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Madonna speaks out about Aretha VMAs 'tribute'

Madonna just posted this picture and message on her Instagram page reflecting on the reactions 'the internet' had about her speech about Aretha Franklin at the VMAs:

I'm with the Winner!! The beautiful @camila_cabello ! So proud of her! 🌈💕🎉.And just to clarify: I was asked to present video of the year by MTV! And then they asked me to share any anecdotes I had in my career connected to Aretha Franklin! I shared a part of my journey and thanked Aretha for inspiring me along the way. I did not intend to do a tribute to her! That would be impossible in 2 minutes with all the noise and tinsel of an award show. I could never do her justice in this context or environment. Unfortunately most people have short attention spans, and are so quick to judge. I love Aretha! R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I Love Camilla! I love my dress! AND. I love-L O V E!! ♥️ and there is nothing anyone can say or do that will change that. #vmas #postivevibes

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Read the Full Transcript of Madonna's VMAs Tribute to Aretha Franklin

Madonna appeared at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards Monday night to present the award for Video of the Year. She also took time to give a lengthy speech in honor of the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Madonna focused on how Franklin's song helped her nail an audition that changed her life, leading to the career she has now.

Read the full transcript of her speech below.

'Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life. I left Detroit when I was 18. Thirty-five dollars in my pocket. My dream was to make it as a professional dancer. After years of struggling and being broke, I decided to go to auditions for musical theater. I heard the pay was better. I had no training or dreams ever ever becoming a singer, but I went for it.

I got cut, and rejected from every audition. Not tall enough. Not blend-in enough, not 12-octave-range enough, not pretty enough, not enough, enough. And then one day, a French disco sensation was looking for backup singers and dancers for his world tour. I thought, 'Why not? I could go back to getting robbed, held at gunpoint, and being mistaken for a prostitute in my third floor walk-up that was also a crack house.' That's right, I'm a rebel heart.

So I showed up to the audition, and two very large French record producers sat in the empty theater, daring me to be amazing. The dance audition went well. Then they asked me if I had sheet music and a song prepared. I panicked. I had overlooked this important part of the audition process. I had to think fast. My next meal was on the line. Fortunately, one of my favorite albums was Lady Soul by Aretha Franklin. I blurted out, 'You make me feel.' Silence. 'You make me feel like a natural woman.'

Two French guys nodded at me. I said, 'You know, by Aretha Franklin.' Again, mm-hmm. They looked over at the pianist. He shook his head. I don't need sheet music, I said, I know every word. I know the song by heart, I will sing it a capella. I could see that they didn't take me seriously, and why should they? Some skinny-ass while girl is going to come up here and belt out a song by one of the greatest soul singers who ever lived? A capella? I said, 'Bitch, I'm Madonna.' No, I didn't. I didn't say that. Because I wasn't Madonna yet. I don't know who I was.

I don't know I said. I don't know what came over me. I walked to the edge of the pitch black stage, and started singing. When I was finished and drenched in nerve sweat. You know what that is, right nerve sweat? They said, 'We will call you one day, maybe soon.' Weeks went by and no phone call. Finally, the phone rang, it was one of the producers, saying. 'We don't think you are right for this job.' I'm like, 'Motherfucker, why are you calling me?' He replied, 'We think you have great potential. You are rough around the edges, but there is good rawness. We want to bring you to Paris and make you a star. Well, we will put you in a studio, with the great Giorgio Moroder.' And I had no idea who that was, and I wanted to live in Paris and I wanted to eat some food.

So, that was the beginning of my journey as a singer. I left for Paris, but I came back a few months later. Because I had not earned the life I was living. It felt wrong. They were good people, but wanted to write my own songs and be a musician, not a puppet. I needed to go home and learn to play guitar, and that's exactly what I did. And the rest is history.

So. You are probably all wondering why I am telling you this story. There is a connection, because none of this would have happened, could have happened, without our lady of soul. She lead me to where I am today. And I know she influenced so many people in this house tonight. In this room tonight. And I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-e-s-p-e-c-t. Long live the queen.

Another anecdote I would like to share: In 1984, this is where the first VMAs were, in this very building. And I performed at this show. I sang 'Like a Virgin' at the top of a cake. And on my way down, I lost a shoe, and I was rolling on the floor and trying to make it look like it was part of the choreography, looking for the missing stilleto, and my dress flew up, and my butt was exposed, and oh my God, quelle horror. After the show, my manager said my career was over. LOL. So. I would now like to present the nominees for the video of the year.'

From Harper's Bazaar Via Yahoo! News


Madonna at 60: How the 'Material Girl' has shaped modern fashion trends

Madonna’s career as an internationally renowned superstar has spanned the best part of four decades, cementing her status as one of history’s most celebrated artists.

While her musical talents have been critically acclaimed the world over, the singer has also had a significant influence on global fashion trends ever since she first took her place in the spotlight on the world stage.

