Friday, October 31, 2014


The producer is one of the most crucial yet anonymous figures in all of music. Every now and again we aim to illuminate these under-heralded artists with Beat Construction. Today, in a special Beat Week edition of the column, we caught up Mike Tucker, bka Blood Diamonds, the LA-based producer who’s best known for the rave-ready dance tracks he’s dreamed up with close friend and collaborator Grimes. But Blood Diamonds’ blissed-out sounds are echoing beyond his inner circle; the 24-year-old’s productions have turned up on Charli XCX and Tinashe records, he’s crafting beats for nascent rap stars Rome Fortune and Little Simz, and he’s part of the core team—that also includes Diplo, DJ Dahi and Ariel Rechtshaid—working behind the boards on Madonna’s as-yet-untitled 13th studio album.

You two are working on Madonna’s new record together, right?

Yeah, we have been working on that for the last month. It’s been a lot of fun, definitely a big project. It’s me and Dahi, Diplo, Ariel [Rechtshaid] and Jimbo. I think it’s definitely going to be a good Madonna record. There are moments when you’re like, Oh this is definitely fucking Madonna.

Are you guys aiming for something really contemporary sounding with it?

I wouldn’t say were trying to nail 2014. With most artists, Dahi and I try to approach it from a longevity standpoint. Especially if we’re pitching beats to someone its like, Is this fucking hot this month? Because this record won’t be out for another year. That can be stressful, but the bottom line is like making room for the song, because the song is really what stands the test of time. I feel like right now a lot of pressure to get that single, and get that dance tune. That’s probably the coolest thing about Madonna. She has been doing so many records for so long, it’s kind of irrelevant to try to fit into the now.

Source : TheFader

Madonna Looking Stunning at the Black Ball 2014 Photos.


Halloween came early for the Material Girl last night when she wore a bustier number best described as Gothic milkmaid – albeit teamed with those lace gloves and crucifix of Like a Virgin days.

But it’s the boots we care about here at Fashion Finder. In another instance of a celebrity dressing straight off the Spring/Summer 2015 catwalk in clobber that lesser mortals will have to wait til the spring to bag.

Yes. These Givenchy over-the-knee boots actually feature in the house’s S/S15 collection so actually we’re not surprised it’s feeling like a good idea to wear them now.

Even her accessories were a clear nod to her Desperately Seeking Susan character in the 1985 cult flick who clothes herself in various designs picked up at second hand stores.
Black leather lace-up booties by Givenchy and black lace mitts were a dressy touch, and a heavy crucifix pendant adorned her throat.

Madonna’s magical attire mirrored the one she wore to the 1985 American Music Awards.

Earlier in the day, the Express Yourself megastar shared an instagram where three assistants helped to lace up her boots, while the singing siren herself lay on the floor in all her dark finery.
‘These Givenchy boots tho…………#unapologeticb****,’ Madonna captioned the snap.
Once at the charity fundraiser, Madonna continued to look and act far younger than her years as she rubbed elbows with other stars appearing for a good cause.

Source : DailyMail

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Boy George has admitted that he hopes Madonna can forgive him for the negative things he has said about her in the past.

The Culture Club singer, 53, who was presented with an Icon accolade by Naomi Campbell at the Attitude Awards earlier this month (October), discusses his sometimes strained relationship with the Queen of Pop in the latest issue of Attitude.

Asked which of Madonna or Lady Gaga he would invite to a private party, George replies: “Oh, can’t I have both? That would be such a fantastic combination. Can you imagine?”

“They would both be circling the block making sure they weren’t the first to arrive,” he then jokes.

“There was a fantastic party which happened in Paris a few years ago. Everyone was there, J-Lo, Puff Daddy – you name it,” George continues. “And I was there sort of looking on…Madonna and Prince, allegedly, spent about three hours circling the venue because they didn’t want to be the first to arrive out of the two of them.”

“I mean, I love Lady Gaga, but it would probably be Madonna if she could find it in her heart to forgive me. I have apologised a lot for the mean things I said about her.”

Source : Attitude

Saturday, October 25, 2014


By Mary Von Aue for

For as long as Madonna has made music, she has endured relentless criticism for her sexuality. She’s been perhaps the most consistent target in the music industry, drawing critiques for more than three decades, and reviews of her work have served as a roadmap for how we scrutinize women at each stage in their music career. Whether it was public speculation on why she isn’t “like a virgin” or it was chastising her middle-aged body in a leotard, the shaming has had many iterations despite its one unwavering resolution: She goes too far.

