an artist's revenue for services, including promotion, ad sales, and management. And DanceOn can work with a dancer on a single video or an entire catalog, depending on the situation.
But the innovative part of the company rests in how DanceOn can leverage this network to create, practically out of thin air, a worldwide dance trend.
We all know Madonna is going through a difficult period, battling her ex-husband Guy Ritchie for the custody of Rocco. Despite going strong and continuing to perform at her Rebel Heart Tour, she has referenced her struggle in her tour speeches a few times.
A few of her fans decided to show her some support and wrote a heartfelt message. And yes, M saw it and responded with a quote from Joan of Arc:
Thanks soooooo much for this! It means a lot to me! One word of. kindness it can save me! 🙏🏻. ❤️#rebelheart4ever
It's wonderful to see how, in the age of social media, fans can communicate with their idol and reciprocate the love and support.
The Panorama main program of the Berlin International Film Festival which kicks off next month, includes "Strike a Pose," a feature documentary from Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan, which makes it premiere at the Berlinale.
The story courtesy of the filmmakers: In 1990, seven young male dancers joined Madonna on her most controversial world tour - her Blond Ambition Tour. Their journey was captured in her rockumentary, "Truth or Dare." As a self-proclaimed "mother" to her six gay dancers plus straight Oliver, Madonna used the film to make a stand on gay rights and freedom of expression. The dancers became paragons of pride, inspiring people all over the world to dare to be who you are. Twenty-five years later, the dancers share their own stories about life during and after the tour. What does it really take to express yourself?
The feature documentary was selected for the 2014 IDFA Bertha Fund, formerly known as the Jan Vrijman Fund, which supports documentary filmmakers and festivals in developing countries. Its goal is to stimulate local film cultures and to turn the creative documentary into a truly global film art.
In January 1992, three of the "Blond Ambition" dancers - Oliver Crumes, Kevin Stea and Gabriel Trupin - filed a lawsuit against Madonna. The suit claimed that their privacy had been invaded during the filming of "Truth or Dare." I suppose this bit of info will be addressed in "Strike a Pose."
The "Truth or Dare" rockumentary followed Madonna on the road, behind the scenes with her "Blond Ambition" family of backup singers and dancers, and is still considered groundbreaking for it’s candid, matter-of-fact depiction of the private lives of her seven dancers, six of whom were gay.
No trailer yet. But it's a film that we'll likely be writing more about in the future, as it travels.
This year's Berlin International Film Festival runs from February 11 - 21.
Madonna heads up the weekly tally of Hot Tours, ranking No. 1 based on grosses from the final four venues of her Rebel Heart Tour's European trek during November and December.
She wrapped the 16-city fall run in Scotland on Dec. 20 at Glasgow's 13,000-seat arena, SSE Hydro. Concerts at two more U.K. venues, Manchester Arena and Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena as well as the Swiss arena Hallenstadion in Zürich led up to the fall finale. Revenue from all four sold out performances totaled $7.5 million from 47,267 sold tickets.
The Rebel Heart Tour's opening jaunts through North America and Europe amassed sold ticket revenue totaling $88 million during its 15-week span.
From 49 sold out concerts at 36 venues on both continents, overall 2015 attendance reached 669,315.
The pop star kicked off her 2016 schedule early in the year, beginning with a two-night stand in Mexico City on Jan. 6 and 7. A string of U.S. dates began on Jan. 10 in San Antonio, Texas, and continues through the end of the month. Shows in Asian markets are booked in February, and the Rebel Heart tour will wrap in March with a final swing through Australia and New Zealand.
HOT TOURS - JAN. 19, 2016
Ranked by Gross. Compiled from Boxscores reported Jan. 12-18
Total Gross: $7,553,133
Show Date Range: Dec. 12-20
Show Venue/City (Shows/Sellouts): Hallenstadion, Zurich (1/1); Manchester Arena, Manchester, U.K. (1/1); Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, U.K. (1/1); SSE Hydro, Glasgow, U.K. (1/1)
Total Attendance (Capacity): 47,267 (47,267)
Madonna has saluted David Bowie with a performance of his classic song "Rebel Rebel."
"I want to pay tribute to a man who inspired my career," she told the crowd as her Rebel Heart Tour stopped Tuesday at Houston's Toyota Arena. "If you haven't heard of David Bowie, look him up motherf---ers.