When one thinks of Madonna’s most iconic looks, perhaps they picture the wedding dress that she wore for her performance of 'Like a Virgin' at the 1984 MTV Awards, the cone bra that she donned during her Blonde Ambition Tour in Japan in 1990 or her multiple tributes to Marilyn Monroe.

However, Madonna has done far more in the world of fashion than simply stir conversation due to her choice of apparel or spark a few fashion fads here and there.

The way in which the singer used her style to represent her identity was a fresh concept when she first came onto the music scene.

This became even more apparent following Madonna’s first major film role in the 1985 Desperately Seeking Susan, which saw people all around the world attempt to replicate her leather jacket, large hair bow, abundance of jewellery and loose-fitting trousers.

Madonna’s former publicist Liz Rosenberg has previously spoken about her first meeting with the young star, where she oozed confidence while wearing a signature 'black outfit with a hundred rubber bracelets on each wrist.'

It’s evident that the singer had a clear understanding both of who she was and who she wanted to become from the very beginning of her career.

'I think Madonna was one of the very first brands in her own right,' celebrity fashion stylist Alex Longmore tells The Independent. 'She had her own identity and she stuck to it.'

To read the rest of the article visit: uk.news.yahoo.com


All hail Madonna, a 60-year-old woman who won’t be quiet

'Is Madonna dead?' my daughter asked recently, while we danced like idiots in the kitchen to Vogue. Having spent a good few months inculcating my child with Madonna’s back catalogue, I realised I’d told her nothing about the woman herself. My daughter is still young enough to have no interest in the age of the singers she listens to – living or dead is generally enough information for her. If only we all felt that way.

Pop music is an unforgiving place for the older woman. Few know this better than Madonna, who turns 60 on Thursday, and whose every move in the past 15 years has been accompanied by a grim chorus of “Put it away, grandma”. That the entertainment industry is among the worst culprits when it comes to fading out women – note in comparison the scores of male actors and musicians carrying on into their 60s and 70s unimpeded – is especially depressing since it’s a business that directly influences how we think and live. But we can take heart that, as with so many aspects of the female experience, Madonna is doing her damnedest to put it right.

'Do not age, to age is a sin,' she said in a blunt speech in 2016, after accepting an award at Billboard’s Women in Music event. 'You will be criticised, you will be vilified and you will definitely not be played on the radio.' But being criticised and vilified is all in a day’s work for Madonna. So is adjusting expectations and redrawing boundaries, all the while pleasing herself. These are the things she does best. She hasn’t so much smoothed the path for those who have come after her as hacked her way through the undergrowth, and done battle with monsters, in order to make it walkable for the rest of us.

Madonna has been in my life for pretty much as long as I can remember. I have watched her in her various incarnations – gobby, rosary-draped urchin, corset-clad dominatrix, wayward cowgirl, hot yoga mom – with a mixture of curiosity, amusement and awe. As well as her successes, I have observed her failures and humiliations, and admired how she ploughs on regardless, doing what she wants and never apologising, even though her pain is clear. Having had her in my peripheral vision for 35 years, I now look on her like one would an unusually free-spirited relative: unpredictable, occasionally misguided, frequently inspiring, forever up for new adventure. That so many people, from Mary Whitehouse to the pope to Piers Morgan, have wished her to be quiet, or invisible, has made her all the more compelling. Rubbing people up the wrong way is one of her many talents.

You might have thought that all these years in Madonna’s company would have rendered the world impervious to her antics - yet her transgressions apparently continue. Now her mere existence as a woman (almost) in her 60s means, for some, that she has outlived her usefulness. At her age, she should be quiet and amenable. She should stay at home, cut her hair short and keep her upper arms covered. And those hands! 'Why do Madonna’s hands look older than her face?' inquired the Daily Mail in 2006 in a particularly venal piece that has been redrafted pretty much every year since.

It’s not just the press that has turned Madonna-shaming into an international sport. In a guest column for the Hollywood Reporter last year, the academic and social critic Camille Paglia derided her for her 'pointless provocations' and her 'trashy outfit[s]', and urged her to be more like Marlene Dietrich 'who retained her class and style to the end of her public life'. Madonna? Provocative? Where have you been, Camille? Even Elton John has had a pop - 'she looks like a fairground stripper', said the man who once rocked up at a party with an Eiffel Tower on his head. Right now, one of her loudest detractors is that expostulating foghorn Morgan, who believes women should be equal to men just as long their wardrobes meet his exacting age-appropriate standards.

But this is Madonna. She doesn’t do quiet and she doesn’t do amenable. In the face of criticism, she reacts. Well, why wouldn’t she? When she is told that she should slow down, step back and act her age, she protests in the only way that she knows: in the public gaze. So she does a topless photoshoot - rather beautiful, as it happens - in Interview magazine. She gets her arse out at the Met Gala, essentially pulling a massive moony at the world. This month, she put on suspenders for a Vogue photoshoot. You can just imagine her assembling her outfit with her team: 'So guys, what can I wear that will given Elton a bloody hernia?' That’s our girl. So all hail to Our Lady, still fighting, still hacking away at the undergrowth, still clearing a path and changing the world for the rest of us.

