How augmented reality put five Madonnas on stage at once

At Wednesday's Billboard Music Awards, Madonna performed her latest single, 'Medellín', with Latin singer Maluma. However, they (and their flesh-and-blood dancers) weren't alone on the Las Vegas stage. Several virtual versions of the pop icon joined them: a secret agent, a musician, a cha-cha instructor and a bride. Augmented reality brought Madonna's personas to life with the help of volumetric capture - essentially 3D video - and Unreal Engine.

The avatars (not holograms, so they weren't visible to the naked eye) wove in and out of the inventive performance, bursting into butterflies and puffs of smoke. There were several environmental effects that livened up the show, including digital rain, clouds, greenery and splashes of color, which married with the physical side in an attempt to tell a cohesive story. Madonna has reinvented herself countless times over her storied career, so it's perhaps little surprise that she tried something like this.

Jamie King, Madonna's long-time creative director, said he was looking for something special for the BBMAs. 'After meeting with [Madonna's manager] Guy Oseary, we settled on the idea of incorporating augmented reality into the performance,' he told Engadget. 'I wanted to explore a way to involve her Madame X personas into the performance as well as the possibility of the real Madonna actually being able to perform with [them].'

The team brought the concept to a new creative AR company called Sequin, which took on the challenge of piecing the performance together. While it was the first time Madonna and Maluma performed the song live, it also marked the first project for Sequin.

While you might not recognize the name, you'll probably be familiar with the work of co-founders Lawrence Jones and Robert DeFranco. At The Future Group, their projects included those dramatic flooding visualizations for The Weather Channel, an AR-enhanced performance by K/DA at last year's League of Legends World Championship Finals and effects for this year's Super Bowl, for which they were nominated for an Emmy.

Jones, who oversees creative, production and technology development at Sequin, believes it was the first time there's been a broadcast AR performance using volumetric capture, which he called "the next revolution" of the medium. 'What's new about this is that it's a completely choreographed performance where Madonna and Maluma are dancing with four digital versions of Madonna in perfect choreography,' he told Engadget in an interview.

The show was something of a global affair. The volumetric capture process took place at a studio in London, while a Canadian company created the digital assets and environments in Unreal Engine for Sequin to pull together.

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


Behind Madonna's Showstopping 'Madame X' Pirate Performance Look at 2019 BBMAs

The 60-year-old pop star wore a flouncy black-and-white polka-dot and lace Erdem dress accessorized with a riding crop and her new signature glittery red 'X' pirate eye patch.

At the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday (May 1), Madonna continued the kickoff of a new chapter in her career with her first live performance (alongside Colombian singer Maluma) of 'Medellin,' from her forthcoming Madame X album, set to release on June 14.

No surprise that there were plenty of bells and whistles, including computer-generated images of herself in the chameleon-like range of styles from her new fashion-forward video of the first track from her 14th studio albu, which dropped last Wednesday at a world premiere hosted by MTV.

The Queen of Pop's commanding new aesthetic is one part dominatrix and another part sultry pirate, complete with a riding crop, fishnet stockings, gloves and a signature eye patch.

Stylist and i-D fashion editor Ib Kamara, with Eyob Yohannes on board as styling consultant, created the look that taps into Madonna's alter-ego 'Madame X,' a name given to her at age 19 by Martha Graham of the famed contemporary dance studio in New York.

Graham was known for wearing gloves, and Madonna repeated them throughout her video, as she did at the BBMAs, donning black fishnet gloves with bold "M" and 'X' diamond knuckle rings worn over the top, paired with a flouncy black-and-white polka-dot and glittery black lace Erdem dress. Her Art Deco platinum and diamond drop earrings were from Gioielleria Pennisi.

Front and center was her new trademark Madame X fashion accessory - a style-wise black leather pirate eye patch with a red X made of Swarovski crystals by Gregory Kara, who made a series of eye patches for the video and pre-drop interview (also in solid black, solid red, and white embellished with custom safety pins by Gareth Wrighton). There is also a branded version sold with her tour merchandise that lets fans imitate the trend.