"He was one of the geniuses in the music industry, one of the greatest singer-songwriters of the 20th century and he changed my life when I went to see him in concert in Detroit. He showed me that it was ok to be different. And he's the first 'rebel heart' that I laid eyes on." She then "got the party started" with Bowie's 1974 standard.
Madonna was on hand to induct her good friend and childhood hero into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. When news reached her of Bowie's death on Jan. 10, a heartbroken Madonna shared three tweets in quick succession. In one of them, she remarked: "Talented . Unique. Genius. Game Changer. The Man who Fell to Earth. Your Spirit Lives on Forever!"
I'm devastated.David Bowie changed the course of my life forever. I never felt like I fit in growing up in Michigan....Posted by Madonna on Monday, 11 January 2016
Madonna and Sean Penn just can't stay away from each other.
The pop music queen came out tonight to support her ex-husband at his annual Golden Globes eve Help Haiti Home gala benefiting J/P Haitian Relief Organization. They posed for pictures with Madonna's kids Mercy and David before walking inside.
Once the program began, the pair was spotted sitting next to each other at a table in the center of the ballroom. When asked what brought her out tonight, Madonna told me, "Haiti."
She surprised the crowd by performing "La Vie en Rose" while strumming her ukulele. "I want to say Sean that I love you from the moment that I laid eyes on you and I still love you just the same," Madonna said.
The evening raised $7 million for J/P HRO.
Rumors have been circulating since the fall that the two may have become more than just friendly exes.
It was just last month that Madonna stated in a court declaration in support of the Oscar winner's defamation lawsuit against Lee Daniels that he never physically abused her during their famously tumultuous marriage.
"While we certainly had more than one heated argument during our marriage, Sean has never struck me, 'tied me up,' or physically assaulted me, and any report to the contrary is completely outrageous, malicious, reckless and false," the singer stated in court documents filed in New York State Supreme Court.
Penn sued Daniels for $10 million in September after the filmmaker and Empire co-creator characterized Penn as an abuser in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
In September, Penn not only took his daughter Dylan Penn to Madonna's concert at Madison Square Garden in NYC but he also introduced the two for the first time backstage after the show.
At about the same time, rumors began that sparks were flying once again between the exes, who ended their four-year marriage in 1989.
Madonna visited Penn in Haiti in November 2013.
"I don't know if I called her or if it was one time that we ran into each other but, I said, 'Would you like to come down?'" the Milk actor told me of the trip. "She said she would. She came down with her son Rocco and it was great to have them down there."
Madonna is currently in a custody battle for Rocco with her ex-husband Guy Ritchie.
Madonna will not be allowed to perform the song Holy Water at her upcoming first Singapore show at the National Stadium on Feb 28, says the Media Development Authority (MDA).
An MDA spokesperson says in a statement: "Madonna's upcoming Rebel Heart Tour concert has been rated R18 as it contains sexually suggestive content which is more suitable for adults. This is reflected in the consumer advice so that the public can make an informed choice.
"In determining the rating, MDA had carefully reviewed the proposed setlist and consulted the Arts Consultative Panel. Religiously sensitive content which breach our guidelines, such as the song Holy Water, will thus not be performed in Singapore.
"The concert organiser must comply with the terms of the license, which states that the concert should not contain content or materials which offend any race or religion, and that the performance overall must fall within the guidelines of the R18 rating."
According to a statement from Live Nation Lushington, one of the parties involved in arranging the Madonna show for Singapore, "the artiste management and tour management worked closely with MDA on providing show, video and lyric content and the suggested set list for Singapore".
The North American and European shows in Madonna's current worldwide Rebel Heart Tour include a segment in which she performs a medley of Holy Water, a song from her latest album Rebel Heart, and 1990 hit Vogue while scantily clad nuns pole-dance on cross-shaped stripper poles.
Live Nation Lushington's statement adds that the organisers acknowledged the "overtly sexually explicit" and "religious content" deemed unsuitable by MDA .
"Minor adjustments were made to ensure R18 licensing conditions could be met without compromise to the delivery of a first-rate and world-class performance."
However, the statement also stresses that the concert's setlist is not set in stone and that Madonna will have final say in how the show turns out.
"The final running order and set list for the Singapore performance will be determined by the artiste and revealed at the show itself within the set guidelines."