From The Guardian / Fiona Sturges


All hail the Queen!


Mini Cooper Madonna sang about in American Life could be yours (for £55,000)

Fancy owning a piece of pop music history? Look no further than Madonna’s black Mini Hatch 1.6 Cooper S which was owned by the star from October 2002, when she was living in London with her then husband, Guy Ritchie.

The car was ordered new by Madonna L Ciccone and registered to the Ciccone 1989 Trust. Former insurance details and the car’s V5 lists both Madonna’s name and that of Guy Ritchie. The car has been in storage in the UK since Madonna and her management gave up the run-a-round.

The nippy three door Mini was driven by Madonna for four years to drop her daughter off at school and to pop to the recording studio where she was working on her ninth studio album, American Life. The car, which appears in several paparazzi photographs, is referenced in the 2003 song, American Life: 'I drive my Mini Cooper, and I’m feeling super-duper.'

The black Mini Cooper was ordered with a range of bespoke features, including privacy glass, model specific rear roof spoiler and 17” S Spoke light alloy wheels. Made in the Cowley plant in Oxfordshire, the engineers signed the bodyshell under the bonnet when they found out who had ordered the car.

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Madonna sold the car on to her personal driver after four years. It has been stored away ever since, so retains its low mileage of 25,000 and has remained in pristine condition. Several destinations that are still logged in the Sat Nav relate to Madonna’s regular destinations, including previous residential addresses in the UK and recording studios. The car is listed with a guide price of £55,000 by a specialist car collector based in Chelsea.

Rachael Hogg, Auto Trader’s Digital Editor, comments: 'It’s really timely that this car is up for sale just as Madonna turns 60. Previously owned by one of the world’s biggest music sensations and affectionately referenced in songs and TV interviews, this is the most expensive Mini Cooper S on the market, because for many it’s not just a car: it’s a significant piece of Madonna memorabilia.'

'The three door Mini Cooper S Hatch is a modest choice for a celebrity of Madonna’s wealth, but a sensible one for a star living in central London wanting to go under the radar when on the school run. It appears to be in immaculate condition still, so would make a lovely runaround for a Madonna fan with cash to flash.'

Visit www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert to view the full sales page.


‘Bigger than any man she ever encountered’: the under-appreciated genius of Madonna

As we celebrate Madonna turning 60 this week, let us remember that this is a woman who has no interest in nostalgia. In a recent interview with Vogue Italia, she said she would talk only about the present, which, to me, is the key aspect of who Madonna is: resolutely forward-driving. This is why she is so able to manage to a global, decade-spanning career.

When she collected her woman of the year prize at Billboard’s Women in Music awards in 2016, she said she stood before the crowd 'as a doormat'. 'Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse.' This is genuine, rightful anger and ferocity. The level of ageism and sexism directed at her is femicidal, even matricidal, visceral loathing. When people say they want Madonna to age gracefully, what they really mean is: become beige, shut up and go into a corner. And she refuses to do that. Instead, she continues to produce brilliant, captivating and thought-provoking work.

We so often do not let women take credit for their own genius. Madonna has resisted that, mainly because she always overshadows the men with whom she chooses to collaborate. Nobody ever says Mirwais or Timbaland or Stuart Price made Madonna. Only Madonna could have made Madonna. But this is also from where the misogyny stems. She is bigger than any man she has ever encountered, professionally or personally. And people hate that.

She has outlived her contemporaries: Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince were the triumvirate of 80s stars. She has outlasted them artistically, too. Her 2015 album Rebel Heart was excellent. Her quality of work has never dropped. Many artists Madonna’s age, particularly male artists, are doing victory tours: people such as Bruce Springsteen. Madonna, instead, is not creating to prove a point about how long she can keep doing so.

It is impossible to talk about Madonna without talking about power. She is an athlete. I once read an interview where her trainer said she is so strong that he has to invent new exercises for her because she can’t feel exercises for mere mortals. Her muscularity is not about appearance; it is an indication of her mental strength and resilience. She is indestructible. But she has survived so long not just because of her talent, and not just because of her physical and mental strength. It is also that she is intelligent, professional and always engaged - she has seen the world, brought up children, worked in multiple fields. She is mentally alive and this is what keeps her searching, moving and creating.

So let us not reward Madonna for continuing to survive; let us appreciate her as an incredibly talented artist: a musician, songwriter, a dancer and a performer, a brilliant film-maker (W.E. is a beautiful, intelligent piece of feminist cinema). She sees herself as a creative artist, and we owe her the respect of seeing her that way, too.

