Sunday, April 26, 2015


The last time Madonna was in town for a concert, I had a chance to sit down with her and discuss her thoughts on business. When I contacted her agent, they were more than open to her getting together with me for a chat. When she arrived at the Appointment-Plus office for the interview, she gave me a big hug and even agreed to sing a quick song for everyone. She put her arm around me and we sang “Papa Don’t Preach” together. The employees went wild. Madonna even suggested that I come up on stage and sing a song with her in her upcoming concert.

Then I woke up.
No, the great Madonna did not really visit our office and no, she didn’t agree to have a nice chat with me. And, no, I’m not going to hop up on any stage and sing, not even after 10 beers at a local karaoke bar.
But, I wish I could talk with her because she’s not only one of the most successful recording artists of all time, but she’s an incredibly successful businessperson. We all know that she’s a worldwide brand, but did you know she also has several clothing lines, has opened a chain of health clubs, has written books and has directed films?

But even though she has been involved in a number of ventures, what is most impressive about her is how she has developed her personal brand.

The Material Girl’s career has had an abundance of controversy. From her religious symbolism in the Like a Prayer video to her provocative performance of “Like a Virgin” on the MTV Video Music Awards, she’s no beautiful stranger to ruffling feathers. When you are controversial, people talk about you. Look at the controversy that GoDaddy created with their GoDaddy Girl TV commercials. Many people found them offensive, but look at what it did to GoDaddy’s business. It put them on the map, eventually leading to their recent IPO.

But it’s not Madonna’s ability to generate attention through controversy that gives us the most important lessons for our businesses. Nor is it the value of hard work and perseverance, which are two of her strongest traits. The most important lesson that we can learn from Madonna is the need to reinvent yourself. It’s something that she has arguably done more successfully than any other celebrity in history.
We all know that nothing stands still in today’s business world.
Everything is evolving, sometimes right before our very eyes. Industries are being disrupted left and right. Just look at what Uber is doing to the taxi industry and what smart phones are doing to the camera business. And, who knows what the Internet of Things movement will have our lives looking like in a couple years.
It used to only be the business gurus on the conference speaking circuit who talked about the need for businesses to reinvent themselves. Now it’s true blue gospel. If you aren’t actively creating a culture that embraces change, you better get started right away because change is coming to a theater near you faster than a Kodak moment.

So, it’s a given that your business has to evolve. But what’s not talked about as much but is just as critical is that you have to evolve, as well. Yes, you.
We’ve all seen long-time CEOs, department heads and other company leaders get replaced because they were no longer effective in their roles. They couldn’t change. They were set in their ways and weren’t actively trying to reinvent themselves.
It’s hard to reinvent yourself. It wasn’t easy for Madonna to evolve, but she innately understood the importance of changing with the times. It requires a deliberate decision to do so, a lot of preparation, and a healthy dose of courage. To reinvent yourself, you have to think differently and act differently. You have to keep your mind open to new thoughts and ideas, you have to work hard at it, and you have to accept that it won’t be easy.

But even though reinventing yourself is difficult, it’s imperative to your success in today’s business environment. The world is moving too fast these days to think that today’s version of you will be effective tomorrow.

Madonna has provided us a great example of the value in reinventing yourself. It’s not easy to do, but it’s also not an option in our Internet-speed business world. You must evolve if you want to be successful over the long term. So, get into the groove and make the commitment today to reinvent yourself. Don’t count on your lucky star to help. Only you can make the decision to cross that borderline into the new you.

Source : bizjournals

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Making Of Madonna's First Album Cover!

The cover of Madonna.
There's a new theme every day on It's Vintage. Read more articles on today's topic: Club-Kid Style.

Carin Goldberg — the art director behind Madonna’s debut album cover — spoke to the Cut about her first experience with the then-unknown pop star.

It’s the first question that anybody asks me, even today: What was it like to work with Madonna? People think that maybe something dramatic or interesting or kind of wild might have happened, based on, you know, Madonna’s persona. But I would say that Madonna was probably the easiest job I ever had — the most cooperation from a recording artist I think I ever had. She was a true professional, even at that young age.

