Pop legend Madonna has thrilled a group of British choir singers by inviting them to perform on her next album.
The Material Girl - famous for her allegiance to the Kabbalah, a mystical offshoot of Judaism - was so impressed with the London Community Gospel Choir 's contribution to her 2003 disc American Life, she's enlisted them again to lay down tracks on her eagerly-awaited 12th studio LP.
However, the choir won't be intimidated working with such a famous artist - they've already leant their vocal chords to songs by Stevie Wonder, Sting, Sir Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, George Michael, Sir Elton John and Sean 'P Diddy' Combs.
Pop star Madonna has lent two items from her art collection to the Tate Modern, for an upcoming exhibition of works by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Self-Portrait with Monkey and My Birth, described by Madonna as two of her favourite works, will be exhibited at the London gallery from 9 June. They will be among items in the first major UK exhibition of Kahlo's work in over 20 years. Kahlo, known for her bold, colourful paintings, died in 1954 aged 47.
A self-taught artist, Kahlo wanted to become a doctor but turned to art in 1925 after a tram accident left her temporarily bedridden. She sustained multiple injuries and was in and out of hospital for the rest of her life.
Works like The Broken Column (1944), which depicts Kahlo's semi-nude body strapped and pinned with nails, dealt with the pain of her decaying health in later years.
My Birth (1932), the second painting on loan from Madonna, depicts a headless woman giving birth to Kahlo.
The painter met and fell in love with celebrated muralist Diego Rivera in 1927, but the couple had a stormy marriage. Their relationship was explored in Frida, the 2002 biopic of the artist which won Salma Hayek an Oscar nomination.
Rediscovered by art collectors in the 1980s, Kahlo is now recognised as one of the great artists of the 20th Century. She produced around 140 oil paintings in her lifetime, 60 of which will go on display at London's Tate Modern until October.
Thanks to the lovely Madonnalicious: "The Rush & Molloy's column in today's edition of the New York Daily News spoke to Madonna's brother, Christopher Ciccone about their alledged rift:
'Our relationship is in very good standing, we speak to each other all the time,' the jewel-eyed designer told us. 'You know that every large family has its ups and downs, and we are no exception.'
As for speculation that Madonna's devotion to kabbalah, a mystical branch of Judaism, fueled the now-healed split, Ciccone says it can't be: He's into it, too. 'I practice kabbalah,' he told them, 'in my own way.'"
Pop superstar Madonna has been promoted to the highest level at the controversial Church of Kabbalah she can achieve without being ordained.
The singer, who has followed the mystical offshoot of judaism for some years, was anointed in secret to an upper category of Kabbalah followers in a ceremony conducted by Kabbalah Centre founder Rabbi Berg.
A source reveals, "Her teachers think she has reached the pinnacle of spiritual understanding. To Madonna this is the best achievement of her life."
Since joining the Kabbalah Centre, Madonna has recruited her husband Guy Ritchie as well as a number of new celebrity followers, including Demi Moore and Britney Spears.
Madonna is suing her longtime art consultant Darlene Lutz, claiming she is owed $265,000 (140,000 pounds) for a painting that the adviser sold.
The summons filed in Manhattan Supreme Court and made public on Friday says Lutz owes Madonna the money based on a settlement agreement made between the two women in May 2004.
"The lawsuit is based on a breach of contract agreement," said Liz Rosenberg, spokeswoman for Madonna.
Rosenberg had no details on the name of the painting or the artist. Lutz did not return calls to her office for comment.
Another picture on Madonna.com's splash page:
Pop superstar Madonna has signed up to play a prostitute in a new movie - and was so desperate for the role she waived all payment.
The Material Girl has finally secured the chance to play cross-dresser Candy Darling, after chasing the part for years, writes British newspaper The Sun.
Darling starred in a number of Andy Warhol films and provided Lou Reed with the inspiration to write Candy Says and Walk On The Wild Side.
An insider says, "Madonna has been desperate to make a film where she can earn respect for her acting abilities. She is still trying to shake off the bad publicity from the movie SWEPT AWAY. She sees this as her big chance.
"She has wanted to play this part for so long because she feels so strongly about the character.
"She said she would do anything for the part and has agreed to work for free."
