Madonna news - Jan. 2021


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Rare 1985 photos now available in art book

Source: W Magazine - 26 January 2021

In 1985, Madonna made her first-ever trip to Japan. She'd just released Like a Virgin, the follow-up album to her self-titled debut, with Nile Rodgers as a co-producer, and traveled to Tokyo to promote the record.

Madonna photographed by Kenji Wakasugi, in January 1985

For most fans of Madonna, this is likely the pop icon's most identifiable era, especially visually speaking: teased hair, wedding dresses with fingerless gloves, references to Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood, the "Boy Toy" belt. And it was during this watershed moment that Playboy magazine tapped the photographer Kenji Wakasugi to shoot her. 

The Osaka native was allotted 45 minutes with Madonna in a spare studio space, where he set up a pink couch covered in plastic and a flash unit—that was all in terms of props and equipment.

Madonna photographed by Kenji Wakasugi, in January 1985

There were no stylists, nor a glam team; Madonna came to the shoot wearing her own clothing (a bustier, Takara Kronoform robot watch, Maripol's layered rubber and crucifix jewelry). As Wakasugi recalled, her energy and vibrant spirit did more than enough to fill the room.

"Madonna was very modest, had a great manner, and seemed powerful," the photographer said. "I adored her smile."

Madonna photographed by Kenji Wakasugi, in January 1985

The contents of that promotional shoot, considered relatively bare bones at the time, are now enshrined in a limited-edition book named Adore, published by NJGAdore not only contains never-before-seen outtakes from the photoshoot with Madonna, but it's also bookended by more pictures Wakasugi took during the 1980s: images of neon street lights, floral motifs, and commuters darting through the streets of Tokyo evoke the mood of that time, and speak to the photographer's tendency to capture culture meeting nature.

Madonna photographed by Kenji Wakasugi, in January 1985

One look at Wakasugi's website—which is chock full of outdoor photography much more akin to Ansel Adams's style than Steven Meisel's—and you wouldn't be blamed for expressing surprise that a guy like him was commissioned for a Madonna shoot.

But the Tokyo Technical School of Photography graduate has also lensed the likes of Glenn Close, Richard Gere, and Hall & Oates over the course of his career.

Madonna photographed by Kenji Wakasugi, in January 1985

His soft-focus touch and tendency to capture people in their most natural state comes through in the Madonna photographs.

On set, Wakasugi recalled that he wasn't able to communicate with the star further than a few words of encouragement, but her "vigorous" personality told him everything he needed to know. She was more than comfortable in front of the camera.

Madonna photographed by Kenji Wakasugi, in January 1985



Detox says Ray Of Light album freed her of suicidal feelings: 'my saving grace'

Source: Attitude - 23 January 2021

Detox has said Madonna's seminal album Ray of Light helped save her from suicidal feelings upon its release in 1998.

Madge's critically-acclaimed seventh album contains hits like 'Frozen', 'Nothing Really Matters' and the title track of the same name.

Drag icon Detox, who shot to fame on the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, was just 12 years old when the LP came out.

Speaking on The Things That Made Me Queer, the new podcast from RPDR UK's Crystal, the All Stars runner up said: "When I talk about Ray of Light, I contribute it to saving my life.

"It came out in 1998, I was 12 years old, just moved from Arizona to North Carolina... it was the first time I had experienced people being really bigoted, and racist, and being shamed for being a young closeted queer boy being called a faggot, being ridiculed not only by students but teachers, and adults for being effeminate.

"At 12 years old, I was very depressed, very suicidal, not in a good headspace. When this album came out I immersed myself in it, it was my saving grace."

Detox, whose own songs include 'Chow Down' and 'I Like It Like That', continued:

"I had a little nook in the house we were renting, with a little seat in the window and I remember putting all my pillows in the window - I'm going to cry - and sitting there for hours with that album on repeat thinking of a life beyond that. 

"It was an ethereal vacation from that difficult time."



Madonna returns to editing her Madame X tour recording

Source: Instagram - 20 January 2021

Returning from her holidays in Malawi and Kenya, Madonna has dyed her hair blond again, and announced on Instagram that she's continuing the editing process of her Madame X Tour recording.

While her headline mentions 'coming soon', a specific release date is not yet known.

Madonna returns to editing her Madame X tour recording



Maluma talks working with Madonna in 'Elle' cover story

Source: ET Canada - 16 January 2021

Maluma's music is becoming successful on a global scale, which has put him on the cover of the February issue of Elle.

The Colombian singer will make the jump from music to movies, co-starring with Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in the upcoming rom-com Marry Me.

Maluma also discussed "Medellín", his steamy collaboration with Madonna, and performing the song live with her at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards.

"Madonna loves doing things in an organic way — she is very spiritual," Maluma said. "When we were doing the 'Medellín' video, it was almost 48 hours working nonstop, and I was surprised, because Madonna, she was 60 years old, but she looks like she is younger than me."

