Madonna news - Oct. 2009

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31 October - Warner Japan: Sticky & Sweet CD/DVD on December 16
Warner Music Japan has announced that the Sticky & Sweet Tour Live from Buenos Aires CD & DVD is going to be released on December 16th! Apart from the full show recorded in Argentina, the DVD will also contain 30 minutes of behind the scenes footage. (thanx to roccoc at MadonnaTribe)
UPDATE: Guy Oseary on Twitter: it will not be ready by then.. We are working on finishing it.. We will have more info soon on Stay tuned..

30 October - William Orbit reflects back on the Ray Of Light days
Ray Of Light, the singleBBC's Radio 2 Zoe Ball interviewed longtime Madonna collaborator William Orbit as part of the "Tracks of my Years" program all week. Yesterday, Zoe played the title track of Ray Of Light which he called the pinnacle of their project together, when they finally knew they possibly had something. He said they are still friends and sees her around London and LA and they exchange emails, but neither are looking back since both Madonna and William have a so much on their plates currently, so they are not thinking about working together again, but they have a lot of stuff they did which in the past that are for "a rainy day". He also repeated the story about Madonna bringing a basketball player friend to take a listen to her song, but he fell asleep during that and she was not amused. Orbit said he heard the Ray Of Light album sold 17 million copies worldwide which was " the good old days". You can listen to the interview here for the next 6 days (the Madonna part comes at just before 2:10).

29 October - Madonna promises light for Malawian village
Madonna, Lourdes, David, Mercy & Nathan Rissman in MalawiMadonna has promised electricity to a village in Malawi, the impoverished southern African country where she runs a charity organization and from which she has adopted two children.
Speaking in Mphandula, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Malawi's capital, Lilongwe, the singer said Thursday: "I know you work in darkness. I will bring you electricity."
Madonna's Raising Malawi charity already has donated $500,000 for a child care center in the village that feeds and educates 3,000 orphaned children.
Madonna arrived in Malawi on Sunday accompanied by her four children. On Monday she broke ground for her $15-million Raising Malawi Academy for Girls.
About 500,000 children in this nation of 12 million have lost a parent to AIDS. (source: AP via Yahoo)

28 October - Raising Malawi: Will you join me?
This week, my family and I are in Malawi to attend the ground breaking ceremony for Raising Malawi Academy for Girls.

I am making a straightforward request.

I'm writing to urge you to join me in saving the lives of some of the world's most vulnerable children. And I'm asking you to do it right away.

Raising Malawi, the organization I co-founded in 2006, is dedicated to ending the poverty and hardship endured by Malawi's one million orphans. By donating to Raising Malawi, you can literally transform the future for an entire generation. To encourage your involvement, I've pledged $100,000 to match your contributions dollar-for-dollar.

Why Malawi?

Seven years ago I might have asked myself this very same question. Why not Afghanistan, or India? There are impoverished children, desperate for health care and education, everywhere in the world. Something about Malawi's children connected with me and their hardships were too much for me to ignore. So I started learning more about Malawi, and, little by little, I began working with Malawians to improve their communities.

Visiting Malawi can be a very humbling experience. In the face of such overwhelming challenges, it's easy to feel helpless. At the same time, it is impossible not to recognize how much we can do to improve the lives of vulnerable children. Right now, I am particularly concerned about Malawian girls whose lives are made even more difficult simply because of their gender.

In 2008 Raising Malawi announced the creation of an all-girls boarding school, the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls. Architects have drawn up plans. We've identified a plot of land. And some of Malawi's poorest girls are eager for the opportunities that a comprehensive secondary education will bring them. But we're still in need of additional funds to complete this project, and there's no time to lose.

My own daughters will each have a solid secondary education. They have a family that assures them that they can be anything they want to be, that they are not limited in any way. I believe that the same should be true for girls in every part of the world, regardless of the circumstances of their birth. The girls of Malawi are bright and resourceful. They are eager to learn and grow. When I look at my girls and see them thriving, it is my greatest wish that the girls in Malawi will have the same chance for happiness.

This is where you come in.

Please join me in supporting the work of Raising Malawi. Every dollar we collect will make a huge difference in a child's life. By matching your donation, dollar for dollar, I will personally ensure that your contribution has an even greater impact. That's a promise.

This is my call to you: Give an opportunity to a child who would otherwise have none. Support the work of Raising Malawi.

Will you join me?

Please visit to contribute and learn more. (source: The Huffington Post)

27 October - Billboard exclusive Sticky & Sweet Tour video: Into The Groove
Millions of Madonna fans -- 3.5 million at 85 shows in 32 countries, to be exact -- were lucky enough to witness the pop star's record-breaking Sticky & Sweet Tour live before it wrapped in September. But there are still millions more who never saw the show, which until now, hasn't been broadcast for fans at home.