Besides Singapore, Madonna's other regional stops include Hong Kong, Thailand, Macau and Manila.
In 1993, the 57-year-old American singer's controversial Girlie Show World Tour was banned here when police said her performances in the tour show "border on the obscene... (and are) known to be objectionable to many on moral and religious grounds".
Last night, the 2016 award season kicked off with the People's Choice Awards, which took place live from Los Angeles' Microsoft Theater. Hosted by Glee's Jane Lynch, the fan-voted show commemorated some of the biggest names in television, film and pop music.
Madonna was honoured with the award for Favorite Music Icon. Other nominees in the same category were Paul McCartney, Prince, Steven Tyler and Stevie Wonder.
Madonna was also nominated in the category Favorite Female Artist, which was won by Taylor Swift.
Madonna didn't attend the award show as she kicked off the third leg of her Rebel Heart Tour in Mexico City.
Madonna today announced that she would perform in Singapore for the first time! Her top selling, critically acclaimed Rebel Heart Tour will make a stop at the National Stadium on Sunday, 28 February 2016. Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday, 12 January 2016 at 10AM, local time.
The Rebel Heart Tour kicked off in Montreal on 9 September and topped the Billboard Hot Tours Chart and the reviews of the performance have been raving:
TIMES OF LONDON: One of her best.
TELEGRAPH: Undeniable and infectious.
THE INDEPENDENT: This is Madonna's world, she is the Queen of it and we are all her lowly servants.
PITCHFORK: "It's nice to be reminded how refreshing it is to simply love something because it makes you feel alive."
ROLLING STONE: "Madonna spent three hours in New York proving what a goddess she is."
NEW YORK TIMES: "Unstoppable."
The Rebel Heart Tour set list spans all decades of the iconic superstar's illustrious career, including songs from her current album Rebel Heart (the No. 1 Dance hits "Living for Love" and "Bitch I'm Madonna,") to classic fan favorites like "Material Girl" and "Holiday" and a "Dress You Up" medley that includes "Into The Groove" and "Lucky Star." Fan-created artwork is featured in a video montage shown during Madonna's performance of the song "Rebel Heart," and her rendition of "La Vie En Rose", played on just a ukulele, received an overwhelming standing ovation from the audience.
The Rebel Heart Tour is directed by Jamie King with musical direction by Kevin Antunes (the band's keyboardist Ric'key Pageot, drummer Brian Frasier-Moore, guitarist Monte Pittman, and background vocalists Kiley Dean and Nicki Richards). The lead choreography is done by Megan Lawson, hair by Andy LeCompte, makeup by Aaron Henrikson, and costume design by Arianne Phillips.
Tickets for Madonna's Rebel Heart Concert in Singapore will go on sale on Tuesday, 12 January 2016, at 10AM, local time. Tickets will be available via Sports Hub Tix sales channels such as the Sports Hub Online, www.sportshubtix.sg, via their ticketing hotline 3158 7888, the National Stadium Box Office, and at all SingPost outlets. Please note that this concert is rated "R18" with the consumer advisory on "Sexual References". Only those above 18 years of age will be permitted into the venue.
Lifetime Legacy members of Icon, Madonna's official fan club, will receive first access to tickets and VIP Packages starting Thursday 7 January 2016, at 10AM through Friday, 8 January at 5PM, local time. Fans may purchase an "Icon Live Pass" today, which gives them access not only to ticket & VIP Package pre-sales, but also a free membership to Icon, the official Madonna fan club, access to a tour devoted forum and an exclusive tour gift. Fans who are already registered simply need to upgrade their account with the Icon Live Pass on Madonna.com.
Citi® card members will have access to a pre-sale opportunity in Singapore beginning Saturday, 9 January 2016 at 10AM through Sunday, 10 January at 5PM, local time.
OCBC card members will also have access to a pre-sale beginning Monday, 11 January 2016, at 10AM through 5PM, local time.
Critically acclaimed as an artist, songwriter and producer who has sold a record breaking 300 million records, Madonna's reputation as one of the most successful, provocative and enduring live performers of all time speaks for itself. The 2008/2009 Sticky & Sweet tour is the highest grossing tour of all time for a solo artist and the 2012 MDNA tour was the most successful tour of that year.↑ Back to top of page