Madonna's singing-and-dancing partner Maluma, styled by Julian Rios, coordinated for their cha-cha-chas in a sleek all-black look--a custom button-front shirt with matching trousers paired with red suspenders and tasseled red arm bands.

From Billboard.com / The Hollywood Reporter


Maluma Says He 'Enjoyed' Madonna Licking His Toes in 'Medellín' Music Video

Maluma never imagined he'd one day get the opportunity to work with Madonna, much less kiss the Queen of Pop!

The Colombian crooner and the Material Girl recently teamed up for the song 'Medellín' and its accompanying music video, which features the smoldering twosome seductively dancing the cha-cha, cozying up together and even sharing a handful of kisses.

'It was nice. I enjoyed that kiss,' Maluma, 25, tells ET over the phone about his intimate moment with the pop icon. 'It was cool, and not everyone can tell the story of when they kissed Madonna. I had a great time. It was a lot of fun.'

However, there was another interaction between the two that had fans shocked. Midway through the video, while the two are lying in bed, Madonna takes Maluma's toes and licks them!

'I enjoyed it too,' the crooner replies with a laugh.

'She asked me if I had a problem [with her licking my toes], and I didn't have a problem,' he adds. 'None, it's all yours. It was fine.'

The pair's friendship began after meeting backstage at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. Madonna became smitten with the singer and had her management reach out to him about working on a song together. It wasn't until February that fans learned of their collaboration, when they both shared photos of each other in the studio.

The duo performed the song live for the first time at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards on Wednesday night, where they pulled out their best cha-cha dance moves. Delivering an energetic set filled with many holographic Madonnas, the two entertained viewers by following the narrative in the music video. At one point they also made their way through the crowd and started a conga line.

From Entertainment Tonight


Madonna / Maluma / Medellin #BBMAs


#medellinchachachachallenge

Madonna is feeling the cha cha cha and she wants all her fans to feel it as well.

The superstar has invited everyone to share their best cha cha cha steps on social media for what she's dubbed the #medellinchachachachallenge.

Madonna amid rehearsals alongside Maluma for their performance at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards announced the new challenge on Twitter on Monday night (April 29), posting a video of her dancing to her latest song 'Medellin' with Maluma. The icon has also promised that she'll be sharing the best videos.

Catch Madonna and Maluma's performance at the 2019 BBMAs tomorrow (May 1), airing live on NBC at 8:00 p.m. EST.

From Billboard.com


A detailed musical analysis of the new Madonna single, ‘Medellín’

Madonna’s big-budget music video for ‘Medellín’ has dropped: but what’s going on with the song itself? It’s time for a proper musical analysis…

She is the undisputed queen of the pop reinvention, and Madonna’s latest incarnation as a Latin-inspired cowgirl bride on horseback is pleasingly off-the-wall.

The flashy video for her new single ‘Medellín’ (which features Colombian reggaeton star Maluma on vocals) is understandably grabbing all the headlines, but underneath the bluster lurks a remarkably subtle and simple pop song, a neat method for Madonna to introduce us to the next phase of her chameleonic career.

So, please brace yourself for an uncomfortable truth: Madonna’s singing voice is technically quite unremarkable.

This has, despite a career packed with culturally indelible hits, always been the case. As such, it has always been necessary for her vocal parts to remain both simple and comfortable. Crucially, it seems that Madonna herself has understood this, and taken appropriate action. She has quietened herself.

On previous hits, she would pretty much just bowl straight through the whole song without thinking too much about volume control. ‘Like A Prayer’, ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Ray Of Light’, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’: all of these are effectively sung at an almost constant volume, even when the arrangements around her voice grow and shrink.

So on ‘Medellín’, even during the song’s chorus when you might expect her to sing up a bit, it’s refreshing to hear Madge’s voice remain coy, even incidental, just another colour in the song’s palette. She even whispers the 'cha-cha-cha' dance instructions.

It’s actually left to Madonna’s co-star, Maluma, to provide a lot of the vocal interest. His half-sung, half-spoken contributions display more technique than Madonna’s, but the two of them have obviously agreed that, on this occasion, less is more. There are no histrionics, no clattering vocal runs or overworked melismas, just simple motifs and melodies, sung quite sensibly.