That’s why her album Bedtime Stories, even as it celebrates its 20th anniversary, is still her most important work. For months leading up to its release, it was marketed as an apology for her sexual behavior, and critics hoped it would be her return to innocence. Instead, she offered a lyrical #sorrynotsorry and a response to the problem of female musicians being scrutinized for their sexuality rather than their music. As a result of the public’s moral concerns, it has become Madonna’s most quietly important album, setting the tone for how artists deal with critiques of their sex life.

In 1992, Madonna released Erotica, a techno concept album and ode to bondage, alongside the coffee table book Sex, a softcore pornographic photo catalog of her and her pals. The concurrent releases created enormous and long-running backlash, resulting in multiple countries banning the album from radio airplay and the Vatican banning Madonna from entering. Madonna was already well established as an icon, but her frank lyrics on S&M and published photographs of analingus incited the harshest public outrage in her career. Bedtime Stories was slated to be her one last chance at redemption, and Warner Brothers agreed to produce it under the auspices of a less provocative image.

Both the label and her publicist Liz Rosenberg did everything they could to reverse the damage from Madonna’s last projects. They had her release the soundtrack single “I’ll Remember” to bring her a family-friendly hit and further increase speculation that Bedtime Stories would convey her apology. The album’s promo video promises that there will be “no sexual references on the album” and even panders with Madonna saying “it’s a whole new me! I’m going to be a good girl, I swear.”

Madonna-shaming was a two-part construct: First she was scorned for her sexuality, and then she was eclipsed by it. Since it cited her sex appeal as her sole commodity, the promo video had everyone wondering what she was going to sing about if the topic wasn’t sex. Speculation leading up to Bedtime Stories focused on her exit plan for becoming irrelevant, whether she planned on future facelifts, and what she would offer as a middle-aged version of herself.

“When you’re a celebrity, you’re allowed to have one personality trait. Which is ridiculous,” Madonna told the Detroit News in 1993. When Bedtime Stories was finally released on October 25, she addressed both aspects of the shaming process. Despite the promises in her promo, she continued to acknowledge her sexual desires, although she also experimented with the sound and subject matter. Beginning with “Survival,” a song she co-wrote with Dallas Austin, Madonna doesn’t hesitate to address the backlash and sings “I’ll never be an angel / I’ll never be a saint it’s true / I’m too busy surviving.” The lyrics continue to convey a loosely drawn narrative of the punishment she endured from the media and her feelings leading up to the release, and the songs are carried mostly by R&B melodies produced by Austin, Nellee Hooper, and Babyface.

The definitive single on the album is an explicit rebuke of the backlash. In “Human Nature,” she confirms that wasn’t sorry and that she’s not anyone’s bitch, and she paired the song perfectly with a video that toys with bondage like an Erotica throwback. Right when she is about to drop the mic she whispers, “would it sound better if I were a man?”

Madonna asserted her lack of apology on the grounds that she had not said or did anything unusual; it was simply unusual for a woman to say it. In an interview with the LA Times, she defended Bedtime Stories by saying “I’m being punished for being a single female, for having power and being rich and saying the things I say, being a sexual creature—actually, not being any different from anyone else, but just talking about it. If I were a man, I wouldn’t have had any of these problems. Nobody talks about Prince’s sex life.”

Beyond offering Madonna’s final word on the scandal of her sexuality, the album pivots to address the misconception that her sexual persona limited her versatility as an artist. The narrative in Bedtime Stories immediately turns introspective, relating “I know how to laugh / but I don’t know happiness.” While the album borrows mostly from R&B and new jack swing, it becomes more experimental with the Bjork-penned title track, accompanied with a video that could not have explored the collective unconscious better if Carl Jung directed it. The video for “Bedtime Story” is the first instance of what would become Madonna’s long history of culture-plucking spiritual inquiry, and to this day is stored in a collection at the Museum of Modern Art. As a pair, “Human Nature” and “Bedtime Story” prove that Madonna owned her sexuality and would not be eclipsed by it. While the former fully embraces the decisions she made with previous albums, the latter dismantles the “slut” narrative that her overt sexuality discredits her depth as a performer. Surely people would see this as a feminist masterpiece, no?