That will change on Friday (Oct. 30), though, when the new multi-platform channel EPIX debuts a concert from Madonna's Sticky & Sweet tour for television and online viewers. But exclusively on, you can watch one song from the special right now: Madonna performing her 1985 hit Into The Groove and showing off her impressive double dutch jump roping skills.

Video Above: An exclusive clip of Madonna performing Into The Groove in Buenos Aires. The full show will air on the EPIX television channel and on Oct. 30.

The EPIX broadcast was put together using footage of Madonna's historic four-night stand at Buenos Aires' River Plate Stadium on Dec. 4-8, 2008. In addition to being a mainstay on the Sticky & Sweet setlist, Into The Groove is featured on Madonna's new greatest hits set Celebration, which was released on Sept. 28 and debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200.

Sticky & Sweet is the top-grossing tour by a solo artist of all-time, with a total gross of $408 million according to Billboard Boxscore. That shatters a previous record of $194 million, which was grossed by none another than Madonna with her 2006 Confessions tour.

When stacked up against tours by any act -- solo or group -- the Sticky & Sweet tour comes in second only to the Rolling Stones, who grossed $558 million with their Bigger Bang tour of 2005-2007.

Madonna's Sticky & Sweet tour will also vie for Top Tour Honors at the 2009 Billboard Touring Awards on Nov. 5 in New York. The trek is up against AC/DC's Black Ice tour and U2's 360 tour. (source:

26 October - Madonna breaks ground on Malawi girls school
American pop queen Madonna broke ground Monday on a girls academy she is building in Malawi, billed as a "gift" to the country from where she has adopted two children.
Madonna breaks ground in Malawi"After seeing all the hard working Malawian women who are looking after families and communities, I realised how much they deserve to be educated," said Madonna.
The 51-year-old star cut a cake, planted a tree and turned the sod alongside her eldest daughter Lourdes, 13, at a colourful ceremony attended by about 1,000 locals on the outskirts of Malawi's administrative capital Lilongwe.
"The school will help girls from vulnerable backgrounds to move forward. They will use the principles of spirituality for kids," said the singer who is a devotee of Jewish Kabbalah mysticism.
According to a brochure for the Raising Malawi Girls Academy, the school will be a "leadership institution to prepare future women leaders" with 500 boarders including two impoverished girls from each of the country's 28 districts.
It will "focus on mathematics and science which traditionally have failed in Malawi and elsewhere", the brochure said, saying that the school would be a gift to the people of Malawi.
"The logical project was to build a school that will create future women leaders, doctors and surgeons," Madonna said.
The singer was entertained by traditional dancers and musicians, in a event attended by senior education officials and community leaders.
Malawi's minister of education, George Chiponda, presented the singer with the national flag and urged her to continue supporting the country's education system.
"When you have money I want you to come back and build us a university," said Chiponda.
"This year 5,000 students qualified for university entry but only 1,200 were admitted due to lack of space," said Chiponda.

Madonna plants a tree in MalawiThe school is modelled on a similar academy built by US television talk show host Oprah Winfrey in South Africa.
In 2006, the chart-topping musician adopted a baby boy, David Banda, who is now three-years-old.
In April, the recently divorced singer and actress came back into the country to file for the adoption of Mercy James, who was placed at an orphanage following the death of her mother.
The adoption of three-year-old Mercy was initially denied but later granted after an appeal.
Madonna is also funding several charities in the small southern African country, including homes for children with AIDS.
She has already built a multi-purpose community centre at Mphandula village, 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Lilongwe, which looks after more than 8,000 orphans from scores of villages in the area.
Malawi is one of the world's poorest nations, with more than half of the population of 12 million living on less than one dollar a day. The singer has a personal fortune estimated at several hundred million dollars.
Construction of the academy will take two years. (source: AFP via Yahoo)

26 October - Madonna to attend Raising Malawi Academy for girls ceremony
My family and I are on our way to Malawi to attend the ground breaking ceremony for Raising Malawi Academy for Girls. The ceremony will take place on Monday, October 26 at 3:00 p.m. on the future site of the Academy.
Our vision for the school is to empower girls to become Malawi's future leaders. Our goal is to teach them to challenge themselves, serve their local communities and develop their country. We created this vision in partnership with the local Malawian Ministry of Education, and other educational experts from Malawi, Sub-Sharan African and elsewhere around the world.