It was ’83, and at that point I had my own small design firm. Warner Bros. called and asked me to do her cover as a freelance designer. When I got the call, I rolled my eyes, because it was another [musician with a] one-word name. At that time it had become cliché to have a one-word name, because of Cher, so I remember thinking, God, it’s going to be one of those. So I really went into it with very little expectation. The fact of the matter is that nobody knew who she was. As far as I was concerned, she could have been a one-trick pony and we might never have heard of her again.

Because she wasn’t famous, the budget was not huge at all. I asked her to come dressed in the kind of clothes she would normally wear. I said, “You’ve got your thing, just do it.” There was nothing particularly shocking about what she was wearing at the time. I think she just had a unique style. A lot of people did — Betsey Johnson, Cyndi Lauper, Diane Keaton. There was a lot going on then that was all about women wearing all kinds of weird combinations. We were all doing that kind of eclectic look, but Madonna did it with a much more audacious, sexual edge. It wasn’t so much about trying to be a rock star — it was more just making something from something you had around. Taking some piece of fabric and wrapping it around your head, for example. Over the years her style has changed, given her independence and wealth and ability to have designers design for her, but there’s still a kind of eclecticism to some degree.

My memory was that she wore some kind of cut shirt — there was definitely a lot of belly hanging out. And a balloon-y pant with the waist and legs rolled up. A lot of artists really didn’t have very much taste — they don’t always know who they are, and they need to be told — especially these days. Madonna walked in ready-made. She knew who she was. We didn’t have to worry about styling her.

She came with a lot of bracelets on, and so I said, “I think we ought to focus on the bracelets, let’s really try to get that in the picture.” That was the one iconic thing about her outfit, besides the rag in her hair. I thought she needed even more, so the girlfriend of the photographer went into her jewelry box and took as many bracelets as she could find, to give it a bit more boom.

We put on her music and I asked her to dance. There was not much else we needed to do, because she was a performer. It was short, it was sweet. She was prompt, she did everything we asked her to do, she said thank you. It could not have been more easy. I would not call her in any way warm and cuddly, but she was not unfriendly. She was just all business.

And who knew? In my wildest dreams, could I have ever imagined? I mean, I knew she had a little talent. She got there and danced, and sang “Holiday,” I think. I liked it, we could dance to it. But who the hell could have predicted after that? It totally exploded. That album was the moment.

I’m really glad we did a full-face portrait for the cover. I think it helped — even just incrementally. But it’s hard to know. I did my job, it went out there, and life went on. And I will be forever the art director who did Madonna’s first cover, which I suppose is not a bad thing.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


While her music industry success is apparent, what is less obvious, are the valuable lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Madonna.

Material Girl. Madge. Provocateur. Icon. At the age of 56, and with the recent release of her 13th studio album, Rebel Heart, Madonna, has had many famous monikers, as well as her fair share of very public successes (introducing the world to the original pop diva) and commercial flops (Dick Tracy).

What entrepreneurs should take note of, however, is that Madonna is a savvy business woman, with one professor at Cranfield School Management going so far as calling her “America’s smartest businesswoman.”

As controversial as she may be, Madonna’s success in the music business is clear. In 2014, she topped a list of the world’s wealthiest recording artists, besting a list of musicians including Paul McCartney, Jay Z and Celine Dion.

While her music industry success is apparent, what is less obvious, are the valuable lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Madonna. Whether you love her or hate her, here are seven key lessons every entrepreneur can learn from Madonna:

1. Age is a state of mind.
Not only does Madonna exemplify the idea that age is a state of mind, she also is not shy about calling out ageism when she encounters it. When it comes to her age, Madonna says she has experienced people “… judging me by my age… Because women, generally, when they reach a certain age, have accepted that they’re not allowed to behave a certain way.”