Still, critics didn’t get it. The New York Times’ Jon Pareles waxed nostalgic for when “Madonna thrived in the 1980s on being sensational and suggestive against a tame mainstream backdrop,” calling her more recent work “vulgar instead of shocking.” Critical reception continued to focus on the scandal of her attitude rather than the actual record. “Madonna’s career has never really been about music; it’s been about titillation, about image, about publicity,” began one TIME review, which wasn’t unique in its premise. Any mention of the album’s experimental sound or numerous collaborations were overshadowed by her promiscuous image and once again left cheapened. Bedtime Stories as an album was not the clear apology the public demanded, and its emotional depth was largely ignored. At best, it was thought of as Madonna’s return to a safer expression of sexuality.

The record found commercial success with the release of “Secret,” and “Take a Bow,”. Today, Bedtime Stories is not the first album that comes to mind in Madonna’s legacy. It is, however, the most relevant to many of the cultural conversations that are still happening. Had she acquiesced to the public’s call for apology, it could have set a dangerous standard for how the public can decree an artist’s silence, and it would have allowed the categories for female singers to remain in place. Critical anticipation of the album predicted either a penitent pop star or a one-dimensional sexpot. She defeated both categories, and left the critics to ponder if sexuality and solidity are as mutually exclusive as they had hoped.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014



(Reuters) – Costumes, gowns and jewelry worn by Madonna in films such as “Evita” and “A League of Their Own” and in the “Material Girl” music video will be the highlights of a celebrity auction next month in Beverly Hills, Julien’s Auctions said on Tuesday.

They are among the more than 140 items from Madonna’s life and career that could fetch a combined total of up to $500,000 in the two-day in-house and online auction beginning Nov. 7.

“This is the biggest collection of Madonna items ever to come to auction at one time,” said Martin Nolan, the executive director of the auction house.

Many of the items in the auction are from a collection amassed by Marquee Capital, a London-based niche asset management company specializing in alternative investments, and other sources and collectors.

Among the stand-out lots is the strapless, evening gown, mink cape and jewelry Madonna wore in her “Material Girl” music video, which together could sell for at much as $70,000.

Nolan said Madonna admired Marilyn Monroe and had chosen to wear the pink gown that the actress had worn back in the 1950s when she made the film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

“We have that particular outfit,” said Nolan.

The auction will also include the inauguration dress Madonna, 56, wore when she played Eva Peron, the first lady of Argentina, in the hit 1996 musical “Evita;” the uniform, ball and catcher’s mitt from 1992’s “A League of Their Own;” and the white jumpsuit, mink coat and cowboy hat she wore in the “Music” video.

In addition to the beaded, ivory gown from “Evita,” Julien’s is selling 38 costumes the pop diva wore from the 85 that were featured in the film.

The wedding dress, veil and shoes that Madonna wore when she married actor Sean Penn in 1985 in California are expected to fetch up to $60,000, and the annulment papers ending the union in 1987 will also be offered. The couple divorced in 1989.

Madonna was named the highest-earning celebrity in 2013 by Forbes magazine. She raked in an estimated $125 million from June 2012 to June 2013, thanks to her worldwide MNDA Tour, merchandising sales, her fragrance and her Material Girl clothing line.

“She really is a true icon, highly talented and a very smart businesswoman,” said Nolan.

The Madonna collection, which is expected to attract collectors, museums and investors, is part of Julien’s “Icons & Idols: Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which will include more than 700 lots, representing 40 artists such a pop singers Katy Perry, Beyonce and Lady Gaga, and country-western star Naomi Judd.

“They are selling their own items and a generous portion is going to go to their charities,” said Nolan, adding the total estimate for the entire sale is $1.2 million to $1.8 million.

by Patricia Reaney

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Billboard Cover: Managers of U2, Pharrell, Madonna & More Unite to Revolutionize the Music Industry

By Andrew Hampp | October 17, 2014 8:00 AM EDT

Guy Oseary is unveiling the new Maverick: music’s biggest, most fiercely protected secret of the year, in which he’s rallying eight other top artist managers to partner with Live Nation and potentially reinvent a broken industry

Guy Oseary has proven, if nothing else, that he can keep a secret. From everyone -- the music industry, his colleagues, his clients, even his wife -- and for months now.

But the secret's so important, so game-changing in its scope, that it has given him the rare occasion to be in Los Angeles long enough to accommodate a four-hour-plus block of meetings, keeping at bay a schedule filled with the global itineraries that come with managing superstar acts like Madonna, U2 and Alicia Keys -- not to mention a tech fund with Ashton Kutcher and billionaire Ron Burkle, A-Grade Investments, that has more than 20 companies in its portfolio.