We are developing and using innovative educational approaches, cutting-edge architectural design methods, and other modern technologies, which we hope, will become a replicable model for girls secondary school education.
Research proves that young girls throughout the developing world are often left without opportunities to receive a comprehensive education and the benefits that education can provide.
It’s an honor for me to be able to help as many of these girls as I can achieve their dreams.
I’m also incredibly proud of all the projects Raising Malawi is involved in and I look forward to visiting a number of them during my visit. (source: Raising Malawi)

25 October - Something to remember: I'm too busy surviving
Bedtime Stories, the albumIn 2009, no Madonna fan is surprised when Madonna is reported to be spending some studio-quality time with hip hop producers. That was not the case 15 years ago, when exactly on this day, on October 25th, 1994 Madonna released her seventh studio album Bedtime Stories, helmed by Babyface, Dallas Austin Dave Hall & Nellee Hooper. Even though her earlierst records with Warner were also collaborations with black producers who drew inspiration from R&B, 1994 was the first time when Madonna jumped on the hottest urban sounds of America. Madonna carefully picked the hip hop producers whose work she most admired.

They were already famous for giving chart topping hits to TLC, Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton & Mary J. Blige. Dallas Austin at the time produced the album 'Pendulum Vibe' for his R&B songstress protege Joi that caught Madonna's ears as well. Nellee Hooper, on the other hand, got Madonna's attention for producing the brealthrough album of Icelandic superstar Björk 'Debut' that got a lot of critical acclaim. The direct result in Madonna's canon of the latter is the title track Bedtime Story that combines ethereal singing with lush electronic production in a non-conventional melody.

Thankfully, the rest of the album retains Madonna's signature catchy pop melodies, juxtaposing them with hard hip hop/new jack Secret, the singleswing beats (even including a rap by then-up and coming Maverick artist Me'Shell NdegéOcello in I'd Rather Be Your Lover) and smooth R&B grooves, just like how Madonna wanted it, along with an extensive usage of old school and more recent urban samples. Lyrically the album is a combination of some of Madonna's sweetest and most vulnerable love songs ever, such as Forbidden Love, Love Tried To Welcome Me, Sanctuary & Take A Bow (Inside Of Me fits here as well even though Madonna explicitly stated it is about her mother), and her reaction to the controversy that surrounded her in the Erotica era. The opening track Survival, is the first in a long list of Madonna songs that express the now-signature Madonna theme of never stopping and always doing her thing. More explicit on this subject is the minimalistic Human Nature, with lyrics like "Did I stay too long? Oops, I didn't know I couldn't speak my mind!". It's also the first time when Madonna started hinting back at old lyrics in new songs, combining that with actual poetry by Proust, Shakespeare, Walt Whitman and George Herbert.

While the album also brought a new look for Madonna as a platinum blonde Jean Harlow-esque mature but sexual woman which character fully blossomed in the Secret video, Madonna actually wanted to put the focus on the music and released the album without major promotion. Take A Bow, the singleOther than a couple of tv and magazine interviews, she only gave one live performance in US, UK, Germany and Italy each, all in early 1995. Which is probably why the album did not get a stellar start on the charts (stuck behind 'Murder Was The Case' soundtrack by Snoop Dogg and 'II' by Boyz II Men in the US, Bon Jovi's 'Cross Road' in the UK) and quickly started falling down, even though Secret was a hit in most countries. The downward trend was halted with the release of second single Take A Bow that stabilized sales and eventually helped Bedtime Stories to pass the sales of Erotica in the US and made it a success in Canada and Japan as well. In Europe, however, none of the singles managed to hit big and Bedtime Stories remains one of the very few eras where Madonna could not score a worldwide megahit. It still sold a respectable 6 million copies worldwide.

Unfortunately the album is also remembered for being the first Madonna album marred with commercially questionable singles choices and missed opportunities. After the massive radio success of Take A Bow, Madonna followed with the experimental Bedtime Story and the defensive Human Nature (with staggered release dates depending on territories), which decision resulted in ending Madonna's record of 32 consecutive Billboard Top 40 hits.On one hand these decisions showed Madonna's more artistic side that produced two fan favourite videos, but it still doesn't change the fact that one of Bedtime Story, the single Madonna's most commercial albums could not shine on the charts even though practically all the rest of the songs could have been good single choices, especially the lone dance track of the album, the bouncy Don't Stop that recalls then-hot girl group SWV, and the steamy Forbidden Love which is quite alike to the other famous 90s all girl formation TLC's just as sexy 'Red Light Special', that charted at #2 just after Take A Bow's long reign at the top. Forbidden Love fortunately got more attention on the ballad compilation Something To Remember released a year and two weeks after Bedtime Stories, and 10 years after that on Confessions On A Dance Floor it became the only songtitle in Madonna's catalog that got reused, coincidentally also as track #7 like on Bedtime Stories.