From The Independent


As Pop Star Madonna Turns 60, A Look At Her Scandalous Moments

Whether by brazenly injecting sex in the public sphere, adopting gay subculture for mainstream audiences or becoming the top-selling female musician of all time, Madonna has asserted an incalculable influence. The pop superstar is turning 60 on August 16 and is again breaking barriers - this time as a mature woman who is still brash, carnal and unapologetic.

Giving new meaning to the term sexagenarian, Madonna openly dates men three decades younger, maintains a svelte figure that would be the envy of most people half her age and on her latest tour put on a characteristically provocative show that simulated most conceivable sex acts.

Madonna is hardly the first female entertainer to stay active while growing older, with singers as diverse as Aretha Franklin, Cher, Dolly Parton and Stevie Nicks on stage in their 70s.

But Madonna - who entered pop culture at the same time as MTV - has embodied the cult of youth like few other artists and, while others reinvented themselves or staged nostalgic comebacks, the Material Girl has never gone more than four years without an album since her blockbuster self-titled debut in 1983.

The title of a single off her latest album, 'Rebel Heart,' summed up her unwavering attitude: 'Bitch, I'm Madonna.'

Freya Jarman, a music scholar at the University of Liverpool who co-edited a book on Madonna, said the pop star has already left her legacy, with younger artists such as Lady Gaga so evidently influenced by her.

But she emphasized that Madonna was now demonstrating a new kind of relevance.

'As an aging, female popular musician who is still so much in the public eye, she is absolutely relevant,' Jarman said.

'Madonna stands out in a way that she always has done, in that she has always been interested in creating a stir which someone like Cher, for my money, does not, really.'

Many stars 'seem to fade in and out of focus, while Madonna doesn't seem to fade out,' Jarman added.

To read the rest of the article visit: www.ndtv.com/world-news


Eight ways Madonna changed the world

She's sold 300 million albums, her tours have grossed $1.31 billion, and she's one of the most famous women ever to have lived - and next month, in a milestone, she turns 60.

But these days the Queen of Pop is much more likely to be attacked than appreciated: for years she has endured mockery of her refusal to dress demurely, her taste for younger men, and that one time she fell over on stage.

Amid this, it can easy to forget quite how influential she has been: without her, from music to fashion to the whole concept of celebrity, today's pop culture landscape would simply not exist as it is.

And that's not to mention the impact she's had on her on her fans, like my own teenage self, whose love for her I have channelled into a new novel, The Madonna of Bolton, which celebrates the impression she makes on a young working class man's coming of age in the Eighties and Nineties. So to mark the big occasion, here are a few ways in which her Madgesty has conclusively changed the world.

1. She laid out the template for the modern female pop icon
Long before Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, Madonna was the first female pop star to project an image of control, drive and fierce independence. For all her personal suffering (her mother died when she was five), she has rarely betrayed any emotional fragility. Rather, she has worn costumes that looked like armour, such as the famous corset designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier for the Blond Ambition tour.

And in the video for Express Yourself, a rousing anthem to female empowerment, she dressed in a man's suit and presided over an army of male underlings. 'I'm tough, I'm ambitious and I know exactly what I want,' she once said. 'If that makes me a bitch, OK.'

To read the other seven ways Madonna changed the world visit: nzherald.co.nz


Madonna to celebrate 60th birthday with Malawi fundraiser

Madonna is celebrating her upcoming 60th birthday with a fundraiser for orphans and children in Malawi.

The singer is teaming with Facebook for the fundraiser, which runs from Monday through until August 31.

Fans can donate directly to Madonna’s Facebook page or start their own fundraiser on the social media site to raise money for the singer’s campaign.

The proceeds will benefit her Raising Malawi foundation, and global payments company Ripple said it would match all of the donations.

She said: 'I have an unwavering commitment to providing vulnerable children with a loving home. For my birthday, I can think of no better gift than connecting my global family with this beautiful country and the children who need our help most. Every dollar raised will go directly to meals, schools, uniforms and health care. I want to come together with my friends, fans and supporters to change the lives of Malawian children and let them know they are nurtured, protected and loved.'

Madonna, who adopted four children from Malawi, founded Raising Malawi in 2006 to address the poverty and hardship endured by the country’s orphans and vulnerable children.

She launched a children’s wing at a hospital in Malawi last year.

From PA Via Yahoo! News


Meet Maripol, the woman behind Madonna’s early, iconic look

Thirty-five years ago, on July 27, 1983, a woman named Madonna Louise Ciccone released her self-titled debut album, and it soon launched not just a music revolution, but a fashion revolution as well. The disc’s stark black-and-white artwork - Madonna clasping her unforgettable face between bracelet-stacked hands on the front, wrapping a thick dog-chain necklace around her throat on the back - comprised some of the most striking pop imagery of the ’80s. It wasn’t long before every little girl in the world wanted to be Madonna (or a 'Madonnabe'), bedecking themselves with oversized lace hair bows, crucifixes, stacks of rubber bangles, and, much to their parents’ chagrin, “Boy Toy” belts and visible bras.