His interstitial chatting is whispered, just like Madonna’s counting, and he only rarely raises the volume of his voice any higher than that. Similarly, his rhythmically machine-like delivery is characterfully plain, restrained and actually rather graceful.

Here’s an oft-repeated maxim of the perfect pop composition: the simpler the song, the catchier it is. If that’s the case, then ‘Medellín’ is, on paper at least, potentially one of the catchiest pop songs ever written.

There are just three (count ‘em) recognisable chords in the whole song: A flat major, G flat major, F flat minor. And while they’re not the most pleasant or comfortable for a pianist, that there are literally only three of them effectively puts the song on the same level of nightmarish catchiness as ‘Sweet Home Alabama’.

Pair that simplicity with Madonna’s surprisingly sensitive vocals and you have a far quieter pop song that you might expect for a highly-anticipated megastar return, a mood piece that has more in common with a Philip Glass miniature than it does with the souped-up reggaeton of ‘Despacito’.

Just when it seemed that the resurgence of Latin-flavoured pop music had peaked with Justin Bieber’s omnipresent remix of the Luis Fonsi original, it took an artist of Madonna’s experience to prove that, in the mainstream, there is still more to be done with this generic niche.

If Madonna’s latest reinvention of herself continues to display this much sensitivity, it could be one of her most interesting incarnations yet.

From Classic FM / Daniel Ross


All the Wow Fashion Moments in Madonna's New 'Medellin' Video

It's no surprise that style icon Madonna puts on a veritable fashion show in her new music video for 'Medellin,' the first track (featuring Colombian singer Maluma) from her 14th studio album, Madame X, that dropped during a much-anticipated world premiere in London hosted by MTV and live-streamed on YouTube on Wednesday.

The video showcases a lineup of jaw-dropping fashion moments, created by a team led by stylist and i-D fashion editor Ib Kamara with styling consultant Eyob Yohannes and stylist Miguel Cervera, while Maluma‘s personal stylist Julian Rios created the Latin singer’s looks.

In a video clip teaser on her Instagram page, the 60-year-old pop star says that it was none other than Martha Graham of the famed contemporary dance school in New York that Madonna attended, who bestowed the moniker 'Madame X' on her 19-year-old student in the late 1970s. 'In walked Martha Graham with her long, black gloves and her incredibly beautiful, intimidating face. She said, 'We have rules and we have regulations.' ... She said, 'I'm going to give you a new name, Madame X. Every day you come to school and I don't recognize you. Every day you change your identity and you're a mystery to me.' And I said, 'Good, thank you.''

Long elbow-length leather gloves made in Italy by New York-based designer Carolina Amato's accessory house Amato are worn by Madonna throughout the video as a tribute to Graham and this telling moment that inspired the new album name and Madonna's constant chameleon-like fashion metamorphosis.

To read the rest of the article visit: www.hollywoodreporter.com


Madonna & Maluma's 'Medellín' Debuts on Hot Latin Songs Chart

Madonna and Maluma’s team-up on the Spanish/English-language track 'Medellín' debuts at No. 34 on the Hot Latin Songs chart dated April 27. (The chart blends airplay, digital sales and streaming data.)

Released April 17, 'Medellin,' debuts with two days of sales and streaming activity and five days of airplay. The song - a preview of Madonna's upcoming Madame X album - opens with 5,000 downloads sold in the week ending April 18, according to Nielsen Music, and debuts at No. 1 on Latin Digital Song Sales.

'Medellín' is Madonna's fourth entry on Hot Latin Songs and was last on the chart in 2009, when the list was still a purely airplay-based tally. That October, she reached No. 35 with the English-language track 'Celebration.' For Maluma, 'Medellín' is his 28th hit.

From Billboard.com


Madonna driven to record new album after getting ‘a little depressed’

Madonna has said she was inspired to return to music after going through a 'depressed' period prompted by her move to Lisbon.

The veteran pop star, 60, last week ended a five-year hiatus by announcing Madame X, her first record since Rebel Heart.

She said she had been spurred on to record the album after relocating to the Portuguese capital with her sons.