Bedtime Stories is also the first, and so far only album that did not get to shine on a tour. Madonna intended to tour the record but because the Evita movie project came along, such plans got cancelled. Since then unfortunately only two songs got performed live on tour, Secret & Human Nature, plus the Re-Invention Tour showcased a video interlude set to Bedtime Story.

Fun fact: Madonna thanks Erotica producer Shep Pettibone in the booklet "for being understanding", possibly referring to abandoning several songs they collaborated on before Madonna found her R&B direction. Human Nature, the singleMadonna reused bits and pieces of Shep's ideas in Secret, I'd Rather Be Your Lover & Inside Of Me that later on resulted him getting co-writing credit for those songs. A Pettibone collaboration Love Won't Wait was later given to Gary Barlow who took it to #1 in the UK, and fans got Madonna's own version as well when it leaked online earlier this decade. Also, more outtakes ended up in fans' hands: the 2003 remix EP Remixed & Revisited contains the dancy Your Honesty, the 1997 rainforest benefit Carnival! houses the minimalistic funk of Freedom and the very sexual Let Down Your Guard backs Secret on European editions of the single.

The 1994 album remains one of Madonna's most divisive albums among her fanbase, some say it's one of her least important records in her discography and it was just an attempt for her to stay hip, others think it's a catchy album with an amazingly smooth flow and its lyrics reveal a lot about Madonna than you'd think at a first glance.

24 October - Madonna planning to direct film about the Duchess of Windsor
The Queen of Pop is gearing up to direct her second film – this time about the woman who never would be queen – Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor.
"It's still in the early stages," Madonna's publicist, Liz Rosenberg tells PEOPLE about the movie, which will chronicle how King Edward VIII turned in his crown in 1936 to marry the twice-married American socialite.
The screenplay, which Madonna, 51, wrote, "is about two intermingling love stories – one with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and the other one a modern day love story," says Rosenberg.
Reports that it will be a musical like Madonna's 1996 film, Evita aren't completely true, says Rosenberg. "It's not a musical but will likely have a musical component,” she says.
Madonna, who made her directorial debut in 2008 with Filth and Wisdom, is excited about bringing one of the greatest love stories to the silver screen, says Rosenberg. "She did a lot of research on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor," she says. (source:

23 October - Living Legend Madonna: 'She has exposed her body, but not her soul' by Liz Smith
"I love Liz Smith because she has big balls, like me!"

Those were practically the very first words I ever heard, personally, out of Madonna's mouth.
I was at the 1990 New York premiere of Madonna's highly entertaining documentary, Truth or Dare. I wasn't covering it, exactly. I was there being interviewed by ABC's "Primetime Live." They were doing a segment on me. So this event was an example of one of my "glamorous nights out." And of course I was being pressed to speak to Madonna. I'd been writing about her exhaustively since 1984, so everybody assumed we were friends. In fact, I'd never clapped eyes on her. I told the ABC people, "Look, this is her premiere, I don't think she wants to be part of my publicity!" Somehow Madonna was corralled into a corner where I stood with the film crew. We exchanged hellos. Then the producer asked Madonna what she thought about me. She answered with the quote above, and we parted, laughing. (It couldn't really be used on the air.)

Early in her career, once it really got rolling, she was often compared to Marilyn Monroe, because of her witty Material Girl video, which was a tough homage and send-up of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." But Madonna was nothing like Monroe. She was in the great tradition of those grand diva-egomaniac/perfectionists Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross. And there was a lot of Mae West, that autonomous sexual revolutionary.

Madonna, like Mae, took her sex like a man, and could talk about it like a truckdriver. But unlike West, in her art — her songs, and some of her ravishing videos — Madonna channeled traditional romance like no other star. (Once, years ago, I commented on the lush, sad, Take A Bow video: "Madonna, underneath aren't you a closet romantic?" She replied, "What closet? I am very romantic. But don't ask me more.")

Madonna refined her image (gone were the rags in her hair, the belly shirts, the rubber bracelets) and re-worked her body (gone were the round curves that writhed so provocatively down the giant wedding cake at the first MTV Awards). She could not — and did not wish to — remain a teen sensation. Especially as she was an experienced full-grown woman of 25, who had more to convey than she felt, "like a virgin, touched for the very first time." (She recently laughed about that song, one of her few hits she didn't write: "I mean, how can you feel like a virgin?")

But her aim is... well, I asked her once about her desire to provoke: "I want my audiences to think I want them to make up their own minds about what I'm doing, or what I symbolize."

"But you want them to have fun, too, right?" I asked

"Of course I want them to them to have fun, and get up and dance and celebrate life. But if you celebrate life you have to be part of life that isn't fun. Like babies dying of AIDS in Africa. I shouldn't have to explain that to anybody. My audiences understand."