Today, Oseary, 42, has privately invited eight of his fellow music managers to his spacious, Spanish-style Beverly Hills mansion for a barbecue -- and the public reveal, to an awaiting Billboard writer and camera crew, of their first-ever joint meeting as Maverick, Oseary and Live Nation's most aggressive attempt to shake up an industry that has been plugging holes for years. None of the managers' own employees even know why their bosses will be off the grid on this humid October Tuesday.

Joining Oseary are Laffitte Management's Ron Laffitte, I Am Other's Caron Veazey, Blueprint Group's Gee Roberson and Cortez Bryant, Reign Deer's Larry Rudolph and Adam Leber, Quest Management's Scott Rodger and Spalding Entertainment's Clarence Spalding. Collectively, they manage more than two dozen of the planet's biggest artists. And as of Oct. 17, all nine will be joining their companies and rebranding them and their respective employees as "Maverick," a name Oseary's client Madonna gave the label she co-founded in 1992. (Oseary led A&R at the label -- at age 22 -- and became chairman/CEO before it folded in 2007.)

It's a watershed moment for the management community, which has never been about hand-holding and problem-solving. Maverick is convening experts in pop, rock, R&B/hip-hop and country to make an unprecedented bet on the role of live events and technology in music's future. (The managers' clients are just now learning of the new formation.) Leber believes they'll find opportunities "beyond music, such as tech or consumer goods."

For Maverick's principals, the deal couldn't come at a better time. Music's main money source is at its starkest, most irreversible crossroads in history: Record sales hit an all-time low for the Nielsen SoundScan era in August, and year-to-date unit sales have dropped 14 percent in 2014. And with record-label marketing budgets practically nonexistent these days, managers, whose standard fee remains 15 percent of earnings, have taken on chief marketing officer roles for their clients. Witness Apple's $100 million ad push in support of U2's new album, Songs of Innocence, which Oseary secured in place of an advance radio campaign. They're also overseeing tours, as the live sector hits all-time highs -- including this summer's biggest stadium boom in 20 years.

The business incentives for Maverick's nine founding partners, who will leverage their collective assets and skills to build business, are undeniable. They won't detail the financial arrangements among the managers, Maverick and Live Nation, but their creative cross-pollination is already on display. In July, Oseary and Laffitte teamed up to co-manage Alicia Keys, Laffitte is connecting Oseary with radio consultants for the next U2 single, and Roberson is consulting on Madonna's next album with Oseary.

And there are plans for expansion. SEFG founder Shawn Gee, manager of The Roots and Jill Scott, will bring extra R&B expertise to the group. "It's not a closed-door event. We want other like-minded people," says Oseary. His vast Rolodex is drawn from his separate Hollywood talent firm Untitled Entertainment, the must-attend Oscar parties he hosts at home and the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that populate his A-Grade portfolio. "He's one of the most connected people I've ever met," says Laffitte.

Oseary's tech savvy may cement the new unit's legacy. A-Grade is currently valued at $150 million, according to an industry source, and includes investments in Airbnb and Uber. Maverick's members will have a direct pipeline into those resources. Rodger, for example, has key clients (Paul McCartney, Arcade Fire) who own their catalogs and are poised for big moves in areas including copyright administration (A-Grade has investments in Spotify and SoundCloud, while Oseary has a personal investment in digital-rights firm INDmusic.) And Leber has been working with Sherpa Ventures, whose founder Shervin Pishevar helped fund Uber, Warby Parker and Tumblr.

Although declining to comment, Live Nation Entertainment president/CEO Michael Rapino surely hopes all this will help the company reassert itself as a powerhouse following the departure of chairman Irving Azoff at the end of 2012. (He took lucrative touring clients the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac with him.) The Maverick managers, including leader Oseary, will report to Rapino and Live Nation's Artist Nation management group, which houses more than 100 managers overseeing 250-plus acts like Maroon 5 and Kings of Leon. Oseary, Laffitte, Quest and Reign Deer already moved into Artist Nation's spacious new headquarters in Beverly Hills earlier this year, while Blueprint will maintain its New York office and Spalding will stay in Nashville.

Despite the streamlining potential, the Mavericks don't anticipate reductions in staff. Rodger says they'll boost head count: "Hiring a radio promotions team for one artist's album means they're not busy nine months of the year. We always wanted to have digital marketing in-house, because what happens when an artist is off-cycle and you have to fire everybody?" Maverick's not alone in making moves in the management space: Coran Capshaw's Red Light Management brings together 60 managers and more than 200 artists, with holdings in venues, branding, real estate and festivals that push the company's earnings past $100 million. And Azoff, having inked a $125 million deal with Madison Square Garden Media last fall, has been making aggressive acquisitions in comedy, EDM and branding talent, picking up No Doubt and Gwen Stefani as clients as well.