Yesterday evening aired the episodeof Missy Elliott's Road To Stardom, which features Madonna as a guest, giving advise to aspiring artists. It was recorded in Los Angeles, while Madonna was there to rehearse for her Re-Invention Tour. The contestants ask her questions about the secret of success. Download the videoclip at fansite SomethingToRemember and check out screencaps at MadonnaTribe.
In other download news: head over to the great madonna-tv for clips of Madonna videos who appeared as part of the 100 Greatest Videos, aired February 6th at UK TV. Ray Of Light ended up at no. 68 (comments by director Jonas Akerlund and others); Material Girl at no. 19 (comments by director Mary Lambert and others); Vogue at no. 9 (comments by David Furnish and Vogue dancer Slam); and as highest position Like A Prayer at no. 5 (comments by director Mary Lambert and actor Leon Robinson).
"Madonna is re-inventing herself again - this time as the Queen of Rock.
The undisputed pop goddess has nearly finished her next album and it will have a heavy guitar sound."
According to Victoria Newton, who has got her hands on a blueprint of the new material, the poppy, dance feel of American Life has gone in favour of a more edgy theme and Madonna is playing most of the big guitar riffs herself in the album, scheduled for an end-of-year release.
The rise of British guitar rock bands has inspired the Queen of Pop and she has become fan of artists such as Franz Ferdinand and The Darkness, making her move in the direction of real sounds, like a real band.
"Madonna always keeps in touch with what is popular in the charts and has been really into the guitar-based rock bands of 2004. The new album is taking shape as one of her best ever," the Bizarre columnist's source reveals.
Victoria Newton also reports about the several big name producers she has enlisted to help her in the job. Together with Mirwais and main producer Stuart Price, she got in touch with Swedish duo Bloodshy & Avant and asked to write a song.
Monte Pittman, Madonna's tour guitarist and teacher, has co-written a track called "I Love New York" and the album should include her cover of John Lennon's Imagine, which she premiered during last summer's tour.
Also, from ContactMusic:
Madonna is heading in a new direction on her next album, which will see her ditching dance-flavoured tracks in favour of a more rocking sound. The Material Girl, who spends much of her time in England where she lives with her film-maker husband Guy Ritchie, has been listening to various British rock bands which have proved a huge influence on her almost-completed new record.
An insider says, "Living in Britain she has become a real fan of Franz Ferdinand and loves the kitschy sound of The Darkness.
"She is moving more in that direction - real sounds, like a real band.
"Madonna always keeps in touch with what is popular in the charts and has been really into the guitar-based rock bands of 2004.
"The new album is taking shape as one of her best ever."
MadonnaTribe team member Ragdoll provides the translation of the articles about Bloodshy & Avant featured today in the Swedish press. Here's the first one, from Aftonbladet, and the second one, from Expressen.
They were given a Grammy for their Britney Spears song. Now the Swedish top producers are working on a new hit - for Madonna. "This is really something big," says Christian "Bloodshy" Karlsson.
Swedish producers Bloodshy & Avant wrote and produced Britney Spears' hit "Toxic". This Sunday they won an American Grammy for their work. "It's absolutely amazing. An American Grammy is probably the biggest award you can win in my business. Now I'm beginning to understand how it would feel like to win gold in the Olympics," Christian "Bloodshy" Karlsson tells Aftonbladet.
The Swedes beat big acts like Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx in the category "Best dance recording".
"This is really unbelievable. Those are really heavy names and we beat them just like that," says Christian Karlsson.
Bloodshy & Avant were not in the US to accept the award in person. The reason: they're working on a new hit - for Madonna.
"Madonna herself called me. I was at the beach in Thailand when my cell phone rang, and it was her. I can't even explain how unreal it felt to stand there with Madonna on the line," says Christian Karlsson.
The Queen of Pop discovered the Swedish duo after their work with Britney Spears and asked them to write her a song. "We've hardly begun working on it yet, so we've got no idea when the song will be released or what will become of it. Our goal is to give her a real dancefloor filler," says Pontus Winnberg.
The Swedes helped Britney Spears - wich earned them a Grammy last Sunday. Then Madonna called.
Whilst Niklas Flyckt were accepting a Grammy in the category "Best dance recording" for Britney Spears' hit "Toxic", the duo behind the production, Christian Karlsson, 29, and Pontus Winnberg, 29, were in Thailand. Then Madonna called.