What came to amuse and fascinate me about Madonna as the years rolled on, was... the years rolled on! Despite constant gleeful media predictions that she was no longer "relevant" and soon to be "over," she never was. Massive articles were written on her career demise; obsessive, backhanded compliments to her power and cultural significance.

She is the Most Successful Female Rock Artist of All Time. Madonna has sold over 200 million albums, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, even today, despite the haters and critics who "don't like her new music" and "her arms give me the creeps," maintains her position as one of the most influential women in music. Not to mention the top live female concert act in the world.

And what of her age (51) and retirement, which the media wants to push her into? Madonna sighs deeply: "Oh, please! Why should there be a time limit on working or giving of yourself? Or on love and looking attractive? Or trying to give back and make a saner world? Look, work isn't everything, because if it was, I'd never have tried marriage, I never would never have had children. But one set of circumstances does not complete you. Maybe nothing ever does. So you work on your life and you work on your work and you try to live every single day like it's your last. And you try to be better, to yourself and to others. I don't always succeed. But I try and it's my goal."

And then Madonna added, "Liz, I'll retire when you do. But I think we are going to be the last gals at the rodeo!"
~ Read the rest of the article here

22 October - Madonna to lay school's foundation stone in Malawi
Pop star Madonna will visit Malawi on Sunday to lay the foundation stone of a multi-million dollar girls' school she is building, her charity Raising Malawi told Reuters.
The singer, who has adopted two children from the southern African country, is due to arrive on Sunday and attend a brick-laying ceremony in Lilongwe on Monday. The school is expected to cost about $15 million.
"She plans to meet the President Bingu wa Mutharika and together lay a foundation stone for her multi-million dollar girls school," a staffer at the charity, who declined to be named, said on Thursday.
An AIDS epidemic has left over a million children orphaned in the impoverished country of 13 million.
Malawi's government came under fire after Madonna adopted a 13-month-old boy, David Banda, in 2006, with critics accusing it of giving her special treatment by skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children.
In June this year, Malawi's Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling made in April which said Madonna could not adopt a four-year girl -- Mercy James -- because the singer was not a resident of the country.
Madonna last year divorced British film director Guy Ritchie, with whom she has a son Rocco. She also has a daughter Lourdes from her relationship with fitness trainer Carlos Leon. (source: Reuters)

21 October - Celebration vs Revolver
On her latest greatest hits album Celebration, Madonna treated fans to 2 high-energy dance floor filler tracks. One of them has a traditional club-remix sound while the other is more contemporary electro-pop. Which one do you prefer? Let us know in our latest poll!

Queen Celebration 21 October - Queen Celebration collects most iconic Madonna pictures
Sunset Media informs us about the release of the glossy picture book 'Queen Madonna'.
"This special issue shows the glorious musical career of the Queen of Pop, allowing you to (re)discover pictures that made Madonna the most celebrated female singer around the world. You'll see rare pictures and previously never seen before pictures all taken by the most alented and famous photographers. Printed on glossy paper, its format 524cm x 34cm) makes this issue a truly unique and a must have collector item for any fan of the Queen of Pop. Limited collector edition: 1.000 copies only!" Info and pre-order at Sunset Media.

21 October - Madonna gives rights to catalog for Glee episode
Are you sitting down, Gleeks? Well you might want to, because we have some exclusive Glee news that's positively Madge-ical. EW has learned that Madonna has given Glee the rights to her catalog and that an all-Madonna-music episode is in the works for early next year. The hit series has been building an audience and filling the iTunes charts with its cover songs, and Madonna's involvement is a testament to how big the show is getting. Also, an amazing Glee cover of a classic Madonna track has the potential to be even bigger than the show's blockbuster take on "Don't Stop Believin'." Quinn totally has to do Papa Don't Preach. And I can completely see Rachel tackling Material Girl.

But Madonna might not be the only pop star getting some Glee love. Co-creator Ryan Murphy tells EW that he's considering approaching American Idol runner up Adam Lambert about appearing on the show (next year, Glee will be paired with Idol on Wednesday nights). Nothing is official yet but Lambert does seem like an ideal choice for Glee.
Which Madonna song do you wanna hear Glee cover, Music Mix-ers? What would you think about Adam Lambert possibly appearing on the show?
For more on Glee, check out EW's cover story on the Fox phenomenon, on stands this Friday. (source: EW)

21 October - Madonna not the face of Dolce & Gabbana menswear
Rumours have been swirling all day that Madonna is set to be the next face of Dolce & Gabbana's menswear line, but ELLE can put an end to speculation and tell you that it's sadly not true.
While the Queen of pop's boyfriend, model Jesus Luz, is this season's face of the Italian brand, and the design duo has created costumes for the star on several occasions, it seems that Madonna is content with her role as muse rather than model. For now at least... (source: ELLE)