Maluma talks working with Madonna in 'Elle' cover story

That admiration is a two-way street.

"When I first met Maluma, I was drawn to his positivity and good energy," Madonna told the magazine. "But when I got to know him, what surprised me was his work ethic. Being in the studio with him was effortless, and performing with him on 'Medellín' was a gratifying collaboration. We proved to be creative kindred spirits and had a fun time doing it."

In fact, Maluma believes the connection he forges with artists such as Lopez and Madonna is more spiritual than anything else.

"I feel like the artists right now, the modern artists, are losing their spirituality, and that's kind of sad," he said. "I don't feel like they pray or meditate, and that's why I feel connected with artists like Madonna, Shakira, and Jennifer. Sometimes people tell me that I'm an old soul because of that, but at the end of the day, you can be the biggest star in the world, but if you are not spiritual, you are empty inside."

The entire interview is featured in the latest issue of Elle.



Madonna wants 'perfect' star to play her in biopic - and it could be Brit Florence Pugh

Source: The Mirror - 10 January 2021

Queen of pop Madonna is Desperately Seeking the "perfect" actress to play her on screen… and English actress Florence Pugh could be the one.

The Little Women actress, 25, is said to be neck and neck with Ozark's Julia Garner, 26, in the race to win the role.

Madonna, 62, is co-writing the much-anticipated biopic and will also direct it. And as for the leading role, fans can't wait for her to decide Who's That Girl.

Who will play Madonna in her biopic: Florence pugh (left) or Julia Garner (right)?

An insider told the Sunday Mirror: "Realistically, there are only a couple of people in town who could pull this role off.

"The bosses who are helping put the movie together want Florence and nobody doubts that she could be amazing.

"On the other hand, fans and the press have already weighed in and, from that perspective, Julia is their frontrunner because she is such a dead ringer for early-career Madonna.

"Still, there are serious politics and scheduling issues in the way of Julia landing the part.

"The final decision will be Madonna's alone, since she's directing and it's her story.

"She's really only got one shot to get this right. Like with Elton John's Rocketman, there isn't room for error. She's putting herself under serious pressure to find the perfect person."

Madonna is penning the script with Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody.

Julia was touted for the lead role after her Emmy-winning success in Netflix crime drama Ozark. She also starred in movie The Assistant.

But Madonna also connected with Oscar nominee Florence after fans pointed out the resemblance between her and the pop queen when she was young.

Speaking about the biopic, Madonna has said: "I want to convey the incredible journey that life has taken me on as an artist, a musician, a dancer… a human being trying to make her way in this world. The focus of this film will always be music.

"Music has kept me going and art has kept me alive."

"There are so many untold and inspiring stories and who better to tell it than me. It's essential to share the rollercoaster ride of my life with my voice and vision."



Madonna moved to tears on Kenya trip

Source: Straits Times - 10 January 2021

Pop star Madonna was reduced to tears during a trip to Kenya as she listened to a man describe how his five-year-old daughter was recently raped by a neighbour in Nairobi's Kibera slum.

The 57-year-old singer met the man during a visit to Kibera last Saturday and Sunday. She was there to see how she could improve the lives of its residents, a spokesman said.

Madonna met Kenyan First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Monday.

"This was an incredibly powerful and disturbing conversation about the realities of violence in these people's lives," said Mr Trevor Neilson, who manages Madonna's Raising Malawi and Ray Of Light foundations and accompanied her on the trip.

"These stories brought Madonna to tears," Mr Neilson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Madonna, who took her four children to the East African country, posted a video on Instagram, showing them cleaning streets, clearing gutters and painting murals.

She also met Kenya's First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Monday to discuss working with her charity to scale up maternal and child health programmes and initiatives against gender violence.

Madonna's welcome in Kenya was in contrast to the criticism she faced after visiting Malawi in 2013, when she was accused by the country of expecting its government to be forever chained in an "obligation of gratitude" towards her for adopting two Malawian children and contributing to the construction of classrooms there.



Watch Madonna's Super Bowl performance on her Youtube channel

Source: Youtube - 9 January 2021

It took them almost 9 years, but Madonna's team has finally added a high quality video of Madonna's performance at the 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show to her Youtube channel.

During her performance, which kicked off the promotion for the MDNA album at the time, Madonna performed Vogue, Music (featuring LMFAO), Give Me All Your Luvin' (featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.), and Like A Prayer (featuring CeeLo Green).



Listen to Kelly Clarkson's cover of Borderline

Source: Inquisitr - 9 January 2021

Kelly Clarkson dedicated her cover of one of Madonna's first hits — Borderline — to her musical director Jason Halbert for her latest performance on "Kellyoke," a popular segment on her daytime talk series.

In a clip posted to Twitter, as seen below, Kelly looked lovely in a brown dress. The garment had sleeves rolled up to her elbows. The dress fell to her knees and with it, she wore knee-high boots. The dress had a small collar and was open at the neck. A large belt cinched in the waist.