"We were there for business and Madonna just calls like that. It's unbelievable. Nothing is decided yet, but she called to discuss a possible collaboration," says Christian.
"There's no other artist I'd rather work with." The duo, who calls themselves Bloodshy & Avant, have been producing for quite a while: "We've been working together since we were fifteen, but it wasn't until year 2000 when we started to take things seriously." And now their work has given them a Grammy. "It's incredible to have won this award. It's like a dream."
Madonna.com has finally given us some official news on the DVD (though not the date we hoped for): "We have received tons of email here at Madonna.com regarding the DVD release of the Re-Invention tour and we wanted everyone to know that a release date has not yet been set. We are currently looking at releasing the DVD some time during the fourth quarter of 2005 in time for the holidays. Stay tuned to Madonna.com for more info about the release."
~ Well, at least they postponed and not cancelled... ;-)
Madonna's visually stunning appearance in the Spring / Summer Versace Campaign debuted at the beginning of January 2005. The highly anticipated collaboration between Madonna, Donatella Versace, and photographer Mario Testino delivers Madonna in a way that we have never seen her before: High Powered Office Exec! This look ads a new dimension to the ICON, who is a close friend of Donatella Versace. You can see her ads in magazines around the world over the next few months.
Elle - Harper's Bazaar - In Style - Interview - New york magazine - Rolling Stone - The New York Times - The New York Times Magazine - The New Yorker - Time – Style & Design Issue - V Magazine - Vanity Fair - Vogue - W
Arena - Elle - Haper's Queen - Tatler - The Times - Vogue - Wallpaper
Citizen K - Elle - Glamour - International Herald Tribune - Jalouse - M. Figaro - Marie Claire - Numero - Officiel - Vogue
Amica - CHI - Corriere Della Sera - D Repubblica - Elle - Espresso - Flair - Glamour - Grazia - Io Donna - M. Claire - Max - Vanity Fair - Vogue
Elle - Glamour - In Style - Madame - Petra - Vogue
Elle - Glamour - La Vanguardia mag - Telva - Vogue
Elle - Knack Weekend - Marie Claire
20 ans - Elle - Harper's Bazaar - Spur - Vogue
Cosmopolitan - ELLE - Harper's Bazaar - I Look
Elle - Harper's Bazaar - Jalouse - Officiel - Vogue - Wall Paper
Madonna.com has now put a picture online of Madonna at the 1999 Grammy Awards. There's a new part of the contest, which unfortunately is limited to "Icon members who reside in the US" - pretty limited considering the large worldwide fan base...
"Thank you to all of the Iconers who donated to the tsunami relief fund. This week the Classic Madonna Collection Contest returns! Please submit a collage of your favorite Madonna Grammy pictures!
The prize will go to the most original & creative collage that Madonna will pick herself! The prize this week will be a Re-Invention Tour gift pack that will include two t-shirts, a coffee mug and a key chain!"
If you liked their last collaboration on the Gap Ads, you will love Missy Elliott & Madonna's latest team effort! Watch Missy Elliott's Road to Stardom on UPN on Wednesday February 16, 2005 8PM ET/PT and see guest star Madonna giving advice to aspiring singers. If you can't wait till then, click here to see a preview of Wednesday's episode!
Fellow fansite DrownedMadonna talked again to Mike McKnight, one of Madonna's engineers on her Re-Invention Tour. McKnight discusses the evolution of the tour setlist, which once included Swim and Live To Tell, and Ray Of Light as an encore, before changing into the final setlist.
He also briefly discusses new songs Madonna has been working on: 'The Devil Wouldn't Recognise You' and 'I Love New York'. He also confirmed that Madonna's documentary should premiere on the Cannes Film Festival in May 2005. He said "it'll be a lot more fun than Truth or Dare".
Rumours about the Re-Invention Tour DVD being postponed are unfortunately getting stronger. We checked with several music stores in Belgium, and while they all had an April release scheduled only 2 weeks ago, they now reported that no tentative release date has been set anymore at all.
It was postponed from April to September, but now even further to December or 2006. In that case, it means the project has been put on hold for now. Most probably Madonna wants to concentrate the audience's attention to her documentary (which will also include some parts of the show).
Question is if the DVD will ever see the light of day. We can only hope it won't end up in Warner's closet next to the Blond Ambition Tour...