19 October - Even more revealing quotes from Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone magazine published more from the Madonna interview, including some crucial quotes about her career:
RS: Your onstage stamina is incredible. I particularly enjoyed Into The Groove, which you sang while jumping rope on the Sticky & Sweet Tour. How do you stay in such good shape?
Madonna: I have two different workouts. I have a show-day workout, which really just gets my body warmed up and ready, and I have off-day workouts that involve everything. The kind of training I do incorporates everything from ballet to Pilates to running relays, jumping rope, jumping on trampolines, gymnastics... using all the muscle groups I use to do the show. Keeping my cardiovascular endurance is the most important. At the beginning of the last tour I was roller-skating. Then I ended up getting off the roller skates, because I kept flying off the runway and crashing into the crash-mats.

RS: Do you cry often onstage?
Madonna: [On the Sticky & Sweet Tour] there's a moment right before I sing You Must Love Me, which is such a sad song, when I'm not linked up to time-coded video, when I take a moment to talk to the audience. On this leg of the tour, I cried when I was making a speech about the two men who worked for the scaffolding company that were building my stage in Marseilles [who died in a collapse]. I cried when I found out Michael Jackson had died.

RS: You and Michael were born in the same month, August of 1958. What was it like to witness a kid your age do what he did?
Madonna: I was madly in love with him, totally smitten. He was mind-bogglingly talented. The songs he sang were not childlike at all.

RS: When did you first meet him?
Madonna: I met him in the early Eighties, when I first started working with my manager, Freddy DeMann, who at the time was managing Michael Jackson. I saw him play at Madison Square Garden, and I was blown away. He was flawless. There was a party at the Helmsley Palace Hotel. He was very shy, but it was a thrill for me.

RS: Were you jealous of him?
Madonna: In a good way. I'd wished I'd written "Billie Jean" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." What song didn't I love?

RS: Ten years later there was talk of you recording together, and you went to the Oscars with him.
Madonna: There was a period of time when we hung out. He wanted to work with me, I think he wanted to get to know me, and I wanted to do the same. When you write with somebody, it's a weird experience, you feel vulnerable and shy. When I worked with Justin Timberlake I felt that way. To write songs together is a very intimate experience, like getting tossed into a juggernaut. "On your mark, get set, create!" You have to get past these hurdles, which are, "I want to impress this person, but will they think my ideas are stupid? What if their ideas are stupid? Can I be honest with them? Will they be offended?" You end up talking and gabbing and socializing, and you have to do that in order to get to the next level, to be creative. So that's what we were doing: watching movies, having dinner, hanging out, going to the Oscars, being silly, seeing if we could work. He got relaxed. He took off his sunglasses, had a glass of wine, I got him to laugh.

RS: You're the only other entertainer in the world who can relate to enduring that level of scrutiny. Why did it destroy him?
Madonna: All I have are my opinions, I wasn't very close to him. It's good to have a good childhood and a sense of yourself in the world before people start telling you who they think your are. Where you can make mistakes and have a sense of innocence. It gives you a sense of confidence. I don't think he started off that way. Did he have any sense of himself outside of the world of being adored and famous? It's hard to survive like that. I think he felt insecure about the attention he got, and had a love-hate relationship with his job. He didn't seem to have any close friends. And in the last decade, everybody abandoned him, or wrote him off as crazy. People have said so many things about me that aren't true, and I never once had a second thought that the accusations against him might be true. But he didn't seem to have a way to deal with that, publicly or privately, and it can destroy you. When he died, everyone was saying what a great genius he was, but it's important to appreciate things before you lose them. It's a great tragedy.

RS: Britney Spears was featured in a video clip during Human Nature in your Sticky & Sweet show. She's stuck in an elevator and starts to go crazy. Is that how you analogize what's happened in her career?
Madonna: Yes. Didn't that explain what I thought? "I'm not your bitch, don't hang your shit on me." I just think people should mind their own business and let her grow up. I think everyone goes off the deep end at one time or another, and she, like Michael Jackson, didn't really have a childhood, so there are some inherent problems in that scenario. I have a lot of compassion for her, and I hope that she can find balance in her life. I don't know how bad her meltdown was. One can't believe everything one reads.

RS: You've spoken about music as a vehicle for transcending misery. When did you first realize that music had a healing power?
Madonna: Well, everybody knows that music can lift you up and take you away and save you, and even if you're not aware or conscious of it, it's happening. I don't know anyone who hasn't said, "This song saved my life," "This song got me through a summer," "This song got me through a breakup."