Kelly clutched the microphone stand. Several rings were seen on the fingers of both her hands as she sang the song made famous by the Material Girl off her debut album, Madonna.

~ Compare it our favourite rendition that Madonna brought on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on June 9, 2016.



Madonna visits Jacaranda School for Orphans, opens Madame X Dance Studio

Source: Daily Mail - 9 January 2021

Seven-time Grammy winner Madonna capped off her 'amazing week in Malawi' with her four youngest children by visiting the Jacaranda School for Orphans near Blantyre last Friday.

The 62-year-old Queen of Pop was officially at the school to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Madame X Dance Studio.

Madge (last name Ciccone) proudly posed beside the sign at the studio, which was paid for through the non-profit organization, Raising Malawi, she co-founded with Michael Berg in 2006.

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I feel like we ended on a very special note because Jacaranda is a very special place, as you know. The reason it's so special to me - not only because there's so many amazing, talented children here - but there's also amazing teachers and the founders are so passionate about what you do. It's contagious,' the longtime AIDS activist said in a speech to the school.

'You're teaching them skills that when it comes to art and creativity and expression - these are the things that keep us alive and keep us going through times of trouble and challenges. And you know, this has been a really tough year for everybody. But if you think about it, every year's a tough year in Malawi, right?

Madonna capped off her 'amazing week in Malawi' with her four youngest children by visiting the Jacaranda School for Orphans near Blantyre last Friday

'So what's going to keep us going is loving what we do and it's great that you've created a place where children can come and continue to learn and love what they do and learn skills from visual arts, to designing clothes, to playing musical instruments, to dance - which is my first love. So this place really holds a special place in my heart. Just keep up the good work everybody and that's it. Believe in your dreams!'

While there, Madonna's 15-year-old son David Banda played guitar as the music class sang Bill Withers' 1972 hit Lean on Me. 

The Queen of Pop was officially at the school to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Madame X Dance Studio

The Levitating songstress belted the classic as her 14-year-old daughter Mercy James played along on an electronic keyboard.

And Madonna's eight-year-old twin daughters Stella & Estere - wearing matching black cargo jeans - strummed ukuleles.

'Thank you for supporting the arts!' Madge (last name Ciccone) proudly posed beside the sign at the studio, which was paid for through the non-profit organization, Raising Malawi, she co-founded with Michael Berg in 2006

The self-made superstar also brought along her back-up dancer-turned-toyboy Ahlamalik Williams who, at 26, is 36 years younger than her. 

Days earlier, Madonna made visits to Mercy James Centre of Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care as well as the village of Lipunga where David reconnected with his father Yohane. 

The longtime AIDS activist said in a speech to the school: 'I feel like we ended on a very special note because Jacaranda is a very special place, as you know. The reason it's so special to me - not only because there's so many amazing, talented children here - but there's also amazing teachers and the founders are so passionate about what you do. It's contagious'

'My interest is in the child's best chance for health and education,' Yohane explained to The Guardian back in 2006. 

'It was a hard choice to make, but when it seemed likely that David would have a better life with a new family, I could not say no.'

'Diva on a bus ride to Blantyre': It's hard to imagine Madonna riding a bus, but that's how her entourage traveled to the school'



Madonna visits Mercy James Pediatric Hospital

Source: Business World - 4 January 2021

American singer and songwriter Madonna who is enjoying her homecoming trip to Malawi in Africa visited the Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care on Sunday and spent time with the children there.

The 'Queen of Pop' took to her Instagram on Sunday and shared a video of her visit to the Mercy James Pediatric Hospital.

In the caption for the video, she wrote

"Visiting Mercy James Pediatric Hosptial...........3 Years in and going strong. ! Thanks to Dr. Borgstein and the incredible team of health care workers that make it possible to save childrens lives everyday! Thank you folks around the world that continue to support @raisingmalawi #comealive #mercyjamescenter."

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Malawi president Chakwera meets Madonna, praises her charity

Source: Nyasa Times - 2 January 2021

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera on New Year’s Day met with visiting U.S. pop singer Madonna, praising her efforts to help children’s education in the South African country.

Chakwera received the pop icon at the Kamuzu Presidential Palace in the capital, Lilongwe, where Madonna  briefed him about her charity work in the country.

Writing on his official Facebook page, Chakwera said "Madonna came by to say hello today. It was good to hear the progress of her charity work in Malawi."

Madonna during her audience with Malawi president Lazarus Chakwera

Madonna is the founder of Raising Malawi, a charitable organisation supporting community-based organizations that provide orphans, vulnerable children and their caregivers with the critical resources they need, including education, medical care, food and shelter, and psychosocial support.

Besides that, Madonna, built a state-of-the-art paediatric surgery  and intensive care unit at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, a referral hospital in the city of Blantyre.

In July 2017, the faci