She said: 'I went there and I thought it was going to be super fun and adventurous but then I found myself just going to school and picking up the kids. I got a little depressed. I had to make friends and meet people. So I started to meet people and go out a bit. I’m not like a go-er out-er per se. But I wanted to meet people.'

Speaking at a Q and A event in London, Madonna unveiled the video for first single Medellin during the live-streamed event, hosted by DJ Trevor Nelson.

She said: 'My son wanted to be a soccer player. He was never going to have the right sort of training in America. We spun the globe and did a lot of research and found my top five academies for the boys to train, and Lisbon ended up being my favourite city of the options. That’s how I became a soccer mum. It’s a crazy story, I know, and it’s the last thing I would expect from a controversial girl like myself.'

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Dressed in a risque bodysuit and wielding a riding crop, Madonna said being invited into the homes of Portuguese musicians led her to write the new record.

She said: 'I met people and most of the people I met were artists and painters. I started getting invited to people’s homes. They had things called living room sessions. Everyone would come and they would bring wine, they would bring food, sit around the table. Suddenly people would get up and start playing instruments and singing. I was like, ‘Wait, what is going on here? Artists getting up, not getting paid and just doing it for the fun and the passion?’'

Maluma, a leading figure in the Latin trap and reggaeton music scene, features on Medellin.

He joined the session via a video link from Miami.

Madame X, Madonna’s 14th album featuring guest appearances from Migos rapper Quavo and producer Diplo, will be released on June 14.

From PA Via Yahoo! News


madonnalicious' night at MTV

What an event Madonna at MTV was yesterday! Despite being kept in the basement of the Holiday Inn (albeit with unlimited carrot cake) for several hours, no air conditioning, numerous security checks, release forms to be signed and phones being sealed in plastic bags under threat of removal from the building if they were used.

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We were escorted across Camden High Street in groups of about 15 people, and like a dysfunctional school trip, we were all encouraged to 'keep together, don't slow down...' as we made it to the studio. The MTV canteen had been converted into a studio with drapes of red velvet, nightclub tables, velvet couches and a large X against the wall.

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The floor manager ran through what was going to happen, explained the process, and within 15 minutes (and five minutes to broadcast) Madonna arrived. Some last minute hair and make-up checks were done, and Madonna and host DJ Trevor Nelson clinked their champagne glasses. Madonna claimed that Trevor had not taken a proper sip of champagne and told him to do it again, otherwise her whip would be used.

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Madonna with Trevor before the broadcast / Picture by Ste

The Q&A session was very rushed (everyone felt we should have least had an hour), Madonna wanted to give lengthy and thorough answers to the few questions that were posed. I am not sure how it appeared on screen, but the delay to the foreign outside broadcast locations, was so awkward, although Madonna's reactions to it were funny.

When the Medellin video was finally played, Madonna got off her seat and crawled onto the floor so she was nearer the TV screen that she was watching during the event.

She also made Trevor read out Madame X's manifesto, and stood behind him, doing hand gestures, grinding, laughing!

After the broadcast she also asked the audience if anyone wanted cha cha lessons, everyone said YES!

At the end of the night, as soon as we were allowed to leave, the phones got ripped out of the plastic bags, and we all took pictures of the studio as we were being encouraged to get a move on out of there!

Below is the one good picture from the night, of the MTV stage set, where mere moments earlier Madonna had been sitting.

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As we were leaving the studio, we picked up the MTV Call Sheet, showing Madonna's timings for the night.

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Tune into TODAY for #medellin video premiere

Today is the day! Madonna and Muluma's video for Medellin will premiere during a live MTV show from 9pm UK time (4pm EST).

Follow madonnalicious on our Instagram page at: www.instagram.com/madonnalicious_com or Twitter at twitter.com/_madonnalicious


Tune in tomorrow! #medellin

Madonna's live Medellin video premiere takes place tomorrow at the MTV Studios in Camden, London!

Follow us on Instagram page at: www.instagram.com/madonnalicious_com or Twitter at twitter.com/_madonnalicious for the live build-up to the event.