RS: From the beginning, you were described as a one-hit wonder. At what point were you able to use those derisive opinions as motivation? I thought that the turning point may have been when the nude photos of you appeared in Playboy and Penthouse, and you famously said, "I'm not ashamed."
Madonna: It was something I did that was totally taken out of context, since the photos were taken when I was modeling for photography classes. It just seemed so unfair. Somebody was obviously taking advantage of the fact that I'd become famous and sold the photos. That's how I made my living when I first came to New York. I modeled for art classes: painting, photography, drawing. I was a dancer, so I could hold poses for a long time and you could see the muscles in my body. It's a perfectly respectable job. Everybody tried to make me feel ashamed, and it just seemed ludicrous. I won't say that from that point on, none of the things people said about me ever bothered my, but I was able to use them as a springboard to, as you say, motivate me. It has the opposite effect. If you say I can't do it, I'm going to do it. It's like anything in life. The more resistance we have, the heavier our weight is, the bigger our muscles grow. It's possibly the reason I still have a career. My whole career I've been met with resistance.

RS: Do you think that some of the statements you've made, or provocative things you've done, have interfered with the quality of your music?
Madonna: Possibly, but everything has happened as it should have happened. I am the sum total of everything I've said and done. I remember when I was making my documentary, I Am Because We Are, and I entered it into competition at Sundance, a woman said to me, "You have to decide whether you want to be an artist or an activist." I said, "Why can't I be both?" That's how I've always felt.

RS: In 1989, nobody mentioned that you might not want to dance and sing in front of burning crosses in your Like A Prayer video?
Madonna: Actually, not that many people were against that. They were afterwards, obviously, but I didn't care. Sometimes I've just stood up. I think religious fragmentation, or bigots who claim to do things in the name of God but actually bring pain to peoples lives is something that need to be stood up against, and I felt that was a part of what I was doing. And when I performed Live To Tell on a cross [on the Confessions Tour] I was supporting Jesus, paying homage to his message, which is to love your neighbor as yourself, to treat people with dignity. The Christians didn't like that very much.

RS: Who would you consider a musical genius? How do you define genius?
Madonna: Genius can mean so many different things. It can be about poetry, or the melody, or the timbre of the voice when it hits a certain note. Whether it's Cole Porter, Elvis Costello, Joe Henry, Stevie Wonder, Cat Stevens, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Chrissie Hynde, Joni Mitchell, Iggy Pop, Elton John, John Lennon or Chris Martin.

RS: You sang Imagine on your Re-Invention Tour. Where were you when John Lennon was murdered?
Madonna: I was actually on the Upper East Side. I remember getting off the subway train on 72nd Street a couple of hours after it happened, and there were crowds and police cars, it was crazy. Everybody was devastated. The violence of it was particularly disturbing, it can make you really paranoid. The Princess Diana car crash, and the tragic event that occurred with Michael Jackson, it just makes you pause. Every time I performed "Imagine" I could see the front rows would always cry. It's uplifting. John Lennon could awaken that.

RS: Can you attach certain inspirations to certain albums you've made?
Madonna: There are so many inspiring people, artists and philosophers. I'm inspired by people who stick their necks out, like Martin Luther King, Al Gore and Ghandi. I have more obscure heroes like Frida Kahlo, Martha Graham and Eleanor Roosevelt. For American Life, I would say Michael Moore and Che Guevara. I've always been inspired by people who aren't afraid to express their opinions, and speak about sexual politics and provocation and what's right and what's wrong, what's correct and what isn't a correct way for a male and female to behave, and playing with those boundaries. It's obvious to me that if I had been a man and done many of the things that I've done, I would not have had that much attention paid to me. That reality has not escaped me.

RS: Some of your best songs — Live To Tell, Like A Prayer, Cherish — are collaborations with songwriter/producer Patrick Leonard. Why has that relationship been so successful?
Madonna: We're both from the Midwest, and deep down at our core, we're both geeks. He's melancholic, and he is a classically trained musician with an incredible sense of melody. We just hit it off from the start. We always come up with something interesting. We usually don't write frivolous songs, although we've done that, too. There's something magical about our writing.

RS: From a lyrical perspective, what are your favorite lines that you've written over the years?
Madonna: I like the words to songs that aren't very popular. Miles Away and Devil Wouldn't Recognize You. They're more personal and less accessible. I love the lyrics to Like It Or Not. [Sings] "I'll be the garden, you be the snake, all of my fruit is yours to take, better the devil that you know, your love will surely grow." And I love Paradise (Not For Me). [Sings] "I can't remember when I was young, I can't explain if it was wrong."

RS: How important are hit songs to you?
Madonna: Well... It's important, I'm not going to lie. I want my music to be accessible and reach people all around the world.