But Madonna didn’t come up with her early signature look entirely on her own. She had a lucky star on her side back then, a visionary stylist, who helped craft that image. And that woman also went by a singular name: Maripol.

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Without Maripol - a French-expat artist, jewelry designer, photographer, film producer, and NYC girl-about-(down)town - Madonna may never have become MADONNA. After all, Maripol was the woman who introduced street-style jelly bracelets to the mainstream (fun fact: Grace Jones was the first pop singer to wear Maripol’s rubber creations, on her ankles), and she was the woman who first convinced Madonna to dance onstage in a bra.

Speaking to Yahoo Entertainment from New York, Maripol humbly, grudgingly concedes, 'Whatever, yes - I did create a legend.' Recalling the night that started it all, at New York hip-hop club the Roxy almost four decades ago, she says, 'There was a lot of mix of culture coming from England, with people like Bow Wow Wow, and then there was Fab Five Freddy, from Yo! MTV Raps, which was also the beginning of this whole movement. Fab Five Freddy asked me if I could find cute girls, and I turned around and saw Madonna and asked her if she would want to go onstage. I asked her if she had a nice bra on, and she thought I was out of my mind! I asked her to actually take her top off. And the rest is history.'

So, was that the unofficial beginning of the underwear-as-outerwear trend? 'No, that was the beginning of the fact that I’m French! I was less puritan than anyone else, and I was always taking my clothes off, unfortunately,' Maripol laughs. 'After that, Madonna actually made an appointment to come see me in my loft, because she wanted me to create her look. I had already invented the rubber bracelet, and I was the art director of Fiorucci, and I thought that she was the perfect person to carry around my style. And it was perfect for her as well.'

Maripol and Madonna’s first fashion collaboration was for the Madonna album cover, on which Maripol’s bold, punky jewelry was practically as much the star as Madonna herself.

To read the rest of the article visit: uk.news.yahoo.com


Dancer Carlton Wilborn on Madonna: ‘Rehearsal truly was like boot camp’

UK newspaper The Guardian has seven articles today looking at Madonna ahead of her 60th birthday next month, here is the seventh by dancer Carlton Wilborn:

I was 26 and living in Los Angeles when Madonna had a huge open-call audition for the Blond Ambition tour - there were maybe a thousand men there. By the time I got home I had a message: 'Come meet me at the club tonight.' It was basically a callback, like, let’s see who these people really are, how they hang with alcohol. She herself being an alpha type, she was looking for very confident people - the best of the best - so I was acutely aware of how I was presenting myself. When I made the cut, I knew it was a huge opportunity.

Touring was different back in the 90s. We really got to do it in the rock’n’roll way people imagine - private jets, two separate chefs, a bowl in the studio lobby stacked with cigarettes. It’s very rare that dancers are given that kind of treatment. And the afterparties - oh my gosh, are you kidding me? We won’t say much about those!

Every single night, the blast-off energy from the crowd was crazy - they were so loud we could hardly hear the music. We had done so much training at this point - the rehearsal process was truly like boot camp - and it was great to finally be in the sweat of it all. When I heard her singing to an audience for the first time: it was like: 'Oh shit, she’s fucking performing now.' And it was a lot of fun working with an artist who had started in dance and who could do all these intricate moves with you.

To read the rest of the article visit: www.theguardian.com/carlton-wilborn

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Nancy Whang on Madonna: ‘She set an example for a lot of women’

UK newspaper The Guardian has seven articles today looking at Madonna ahead of her 60th birthday next month, here is the sixth by Nancy Whang:

There aren’t that many artists like her. That she has the staying power she has is remarkable in itself. She’s influenced a lot of other artists, especially other fellow female artists and she’s remained culturally relevant. Her whole ability to reinvent herself is pretty impressive. She set an example for a lot of women and fellow artists to take on a persona. This idea of a solo female artist being this massive figure and occupying a stage - a musical stage and a cultural stage - there aren’t a lot of examples like that, besides her, for other female artists. And forget about the fact that she’s a woman – just as an artist, full stop.

She’s taken on so many different personas and artistic scenes and she’s able to still capture audiences. She’s taken all of these different genres of music and dived headlong into whatever she decided, whatever album it is, or whatever creative era she’s in, or [she’s] decided to go in a completely different direction. The only through-line is herself. With musical styles, she’s gone all over the place, but there’s cohesion to it because it’ll coming from her. It doesn’t seem necessarily random - that’s what she’s good at. People don’t expect a particular sound [from her], or even a gradual evolution, from album to album.

I feel some sense of solidarity and stand by her and all the choices she made, even though some of them aren’t that good. She’s allowed to make stuff that’s maybe not the most amazing thing that’s ever been made, but I think the fact that she still continues to be very successful goes to show she can withstand mediocrity.