But with the mixed response to U2's free download deal with Apple surely fresh in his mind, Oseary says that "there are still a lot of people who are scared of innovation. There's still a group that's so quick to judge anyone trying [new things], and that's one of our handicaps in the music business. We could all do so much more if a bunch of us got in a room more often."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Guy Oseary on Madonna – Ariel Pink collaboration

"Madonna and I have never heard of Ariel Pink. The label may have reached out but M has no interest in working with mermaids.”



Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

Bored New Jersey housewife Roberta fills her days by reading the personals ads and following an ongoing romance between “Jim” and “Susan”, a mysterious drifter who appears to lead the kind of free-spirited life about which Roberta can only dream. And dream she does, until the day she actually shows up at the couple’s pre-arranged rendezvous in New York City … and after a bump on the head, a bout of amnesia turns Roberta into Susan and opens the door to intrigue, laughter and love.

Starring: Rosanna Arquette, Madonna, Aidan Quinn, Laurie Metcalf, John Turturro, Giancarlo Esposito
Director: Susan Seidelman

Special Features:
• Audio Commentary by the Producers
• Original and Alternate Endings
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• Optional English Subtitles

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Madonna: The World's Biggest Star Is Just Hitting Her Stride

After more than three decades on top, Madonna has never been more relevant, more powerful or more interesting than she is at this very moment. How in the world does she do it? I'm writing about Madonna. Again.

In one of those full circle moments Oprah tends to get very excited about, my first professional journalism assignment came in the form of writing a review of True Blue, the Detroit native's album released in 1986. As an ambitious writer/editor of 21, I took the job very seriously. Just a day after turning in my earnest critique (a rave), I arrived in Manhattan to start my dream job at Esquire, magazine home to some of my writing heroes Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese and John Gregory Dunne. It had been a very good week.

The first time I heard Madonna was back in 1982 during my first semester at Tulane University. As I hurried to get dressed to meet friends for a long night of New Orleans' particular brand of debauchery (how I do miss those days), I heard a voice I couldn't place coming from my roommate's radio -- female, African-American, sounding a bit like a grittier Jody Watley. The song was "Everybody," Madonna's first released track, and something about the song, her voice and her one-word moniker struck a winning chord with me. Her second hit, "Holiday," an irresistible happy dance confection, solidified that this Madonna was the next hot R&B female vocalist and I wanted to hear more. You can imagine my shock when I first laid eyes on Madonna on MTV burning up my screen in her video for "Borderline"--her first Billboard Top 10 smash --and discovered that Madonna was, in fact, white and blonde! Who was this Madonna? I was hooked.

It's surreal recounting the early days we were first introduced to the ambitious life force tornado bursting with in-your-face bravura that became the all-encompassing, omnipresent, intergalactic superstar with a Biblical name.

From the moment we laid eyes on Madonna--with crazy fishnet stockings, dirty jeans and fingerless lace gloves--she had us under her spell. As the singer once famously said to a reporter, "Love me or hate me, but you have to deal with me." And dealing with her is something the world has been doing with wide-eyed fascination for more than three decades. There's no stopping this woman.

Madonna's tireless, unapologetic, get-out-of-my-way armor she wears heavily reminds me -- oddly -- of the late great Joan Rivers. Think about it: Both women, against impossible odds, not only survived to reach their respective fields' mountaintop, but remained relevant competing against upstarts decades their junior. I'm not sure if anyone had connected Madonna with Rivers before, but their shared take-no-prisoners, relentless modus operandi is undeniable and quite admirable.

At the height of Madonna's white-hot fame, there wasn't a more recognizable woman on the planet, save Princess Diana. I took personal pride as year in, year out Madonna accumulated more ammunition--fame, money, power--and her numerous critics of all stripes sharpened their knives claiming that the public's interest in Madonna had run its course. With the release of every album, every film, every failed romance, every trumped-up moral controversy, the cry was the same: How could a marginally talented singer hold the world in the palm of her hand for this long? How indeed?

Over the course of her remarkable career, Madonna has been called many things--Material Girl, Queen of Reinvention, Madge, diva, maverick, whore--which, for vastly different reasons, all are partly right, but mostly wrong. What Madonna ultimately achieved is nothing less than reigning as the universe's Queen of Pop, as in music, culture, life. Madonna has impacted the planet's pop cultural zeitgeist more significantly than anyone in my lifetime. By a mile. Her detractors be damned: The world we inhabit is a better, less predictable place with Madonna in it -- it's also more colorful, more artistic, more tolerant, more exciting. It's just more, a hell of a lot more.