RS: Who turns you on to music?
Madonna: I listen to music all the time. I have a lot of friends who are DJs, I get stuff from A&R people, my managers. Or I'll go to a nightclub or listen to the radio. People always bring music to workouts, and I look on iTunes every Tuesday. One of my drivers in New York DJs part-time, and another has incredible taste in music. They're always playing stuff for me. I don't live my life in a bubble.

RS: Does your oldest daughter, Lourdes, introduce you to new music?
Madonna: She turned me on to the Ting Tings. There's a band she loves called Disco Bitch. She's into My Chemical Romance, and she's outgrown the Jonas Brothers. She loves Lady Gaga, Ciara, Rihanna, T.I. and Justin. She lives with the iPod in her ears.

RS: Does she critique you?
Madonna: Oh, yeah. My shows, my music, definitely. She's brutally honest, not just with me, but everyone, about what you're wearing, who you're dating, the music you listen to, every choice that you make. She wears the same sizes as me now, so she steals my clothes, my shoes, she's constantly in my closets. And she's working on the show now. Now, we feel more like friends, and we fight every other minute. A normal mother-daughter relationship, going through puberty.

RS: Is it unusual for you to be confronted with such honest opinions? I'd assume there's a lot of people walking on eggshells in your presence.
Madonna: I think I'm a pretty good judge of who's blowing smoke up my ass. I'd like to think I have friends who tell me the truth, and people I work with who tell me the things I don't want to hear. I have those people in my life, and I feel lucky to have them.

RS: What is Lourdes' role on tour?
Madonna: She dresses the dancers backstage. She's really into hair and make-up, so she does a lot of experimenting. She's very talented. She could absolutely design her own line of clothes, she's got great style. Everyone asks her what she thinks of their outfit. Her, not me.

RS: What do you consider prized possessions?
Madonna: I have tons and tons of notebooks that I've written and drawn in over the decades. The other things are more motherly: the first pair of shoes my daughter wore, her first lump of hair.

RS: Is it a bittersweet feeling, parting with Warner Bros. after spending your entire career there?
Madonna: I don't know. The record business as we know it doesn't exist anymore. The way people make, market and sell music is so different now. It's just natural evolution. In many ways, it's better, because kids have the chance now to get themselves out there without the middle man and all the bureaucracy and administrative bullshit that you have to endure. On the other hand, there isn't somebody nurturing these kids along. I don't know what the solution is. I'm sure it will all come around full circle again. It just feels like time to move on. I'm OK with it.

RS: At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you summed up your speech by saying, "It all comes down to the music." Do you think about your legacy, or 100 years from now, how you'll be remembered?
Madonna: Not necessarily. But when I do my shows and see how music transports people, what I'm aware of more than anything when I see people crying, or ecstatic, is how music affects people, and the power it has, over every other art form. I'm so moved and transported by other peoples music — I'm a human being like everyone else. We must all share that same connection, so I'm privileged and blessed to be a channel for music. At the end of the day, are they going to think about how I dove for my shoe at the VMAs or that I was naked in the newspapers, or are they going to remember Live To Tell? I think that at the end of the day, people remember authenticity. They remember what's true, and the rest falls by the wayside. They'll remember what comes from someone's heart.

16 October - Madonna, U2, AC/DC lead Touring Awards finalists
Performing Like A Prayer in London Madonna, U2 and AC/DC are among the finalists for the 2009 Billboard Touring Awards, which are based on global box-office numbers reported to Billboard Boxscore from October 1, 2008, through September 30, 2009.
The awards will be presented at a November 5 reception in New York.
The finalists for the Top Tour and Top Draw awards, which acknowledge the top-grossing and top-ticket-selling tours, respectively, are the same three global treks: U2's 360 tour, Madonna's Sticky & Sweet tour, and AC/DC's Black Ice tour.

The Top Package award goes to the top-grossing tour with three or more artists on the bill. Finalists include five-time winner Kenny Chesney for his Sun City Carnival tour with Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland and Montgomery Gentry on the bill; the Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009 with Jordin Sparks, Honor Society and Wonder Girls; and Nickelback for their Dark Horse tour, with Hinder, Papa Roach, and Saving Abel on board.

The Breakthrough Award goes to the top-grossing artist in their first decade as a national headlining act. Four artists enjoyed touring breakthroughs this year: Lil Wayne, Taylor Swift, Kings of Leon, and Il Divo. Dane Cook, Robin Williams, and French & Saunders are finalists for the Top Comedy Tour.
Finalists for the Top Boxscore award, which goes to the top-grossing single engagement for the time period, are U2 at Croke Park in Dublin, U2 at Stade de France in Paris, and the Oxegen fest at Punchestown Racecourse in Naas, Ireland. (source: Reuters)

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