To read the rest of the article visit: www.theguardian.com/nancy-whang


Thurston Moore on Madonna: ‘She had credibility, she was really ahead of the game’

UK newspaper The Guardian has seven articles today looking at Madonna ahead of her 60th birthday next month, here is the fifth by Thurston Moore:

We were neighbours. We knew each other, by sight. She would say hi to me and I would say hi to her. She was dating a friend of mine for a millisecond, so we were introduced that way and then, through the years, when we’d cross paths on the street, we’d nod heads and smile. She was very friendly with Jean-Michel [Basquiat], Keith Haring, and these artists who were all our neighbours, and we all hung out at the same places: Danceteria, CBGB, Tier 3 and Club 57 were the main places. When she became super-famous, which was all of a sudden, she disappeared from the New York scene. It was a very strange thing, to be working washing dishes, and making pennies per day, and seeing someone who was in your neighbourhood all of a sudden become a superstar. It was unusual. There was no real model for that, for us. It became kind of exciting.

She was really ahead of the game. She was taking elements of what was cool at that time – punk rock, new wave, dance music, hip-hop and Latino music all clashing in this great non-hierarchical playground of New York. It was all kind of new; everybody was trying different things. Madonna was actually in a couple of no-wave bands that nobody ever talks about. She was in a band with these two twins, Dan and Josh Braun, who were the first members of Swans, Michael Gira’s band. Nobody really knows about that part of her history; she was in a pre-Swans no wave band! There’s all that interconnected history in New York with Madonna and the no wave scene.

To read the rest of the article visit: www.theguardian.com/thurston-moore

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Sophie on Madonna: ‘Her work is so vast - there’s a reference for any situation’

UK newspaper The Guardian has seven articles today looking at Madonna ahead of her 60th birthday next month, here is the fourth by Sophie:

In my mind, Madonna created the blueprint for modern pop stars. Her creativity has gone further, wider and longer than anyone else I can think of; I feel like her songs have been consistently memorable and meaningful. I have loved all of Madonna’s different phases at different points, but I think the Bedtime Stories era [1994] is really intriguing, especially the production - it has a unique feeling. It’s so much more fully formed and sexy than a lot of the trip-hop stuff that was coming out around that time. It’s definitely been an influence on my own music​.

My earliest memories of Madonna are of when my half-sister used to listen to her loads on family holidays. Davina was, and still is, a very fun party girl, so my early impressions of Madonna are merged with my half-sister’s teenage punk energy - I still think of Madonna in that way.

Working with her [on track Bitch I’m Madonna, which Sophie co-wrote and co-produced, the third single from Madonna’s 2015 album Rebel Heart] was really quite a one-off, spontaneous thing - I suppose a happy coincidence. I felt a connection with the title. But you have to prevent yourself from getting too excited about that kind of thing. People still write about that song in every article they write about me, so I guess she still means a lot to everyone operating in music right now.

Madonna’s work is so vast - there’s an appropriate Madonna reference for any situation. But I think the factor that sets her apart from others is that each phase seems to be a byproduct of a genuine journey of self-discovery, and always addresses some prejudice or other.

To read the rest of the article visit: www.theguardian.com/sophie


Matt Cain on Madonna: ‘She opened up gay culture to the mainstream’

UK newspaper The Guardian has seven articles today looking at Madonna ahead of her 60th birthday next month, here is the third by 'The Madonna of Bolton' author Matt Cain:

Madonna was a radical, brilliant pop icon who changed so many people’s lives. Mine included. I grew up in Bolton in the 1980s, at a time when no one wanted to say anything positive about gay people. If we were represented in the media, it was as disease-carrying sexual predators who couldn’t be trusted around children. The idea of gay role models didn’t even exist. And then along came Madonna.

I first became aware of her around the time Like a Virgin was released in 1984, and felt myself being drawn in, but I resisted. I’d been conditioned to be mistrustful of transgressive, rebellious women who expressed their sexuality. By the time the True Blue album came out in 1986 - I was 11 - I was starting to realise I was gay. And that made me sexually transgressive too.

Then came the Open Your Heart video. In it, Madonna played a stripper dancing in a venue for an audience that included a lesbian drag king and two gay sailors locked in an affectionate embrace. The thing about her that had been my point of contention suddenly became a point of connection. After that, I didn’t just enjoy Madonna’s work: she became like a spirit guide.

To read the rest of the article visit: www.theguardian.com/matt-cain


Barbara Ellen on Madonna: ‘Popular culture still reeks of her influence’

UK newspaper The Guardian has seven articles today looking at Madonna ahead of her 60th birthday next month, here is the second by Barbara Ellen:

Madonna Louise Ciccone is about to turn 60, a 'big birthday' by anybody’s reckoning. I remember her at the time of her breakthrough 1983 single, Holiday, a mischievous mess of bangles and swinging crucifixes, boasting that she was so hot that you could fry an egg on her belly button. From that point on, Madonna was omnipresent - confrontational, audacious, sexual, occasionally annoying and weirdly vulnerable (brought up in a strict Italian-American Catholic family, Madonna’s mother died when she was a child).