And then there's her music and those songs happily stuck in our heads forever: "Like A Prayer," "Papa Don't Preach," "Into The Groove," "Like A Virgin," "Take A Bow," "Material Girl," "Ray Of Light," "Cherish," "Open Your Heart," "Vogue," "Music," "Deeper And Deeper," "Don't Tell Me," "Frozen," "Hung Up," "Rain," "Erotica," "Lucky Star," "Secret," "La Isla Bonita" and on and on and on--a head-boppin' jukebox for the ages.

Here's what those songs have done for Madonna. Bluntly -- and indisputably -- Madonna is the best-selling female recording artist of all time and is certified as such by Guinness World Records. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Madonna is also the best-selling female artist of the 20th century with an astonishing 64 million albums. Only The Beatles rank ahead of Madonna on Billboard's 100 All-Time Top Artists, making her the most successful solo artist in the history of the American singles chart. Billboard also anointed Madonna the top-touring female artist ever. Ever -- as in all of recorded history. To top things off, Madonna -- that "moderately talented singer" who most critics agreed had vastly outstayed her welcome -- was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her very first year of eligibility. Nobody's bigger, folks. And nobody's done more with less than Madonna. Nobody. Ever.

Of course, it's not like Madonna came out of nowhere without any influences to guide her. In her earliest incarnations, you can see a bit of Cher in her shtick, a touch of Bette Midler's sass, a dose of Marilyn Monroe's ingénue mystique, but, incredibly, Madonna never came off as derivative. She borrowed, sure, but she always Madonnaized it. When she appropriated dance moves from the club underground, she made it palatable and relatable to the general public by demystifying its very subversiveness. Call it merely her mastery of reinvention if you want, but what Madonna's thousands of rapid-fire changing looks, clothes, hairstyles and passions have resulted in is an intoxicatingly graphic, multi-dimensional scrapbook for contemporary sociologists to marvel. Is it any wonder why several universities offer advanced courses analyzing the many facets of Madonna's amazing career?

But while Madonna was inspired by Cher, Bette and Marilyn, it's eye opening (to say the least) how, um, directly, Madonna's younger musical contemporaries have liberally taken from her. Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Kylie Minogue and Miley Cyrus all owe Madonna a huge debt of creative gratitude for sure, but most audaciously, gifted vocalist and provocateur, Lady Gaga, seems to have dissected Madonna in an unsubtle Single White Female copycat-stalker manner. I mean, c'mon. But no problem, I'm from the school that believes imitation is the highest form of flattery and the more talented women the merrier. If anyone can pivot away from the current crop of pop stars and go in a new, unexpected direction is Madonna. Trust me, people.

With the buzz for Madonna's new album--coming later this year--generating a deafening "this is the best in her career" frenzy, the 56-year-old gorgeous single mother is exactly where she wants to be. But old attitudes are hard to shake. After telling a close (though pretentious) friend that I was planning to write a big Madonna story about her unprecedented perseverance at the top of the music world competing with the likes of Beyoncé and Pink, great singers decades her junior, my friend's reaction was immediate: "Madonna? Really?" He punctuated his sarcastic query with an epic eye roll to leave no room for misinterpretation. I asked him where his eye roll was for Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney, both of whom are still touring nonstop well into their great-grandfatherly years. His silence was both deafening and telling. It's a friggin' woman thing. Again.

That's the thing about powerful, no B.S. women like Madonna, like Joan Rivers, like Barbra Streisand--they get labeled as "difficult" or "aggressive" or "whore"--anything to knock them off their perch a bit for upsetting the natural (male) order of things. Well, Madonna's having none of it. When she was photographed by Steven Meisel completely naked hitchhiking in broad daylight on a busy public street in Miami Beach (looking gorgeous, incidentally) in her wildly controversial book, Sex, a reporter asked her if she was "sorry" for causing such a fuss. Madonna burst out laughing and on her next album, released a single called "I'm Not Sorry." Perfect.

Is there any wonder why Madonna has always had a lock on the gay community's heart? From her true friendships with artist Keith Haring and photographer Herb Ritts--both of whom died of AIDS--to her current ferocious defense of rock band Pussy Riot's right to perform freely and for gays to exist without fear in Vladimir Putin's increasingly draconian Russia, Madonna isn't only fighting for what's fair and just in her own life, but in yours.