As there's no official information whatsoever, the options are still open. But a spring or even summer release is not in the cards anymore.
Warner Music is proving once again their complete lack of communication skillls by letting everyone in the dark about the release date of the Re-Invention Tour DVD. While some fansites have been reporting a possible delay to September 2005, most music stores still communicate a March or April release.
Here's a letter from Ask Billboard on the topic:
I am a huge Madonna fan and I saw her on tour back in June. I kept hearing about the tour DVD which is supposed to come out this spring but then all of a sudden I heard the news about it not being released. Is this true? Do you have any information of what happening with the DVD? Please tell me!
Unfortunately, we're as much in the dark as you are. While there are plans to release a DVD of the Re-Invention Tour, as well as a documentary, no release dates for either have been announced.
Furthermore, while there are many Internet rumors floating around with regards to release dates and such, Madonna's camp has yet to confirm any of them and no official news has been issued about either project in some time.
From fellow fansite Madonnalicious: "The new edition of UK film magazine Empire features a small interview with Guy Ritchie about his forthcoming film Revolver which is produced by Luc Besson and is due for release in November..
Shot in secrecy over ten weeks on the Isle Of Man, the filmed had wrapped just two hours before the director phoned Empire to give us the lowdown. 'It was a long one to write,' he says..
'Snatch and Lock, Stock took three months, but this one took about a year and a half.' And? What's it about? 'Let's just say it's about a gambling man who realises he's in for more than he thought.'.
Like Ritchie's previous films, the script changed constantly throughout the writing process and then, just for laughs, metamorphosed completely a week before filming. 'It's a funny thing, writing. Particulary a script like this. .
Don't ask me what sort of genre it is because I'm left scratching my head. It was an endless process of tweaks, then for some reason it all just solidified'.
Not only does the film put Ritchie's surreal humour on a back-burner ('It's a lot more serious than my other movies'), there's also no truth in the rumours that Mrs Ritchie, aka Madonna, has a cameo..
'No, she's not in it,' he insists. So the stories are made up? 'Completely made up.' He laughs. 'That's rare, isn't it?'".
DJ Tracy Young announces on her official website: "A few months ago I announced the upcoming release of my newest project, the compilation "Dance Culture." I am currently in the process of finalizing my tracklist. The CD's scheduled release date on Ferosh records is May 31, 2005.
It will exclusively feature my remix of Madonna's Easy Ride among other unreleased productions I have been working on, including the title track "Dance Culture" feat. Alan T. Both of these tracks were produced in Italy in collaboration with Giangi Cappai." (thanks to Dani for directing our attention to this).
Superstar Madonna is following in her husband Guy Ritchie's footsteps, by taking up karate.
The British director is a black belt in the martial art and has encouraged his famous wife to join in during practice sessions.
A friend says, "Madonna has been taking her classes very seriously.
"Guy is into karate and Madonna's daughter Lourdes has taken classes.
"In the past, Madonna has worried about being bruised before videos or photoshoots but she hasn't got any planned at the moment."
Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears has ruled out a future collaboration with Madonna, because his celebrity pal Kylie Minogue would "kill him".
The flamboyant Laura singer wrote and produced Minogue's latest hit I Believe In You last year (04), and claims he's too loyal to the diminutive Australian to work with her chart rival Madonna.
Shears says, "I think Kylie would have my head on a plate if I worked with Madonna. Really, I'm not interested in collaborating with her, I love Kylie too much.
"We had a real ball and I have a massive crush on her. She's just a really amazing, funny person and really cool. I didn't meet her until we went in the studio but we hit it off. Now I'm planning to go to England to watch her tour.
"I haven't met her boyfriend (Olivier Martinez) yet, but I hear he's gorgeous."
Flamboyant superstar Sir Elton John fears he's been made to look like a Nazi sympathiser after accusing Madonna of lip-syncing.
The Candel In The Wind singer hit the headlines in October (04) when he criticised his pal at the Q Awards in London, accusing her of not singing live during her performances.
But John admits he remains shocked at the strong reactions to his comments.
He says, "I was just having fun and it's like I said that HITLER was right, or something. Everybody knows Madonna lip-syncs. Everybody knows a lot of people lip-sync onstage. It was no big deal...
"When you're going to see a live band, it's one of the most exciting things that you can see. And I don't want to go and see someone who lip-syncs, thank you very much.