She pounded through personas (boy toy, material girl, Hollywood royalty, dancefloor vixen, gangsta momma,), like an all-singing all-dancing one-woman variety show. It was never just about the music. Madonna embodied the devilish voice in your ear, saying: 'Why not?' A pop queen with a big dirty rock mouth, she was one of the first great influencers, daring at least a couple of generations of girls and young women (not to mention all her loyal gay fans) to be bolder, stronger and, crucially, a ton less humble and apologetic.

The ironic question 'What would Madonna do?' isn’t still doing the rounds for nothing.

No surprise, then, that witch-burners have long been out in force against Madonna. She’s been called everything: ball-breaker, whore, user, crone, narcissist, talent-vampire. Vulgar taste-free zone. While taking criticism is part of the fame gig, it was as though Madonna served as a cautionary tale for women who get too darn uppity.

In truth, popular culture still reeks of Madonna’s influence for a good reason: she’s earned it. Far from being a shallow shape-shifter, she always knew her way around a pop classic (her oeuvre is full of them), and developed a flair for choosing talented collaborators to keep her music fresh. Moreover, back when she could have played it safe, Madonna called herself an artist and acted like one, tirelessly reinventing herself. From plonking a black saint in the Like a Prayer video to putting out a book called Sex, at the peak of her fame, just about everything Madonna did alienated middle America, because she wanted to define the zeitgeist, not merely reflect it.

To read the rest of the article visit: www.theguardian.com/barbara-ellen


Sarah Churchwell on Madonna: ‘She remains the hero of her own story’

UK newspaper The Guardian has seven articles today looking at Madonna ahead of her 60th birthday next month, here is the first by Sarah Churchwell:

For me, it was Lucky Star, in 1983. That video is burned into my brain. Not because I loved the song - there were many songs around that time I loved far more: Hungry Like the Wolf, Every Breath You Take, Come on Eileen; I never liked Lucky Star as much and still don’t.

At that point, no one had any idea how Madonna would evolve, how cleverly she would keep shifting her styles - musical, fashion, dance - ahead of trends. I just loved the way she blended post-punk toughness with playful girl power. Madonna projected the older girl that pre-adolescents wanted to be. And that’s why they called her fans 'wannabes' - a name that was patronising, but not inaccurate. And then suddenly there was Material Girl: full glamour had entered the picture and she had become someone to watch.

But it was with her 1990 Blond Ambition tour that Madonna catapulted herself into megastardom, shaping the music industry, taking firm hold of her own business reins and sending a clear message while she was at it. Blond Ambition - blonde without the feminine 'e', presumably to underscore the pun on 'blind ambition', but with the added advantage of rejecting the trappings of normative gender. The Blond Ambition tour, Madonna’s third, is widely acknowledged as the mother of today’s multimedia concert extravaganzas, fusing performance art, theatre, dance, fashion and video with pop songs. It broke box-office records and taboos, mixing themes of female sexuality, power, religion and gender fluidity. It prompted Forbes magazine to ask if she was 'America’s smartest businesswoman'; 23 years later, the magazine would identify her as the highest-paid celebrity in the world, earning $125m (£77.4m) in 2012-2013. She has sold more than 300m records worldwide and her singles have made her the most successful solo artist in the history of the American charts.

To read the rest of the article visit: www.theguardian.com/sarah-churchwell

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Madonna watched Migos from the side of the stage at Wireless

Madonna shocked the crowd at Britain's Wireless Festival on Saturday, July 07, by making a surprise appearance with rap group Migos.

The Vogue singer reportedly arrived at the festival in London's Finsbury Park in a blacked-out Range Rover before watching the trio's set from the side of the stage. She could be seen singing along to their track Open It Up, and took her support one step further by joining them onstage at the end of the set, dressed in a head-to-toe Gucci look, comprised of an off-white suit with red and blue trim and Panama hat.

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While watching from the side of the stage, Madonna filmed the trio - made up of Quavo, Offset and Takeoff - performing for the crowd and posted the video to Instagram, alongside the caption: 'Snuck out of the studio for a lil drip.............. (fire emojis) @migos #wirelessfestival.'

Her appearance with the Bad and Boujee hitmakers come just weeks after the group filmed the music video for their single Narcos at Madonna's property in Miami, Florida. After they posted a photo of themselves outside the mansion on Instagram, Madonna wrote in the comments, 'That's my house in Miami! What are you doing there??' and Quavo replied,'Trappin''.

Madonna, who currently lives with her children in Lisbon, Portugal, made the most of her weekend in London, taking in a trip to the National Portrait Gallery to check out the new exhibition, Michael Jackson on the Wall. She documented the trip on Instagram, and shared a picture of herself in the gift shop holding open a book showing an old picture of her with the late King of Pop.