One of the first times Madonna ever appeared on TV was her debut on Dick Clark's iconic American Bandstand. After performing, Clark asked the young singer a prescient question: "What are your dreams?" Madonna, with the chutzpah of a cat who ate the canary, looked at the television legend, smiled and said sweetly, "To rule the world." Against all the odds, she's done it.

Madonna is the reigning Queen of Pop. And, yes, of course, her haters will continue to hate, but she's already won the game. Boy, did she ever.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Madonna In NYC This Week October 2014 Pics.


What was it like working with Madonna on her new album?

It was good. I was in here doing a meeting or something and she was working with Diplo. They were like, “Oh, maybe you can play some piano on this thing.” And I was like, “Alright. I’ll try. If you hate it you can take it off.” It was just like that, casual and cool.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

BuzzFeed: Madonna is the definitive #1 Pop Diva!

What else is new? Nothing! According to the popular Madonna tops the definitive ranking of pop divas!

We all agree, of course, about the obvious #1, but what about the other positions?
Tell us your opinion.

Here’s the complete list:

1. Madonna
2. Beyoncé
3. Mariah Carey
4. Whitney Houston
5. Janet Jackson
6. Diana Ross
7. Dolly Parton
8. Aretha Franklin
9. Mary J. Blige
10. Adele
11. Cher
12. Rihanna
13. Tina Turner
14. Barbra Streisand
15. Kylie Minogue
16. Amy Winehouse
17. Erykah Badu
18. Shakira
19. Lady Gaga
20. Britney Spears
21. Donna Summer
22. Taylor Swift
23. Celine Dion
24. Lauryn Hill
25. Jennifer Lopez
26. Miley Cyrus
27. P!nk
28. Kelly Clarkson
29. Christina Aguiler
30. Lana Del Rey
31. Katy Perry

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Madonna's Bedtime Story Turns 20 This Month!

Twenty years ago this month, Madonna released her sixth studio album, Bedtime Stories, a classic that came out at a strange crossroads in her career.
While Madonna certainly didn’t lack for fame in 1994, the button-pushing Erotica album had soured many critics and fans. For the first time in a decade of superstardom, people weren’t shocked by her antics anymore — even worse, they often seemed exhausted by her.

Artistically speaking, she’d spent the last four years challenging and subverting America’s sexual puritanism. But after releasing an entire book called Sex featuring nude pictures of herself and other celebrities, there didn’t seem to be anywhere else to go in that realm.

It didn’t help that she’d detonated 14 F-bombs on a March 1994 episode of The Late Show With David Letterman, an infamous appearance that racked up FCC complaints and distanced her from Middle America. Evita was two years away and the overt sexuality of Erotica was growing stale — so when Bedtime Stories hit, Madonna’s career was at a strange point.

To that end, Bedtime Stories is lyrically and musically a much warmer album. She sacrifices some bawdy entendres (compare Erotica’s “Where Life Begins” to Bedtime’s “Inside of Me”) and focuses on autobiographical matter.

Instead of Erotica’s chilly, pounding dance pop, Bedtime puts Madonna in softer sonic territory. There’s the singer-songwriter-y “Secret,” the avant pop of “Bedtime Story” (co-written by Bjork), the new jack swing jam “I’d Rather Be Your Lover” (featuring Meshell Ndegeocello rapping), the Herbie Hancock-sampling ballad “Sanctuary” and the lush, orchestral R&B of “Take a Bow.”

But softer sounds didn’t necessarily mean muted lyrics. “Human Nature” finds Madonna taking on her critics more directly than ever with a logical, defiant attack on slut-shaming. And while album opener “Survival” is a cozy R&B-pop song, it was similarly unrepentant in attitude.

The inviting R&B sound of Bedtime Stories is due in part to co-producer Dallas Austin, who longtime Madonna backup singer Donna de Lory describes as “part of her tribe at that time.” Also on board were co-producers Nellee Hooper, Dave “Jam” Hall (hot off Mary J. Blige’s debut, What’s the 411?) and, of course, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.
While Edmonds had recently worked with TLC and Toni Braxton, he tells Billboard it was one of his own hits that brought him to Madonna’s attention.

“Madonna was a fan of a song I did, ‘When Can I See You.’ Because of that, she was interested in working with me,” Edmonds recalls. “She came to me for lush ballads, so that’s where we went.”