Ageism — especially towards women — is prevalent in the business world, and entrepreneurs can learn from Madonna’s defiant response. Her inspiring answer to ageist critics? “I don’t follow the rules. I never did, and I’m not going to start.”

2. Ignore the haters.
Entrepreneurs inevitably will encounter naysayers on their road to success. Madonna exemplifies someone who focuses on the positive — her fans — pushing forward and ignoring naysayers. Speaking about the need to persevere in the face of negativity, Madonna offered this motivating quote in a 2013 magazine article, “One of the many things I learned from all of this: If you aren’t willing to fight for what you believe in, then don’t even enter the ring.”

3. Take care of yourself.
As an entrepreneur, your personal health and well-being is of the utmost importance, yet many entrepreneurs end up putting their own health on the back burner. This is a big mistake. You need physical endurance to make the hard journey, which is full of stress and is physically, emotionally and mentally taxing. Throughout her career — and well into her 50s — Madonna is a great example of someone who keeps herself in prime physical condition.

4. Turn lemons into lemonade.
When her new album was hacked before it was due to be released, Madonna turned it into a positive, strategically releasing several songs before releasing the finished product.

As an entrepreneur, you will encounter inevitable setbacks. The key will be your ability to turn such crises into opportunities.

5. Think about succession planning early.
When entrepreneurs involve their children in their business, kids learn valuable like skills such as responsibility, while founders gain priceless extra time with their kids. As a mom of four, Madonna is a great example of a woman who involves her children in her business. Her son, Rocco, has danced on stage during many of her concerts and she partnered with her daughter, Lourdes, to create the teenage fashion brand, Material Girl, for Macy’s.

Encouraging your kids to be a part of the “family business” also helps with succession planning for the day when you are ready to hand over the reins. If you don’t have kids, you can still take a cue from Madonna and think about grooming your protégés for succession planning or, at the very least, promoting them within your business.

6. Think differently.
It’s no surprise that Madonna has been a trendsetter for years. As one of the first artists to demonstrate the power of music videos in promoting an album or to offer live performances that border on performance art, she ushered in an entirely new era and approach to entertaining. Had she not thought differently about how music is brought to the public, pop artists who followed in her footsteps might not have found success. While some of her trends have caught on more than others, she has never been afraid to think differently. The ability to think outside the box and create something brand new is one of the most important and essential elements to being a successful entrepreneur.

7. The show must go on.
Perhaps the biggest lesson entrepreneurs can learn from Madonna? When Madonna recently tumbled down a staircase during her live performance, she got right back up and resumed performing – without missing a beat. If you fall, pick yourself up and keep going, because no matter what, the show must go on!

Friday, April 10, 2015


Madonna made an appearance tonight on The Tonight Show that will have people who think she’s “too old” running for cover. She performed “Holiday” with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots. Madonna then did a satire of a standup comedy routine, which people didn’t seem to understand was satire.

The biggest shock on Thursday’s The Tonight Show was when Madonna performed Rebel Heart track “B***h I’m Madonna” with a sock, gold grill, gold chains, and everything else that gave her a gangster look. She sexed it up with her dancers and came across as a drunk grandmother — but that was the purpose of the whole performance. It was a huge middle finger to those who constantly say she is “too old.” Madonna also danced up a storm like a twenty-year old would. Twitter was filled with raves.

Madonna recently talked about the criticism she often receives for being “too old” in Cosmopolitan and that she thinks sexism is still a huge problem.

“Don’t be fooled, not much has changed — certainly not for women. We still live in a very sexist society that wants to limit people. Since I started, I’ve had people giving me a hard time because they didn’t think you could be sexual or have sexuality or sensuality in your work and be intelligent at the same time. For me, the fight has never ended.”

In a controversial interview with Out Magazine, Madonna caused an uproar by saying that gay rights are more advanced than rights for women.

“Gay rights are way more advanced than women’s rights. People are a lot more open-minded to the gay community than they are to women, period. It’s moved along for the gay community, for the African-American community, but women are still just trading on their ass. To me, the last great frontier is women.”