Wireless Festival took place from Friday to Sunday, with headliners including J. Cole and Stormzy. DJ Khaled was scheduled to headline Sunday but pulled out due to 'travel issues' and was replaced by Drake at the last minute.

From AceShowbiz


How I Met Madonna, by Seymour Stein, the Man Who Signed Her

Seymour Stein is indisputably one of the greatest A&R men in music-business history: As chief of Sire Records, which he cofounded with Richard Gottehrer in 1966, he presided over a label that for decades had not only massive hits - from Madonna, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Seal and others - but also acts that may not have had multiplatinum sales but shaped the sound of the last quarter of the 20th century: the Ramones, Lou Reed, the Pretenders, the Smiths, the Cure, the Replacements, Aphex Twin and so many more. A well-curated mixtape of Sire releases from the ‘80s and ‘90s is like the soundtrack to an era.

Yet Stein’s career stretches back to the 1950s: He began at Billboard and soon moved over to Syd Nathan’s King Records - home of James Brown - and several other gigs before cofounding Sire. And he’s still at it: He remains Sire’s chairman and on any given day is jetting across the globe to speak at conferences and find talent (he’s big on China and India these days), or he’s in the office, fielding calls from his mind-boggling circle of friends.

Stein (pictured below with Madonna and, far left, David Byrne) has had an astonishing life, and he’s finally penned an autobiography (with cowriter Gareth Murphy), which publishes today, called 'Siren Song: My Life in Music.' Variety is honored to present a lightly edited excerpt from the chapter where he meets Madonna for the first time.

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I was blowtorching the candle at both ends, and in mid-1982, I started getting pains in my chest. I thought I was getting a heart attack, so I didn’t waste any time seeing a doc. An EKG showed that the hole between the left and right ventricles was infected. My rare condition had a name: subacute endocarditis. The good news, however, was that it was fixable with open-heart surgery. I was checked straight into Lenox Hill Hospital for four weeks of penicillin to clear up the infection before they decided what to do about the deformation. And right there, feeling sorry for myself in that ass-numbing bed, was where the record man’s equivalent of Florence Nightingale walked in. Yes, you guessed it, she wasn’t really a nurse, though sometimes I do wonder if singers are types of faith healers.

The series of events that brought Madonna to my hospital bed began months earlier when Mark Kamins started dropping hints. Danceteria was still the number-one downtown club, and Mark was arguably New York’s hottest deejay. Unfortunately, he wasn’t making enough money and knew he had to broaden his professional horizons while he was in such demand. We’d asked him to remix a David Byrne solo track called 'Big Business,' but Mark was dreaming of becoming a real-deal producer and asked me for help. I told him flat out that no big artist would ever risk working with an unproven producer, even if he was New York’s hippest deejay. Like everyone else, he’d have to earn his stripes by finding nobodies and making them sound like stars.

One night in Danceteria, he had been approached by this dancing beauty who introduced herself. Madonna charmed the pants off him, literally, and played him a self-made demo of a song she wrote called 'Everybody,' which she’d made with a guy called Steve Bray. Mark then reworked and revamped the whole tune from scratch in a better studio with better musicians. He even had the sense to test his mix on the dance floor before shopping it around. The crowd seemed to respond enthusiastically, so he made copies and went hustling.

I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been played this demo yet, so I arranged for my secretary to send the cassette into Lenox Hill Hospital, where I duly slotted it into my Sony Walkman. As penicillin dripped into my heart, I lay there and listened to Mark’s first find. I’m sure I was going nuts in that little room, but I immediately felt an excitement. I liked the hook, I liked Madonna’s voice, I liked the feel, and I liked the name Madonna. I liked it all and played it again. I never overanalyze or suck the life out of whatever I instinctively enjoy. I reached over and called up Mark. 'Can I meet you and Madonna?'

He called back saying they’d drop by the hospital that evening. 'What?'

'I know. I told her you were sick, but she really wants this.'

I just said, 'Okay, see you this evening,' and hit all the panic buttons. 'Get me a pair of pajamas,' I told my secretary. 'Oh, and send me in a hairdresser as quickly as you can.' I then pushed the buzzer for nurse assistance. 'Someone important is coming in. I need to wash. Can you unplug this drip while I have a shower?'

From Variety Via Yahoo! News


Time For Mambo to Switch Gears!


Good Bye Dear Sweet Tim

Avicii, the Grammy-nominated electronic dance DJ who performed sold-out concerts for feverish fans around the world and also had massive success on U.S. pop radio, died Friday. He was 28.

Publicist Diana Baron said in a statement that the Swedish performer, born Tim Bergling, was found dead in Muscat, Oman.

'It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii,' the statement read. 'The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time. No further statements will be given.'

No more details about the death were provided. Oman police and state media had no immediate report late Friday night on the artist's death.

From Associated Press