Babyface would collaborate with Madonna on three songs — two of which, “Forbidden Love” and “Take a Bow,” ended up on the album. Although the latter became Madonna’s long-running No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Edmonds says he wasn’t gunning for chart-toppers when they met.

“I wasn’t so much thinking about the charts,” Edmonds recalls. “I think I was more in awe of the fact that I was working with Madonna. It was initially surreal, but then you get to know the person a little bit, and you calm down and then it’s just work. And work is fun.”

When Edmonds played Madonna the bare bones of a song that would become “Take a Bow,” she immediately took to it. “It was just a beat and the chords. From there we collaborated and built it up,” he says. “I was living in Beverly Hills and I created a little studio in my house, so she came over there to write.”

As for “Forbidden Love,” Edmonds recalls that track came together with similar speed. “She heard the basic track and it all started coming out, melodies and everything… It was a much easier process than I thought it would be.”

Donna De Lory, however, wasn’t surprised at how easily Bedtime Stories came together when she and fellow backup vocalist Niki Haris were called in to provide harmonies on “Survival,” co-written by Austin. At that point, she’d been performing with Madonna for seven years.

“The minute you walked in [the studio], she was giving you the lyric sheet,” De Lory tells Billboard. “That was the atmosphere — we’re not here to just hang out. It’s fun, but we’re here to work and get this done.”

And what Madonna sets out to do, Madonna invariably succeeds at. De Lory recalls the sessions for “Survival” took just a “couple of hours” and there were no retakes.
Similar to Babyface, De Lory describes working with Madonna as a creative partnership, even if she was the one setting the tone. “Once she got her ideas out, she was open to your ideas. You didn’t want to go in with her and right off the bat say, ‘Well, I hear this,’ because she was so specific and articulate. She already had the sound in her head. But after she’d spoken, we’d put our two cents in. We always had ideas, like, ‘Can we answer this line with an extra “survival” [in the background]?'”

The result of that session is the perfect opener to the album — a lush, beguiling anthem to resilience and statement of purpose. “I’ll never be an angel, I’ll never be a saint it’s true/ I’m too busy surviving, whether it’s heaven or hell/ I’m gonna be living to tell,” Madonna sings, nodding to her critics while simultaneously brushing them off.
Speaking of critics, Bedtime Stories received very positive reviews, especially compared to her two previous albums, the divisive Erotica and her Dick Tracy companion I’m Breathless.

It was similarly successful on the charts, debuting at a respectable No. 3 slot on the Billboard 200. The first single, “Secret,” also peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. (FYI, Madonna teased “Secret” in an audio message available exclusively online prior to its release — a prescient publicity move for an era where less than 15 percent of adults had Internet access.)

But it was the second single from Bedtime, the Babyface-produced “Take a Bow,” that became its biggest hit. Topping the Hot 100 for seven weeks, it became Madonna’s 11th No. 1 hit and is still her longest-running No. 1 on the Hot 100.
Despite the unqualified success of “Take a Bow,” Bedtime’s next two singles — the Bjork-penned “Bedtime Story” and “Human Nature” — stalled, becoming her first singles in a decade to not crack the Hot 100’s top 40. While De Lory recalls that Madonna was directing her energy back toward acting at that point anyway, the tepid performance of those singles could partly explain why Madonna didn’t tour behind the album.

She did, however, perform “Take a Bow” with Babyface at the American Music Awards in 1995, an experience he recalls as terrifying. “I was nervous as hell. But you couldn’t actually see my legs shaking under the suit,” Edmonds says. “When we finished, she told me she had never been that nervous before. That was crazy to me — I was thinking, ‘You’re Madonna, you’re on stage all the time!'”

These days, Madonna is readying a new album for a presumed 2015 release and Edmonds is hot off producing an album for another unstoppable icon: Barbra Streisand. Looking back on Bedtime Stories 20 years later, he says the whole experience seems surreal. “Today when I think about it, it’s hard to believe I even did that with Madonna,” Edmonds says. “It’s always nice to be part of an album that’s a classic — but you never know when you’re a part of it at the time. Only time can tell.”

As for De Lory, she stopped performing with Madonna in 2007. Today, she’s following her own muse, performing and crafting world-music-influenced electronic pop on albums like her most recent, The Unchanging.

Recalling her time with Madonna, she’s still in awe of the pop icon’s total immersion in the recording process. “I was constantly amazed at her ability to focus in on the intonation and rhythm of our vocal parts,” De Lory says. “When you worked with her, you had to be so on. She was very present in the moment — she knew what she wanted, she got what she wanted, and then she was moving on.”

Source: Billboard