Some people accused Madonna of not understanding that many women are also gay and African-American. However, others thought Madonna’s words were taken out of context, and that she meant to say one could still demean a woman and get no backlash, even though they would be punished for insulting an African-American or gay person.

Source : Inquisitr

Thursday, April 9, 2015


We have yet to see a Madonna guest appearance on Fox’s smash drama Empire, but the closest we have come thus far is the new music video for her latest Rebel Heart single, “Ghosttown.” Yes, that’s Terrence Howard, better known as Lucius Lyon, surviving the apocalypse and pointing a sniper rifle at the Queen of Pop before elegantly busting a move with her.

After waking up in the scourge of a nuked-out world, Madonna feels her way through the deserted society, I Am Legend-ing it up while Terrence Howard’s brooding loner suspiciously looks on. Eventually the two humans come into contact, inching toward each other until clasping their hands and dancing the forbidden dance of the last man and woman on earth. “Ghosttown” makes for a fitting soundtrack to the impressive choreographed sequence, although the image of a weary Howard proudly grasping the hand of a boy at the end of the video makes one long for a few seconds of “Drip Drop” as well.

Jonas Åkerlund helmed the new music video after directing the clips for Madonna singles like “Ray of Light” and “Music,” among others.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Madonna sits down with Cosmopolitan to celebrate 50 years of power, provocation, and living that Cosmo-girl life.

In May 1990, Madonna posed as the cover star of Cosmo’s 25th anniversary issue. Now, 25 years later, the icon sits down with the magazine to celebrate 50 years of power, provocation, and living that Cosmo-girl life. The May issue features not one, but four different covers of Madonna, on stands April 14. Check throughout the week to see all four.

On longevity in her career: “Popularity comes and goes. You need to know who you are, what you stand for, and why you’re here.”

On sexuality and ageism: “Don’t be fooled, not much has changed – certainly not for women. We still live in a very sexist society that wants to limit people. Since I started, I’ve had people giving me a hard time because they didn’t think you could be sexual or have sexuality or sensuality in your work and be intelligent at the same time. For me, the fight has never ended.”

On collaborating with Kanye West on her album Rebel Heart: “It’s a little bit of a bullfight, but we take turns. He knows that he’s walking into a room with a person with a strong point of view, and I do too. I listen to what he has to say, take it in, and he listens to what I say and takes it in. We didn’t agree on everything, but he has good ideas.”

On internet haters: “You can hide behind your computer or your phone and say whatever you want – you’re not known. Could you say it to my face? Would you say it to my face? I doubt it.”

For more of Madonna’s exclusive interview and photo shoot with Cosmopolitan, pick up the issue on newsstands April 14.

Friday, April 3, 2015


PARIS – He may be one of the world’s most famous designers, but Jean Paul Gaultier seems to be falling out of love with the fashion industry.

The French couturier — who found fame putting Madonna in a conical bra and helped shape global trends for four decades — shocked the fashion world by ending his ready-to-wear and menswear lines earlier this year.

Looking back through his four decades of creations he recalls the surprising origin of the bustier that first made him a household name in the U.S. — when a certain pop star from Michigan wore it on her “Blond Ambition” tour in 1990.

“It was not Madonna who wore my first conical bra, it was Nana my Teddy Bear. And when I was six, I wanted to have a doll, but my parents didn’t find it politically correct for a boy,” he said.

Madonna is still very much in his heart — and he defended her against ageist criticism that her fall in this year’s Brit Awards showed that, at 56 years old, she should be hanging up her pointy bra once and for all.

“Why do they attack her because of her age, and they don’t do it to men?” he asked.

“She got up as if it was nothing and to fall must have hurt a lot. She could have killed herself,” he said. “She’s a miracle because, well, she’s Madonna.”

The famed bra — and his Teddy Bear, Nana — can both be found in the Grand Palais exhibit in Paris, which runs until August 3.

Source : FoxBusiness