"I got a lot of flak for (saying) it. Somebody said, 'Well, she can't sing when she's in the crab position.' Well, there you go... especially if she had haemorrhoids as well."
~ Seems Sir Elton doesn't have anything interesting to say lately, because after 4 months he's still talking about Madonna...
After several reports on an early April release, there are now rumours that the release of the Re-Invention Tour DVD has been postponed to September 2005. Last week we reported that Warner Belgium announced a (Belgian) release date of April 1st. We are waiting for a reaction from Warner Belgium on these new rumours. We hope to bring more clarity on the subject in the next few days.
Madonna.com has put a new picture on its intro page, from Madonna's performance at Tsunami Aid. There's still a link to donate for the Tsunami victims, with the message "Madonna urges all of her fans to donate to the Red Cross to help the victims of the Tsunami." In the news section, the winner #3 of the Classic Collection Contest is announced.
Madonna has been approached to be the face of a new Kabbalah energy drink. The star has long been an advocate of the mystical Jewish faith and is currently trying the drink, along with fellow devotee Demi Moore, before she accepts the deal.
Kabbalah spokesperson Darin Ezra, based at the religion's headquarters in Los Angeles, said: "We are going after the Red Bull market but Kabbalah Energy Drink tastes better." The product will be launched in California, with a view to expand worldwide, under the slogan 'Source of Power'. Meanwhile, the Material Girl has praised the faith for helping her marriage to Guy Ritchie remain strong.
The sexy singer insists the religion has improved their relationship considerably by allowing her to accept the British film director - even when he "irks" her. She said: "I can disagree with him but I don't love him any less." Since converting to the faith in 1998, Madonna - whose husband is also a follower of the religion - has increasingly allowed her beliefs to influence every aspect of her life.
Madonna reportedly sacked her long-term manager, Caresse Henry, for having an affair with one of her bodyguards - because it went against Kabbalah teachings.
Religion is running thicker than blood these days for Madonna.
Roger Friedman of FoxNews.com reports that the not-so material one has grown so wedded to the trendy Kabbalah offshot of Judaism that she is x-ing out family members who refuse to follow her adopted faith. No longer does Madonna -- who possesses a tidy little $100 million fortune according to Fortune mag -- help out brother Christopher Ciccone.
And the rest of the Ciccone family (Martin, Anthony, Paula, Melanie, Mario and Jennifer) is said to be in various stages of the familial outs with the pop diva.
In other fast-breaking Kabbalah news, the mystical faith is pursuing commercial lucre, at least in Southern California where a limited test marketing of a new Kabbalah energy drink is now under way.
Jeannette Wells of MSNBC reports that Kabbalah devotees Madonna, Aston Kutcher and Demi Moore are all sipping the K H2O, with the possibility of becoming a celeb shill for the Red Bull wannabe in an upcoming ad campaign.
Get ready to be assaulted with the new energy drink slogan, "Source of Power." Which the faith hopes will translate into "Source of Dollar(s)."
Madonna will be making an appearance on the reality show the Road To Stardom With Missy Elliott February 16 on UPN. In the episode, the final five performers take a private jet to Los Angeles, where they move into a mansion and later are surprised when Madonna drops by for a visit. The diva takes time from her busy concert tour schedule to meet with them and share some valuable advice on the music business.
The Road To Stardom With Missy Elliott follows a group of aspiring performers as rapper Missy Elliott takes them out on the road and shows them what a performer's life is really like. Participants are eliminated from the show each week and the last remaining performer will win $100,000 and a contract with Elliott's record label to release his or her first single.
Madonna's successful marriage to film-maker Guy Ritchie is down to their devotion to studying the Kabbalah - according to close friend Vinnie Jones.
Jones, who starred in Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, credits the couple's intense interest in the mystical branch of Judaism as being responsible for the strong four-year marriage.
The former soccer star says: "I think their religion is keeping them together. I think the Kabbalah side of it is helping them."
BBC Radio One asked fans to vote for the Greatest UK number one single to celebrate the 1000th number one single.
1. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
2. Iron Maiden - Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter
3. Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
4. Madonna - Like A Prayer
5. Madonna - Vogue
6. Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock
7. Oasis - Don't Look Back in Anger
8. Abba - Dancing Queen
9. Mariah Carey - Without You
10. John Lennon - Imagine