Madonna gets married to Maluma in Medellin music video teaser and it’s Wild West themed

Madonna has saddled up and headed to the Wild Wild West for her forthcoming Medellin music video - and it looks as though she’s had a shotgun wedding. The 60-year-old popstar has dropped several teasers from the anticipated visuals for her collaboration with Latin star Maluma, and Madame X is in for a wild ride. In a photo posted on her Instagram, Madonna wears a white wedding dress with a veil, cowboy hat and leather gloves. What a look.

The singer has wrapped her arms around Maluma’s neck as he snuggles into his blushing bride wearing a pretty snazzy suit with tassels galore. Madge also posted a selfie of herself wearing a black eye-patch while another teaser snap features her doing a line dance with a group of dancers in an array of interesting fancy dress costumes. Maluma sits on a nearby chair watching all the fun with a glass in-hand.

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Madonna released the reggaeton-inspired single, Medellin, last week and the lyrics hint at her finding love and getting married again - hence the bridal attire. She sings: ‘If I fall in love/If you love and we stay there, no, no, Mommy, because mommy got married. We built a cartel just for love/ Venus was hovering above us I took a trip that set me free/ Forgave myself for being me.’ Medellin is certainly a new, trendier sound for Madonna and she recently explained how her collaboration with Maluma came about. Speaking last week after the single release, the singer said: ‘I met him backstage at the (MTV) Video Music Awards and he was very sweet.'

‘The next day he sent me flowers and said what a great honour it was to meet me.’ Medellin is expected to be the lead single from Madonna’s next studio album, Madame X, which is inspired by her recent trips to Lisbon, Portugal. Madonna had previously teased her new album and alter-ego Madame X on Instagram.

From Metro.co.uk


Fans delighted as Madonna ends four-year hiatus with new track Medellin

Medellin, from Madonna’s first new album in four years, is an experimental return to form, fans have said.

The first single from the Queen of Pop’s forthcoming record Madame X was released on Wednesday to a generally positive response.

US radio and television host Andy Cohen was among those enjoying the track.

'I can’t handle this Madonna song I love it so much. I’m going nuts,' he said.

Drag queen and RuPaul’s Drag Race star Pandora Boxx was also a fan, writing: 'Yes!! I LOVE Madonna’s new song with Maluma!! Medellin out now! I love that Madonna is back doing what she does best – whatever the hell she wants! But seriously a great song!'

Maluma, the Colombian singer who appears on the track with Madonna, posted a video to Instagram in which he is brought to tears listening to it.

Some criticised the song for taking influence from Latin trap and reggaeton but fans leapt to Madonna’s defence.

One said: 'For such a long time we’ve wanted Madonna to take risks, really have a vision, try things, make things interesting, do the exact opposite of what everybody thought she’d do, and shake it up. And she’s really doing it with Medellin and Madame X.'

Another announced, 'The Queen is back,' before launching a robust defence of the track. 'Medellin signals another reinvention for Madonna, and clearly promises a new direction for her music after three distinctly average albums (Hard Candy, MDNA and Rebel Heart),' she said. 'Personally, I like the single and cannot wait for Madame X.'

Madame X was recorded over 18 months between Portugal, London, New York and Los Angeles and sees the pop veteran adopting the guise of the titular character.

The album will be released on June 14.

From PA Via Yahoo! News


Attend MTV’S ‘MEDELLIN' Video World Premiere with Madonna

Iconers!

Madonna will officially unveil the world premiere of her 'Medellín' music video during a globally televised MTV music event on April 24th at 9:00pm BST / 4:00pm ET !

The live conversation with Madonna, along with the video world premiere and fan Q&A will take place in London. We also will be hosting official fan viewing satellite premiere events in New York, Milan and São Paulo.

If you are in London on April 24th and would like to be a part of the studio audience with a chance to ask Madame X a question about her new music, then this is your opportunity!

Now that you got to discover her journey to Medellín, please answer the following question: Where is Madame X going next?

Share your vision and interpretation in visuals, music or text by e-mailing it, along with your RSVP to madamex@madonna.com before 11:59pm BST on April 20th.

For more details visit: www.madonna.com/madame-x-on-mtv


Madame X Album: Standard and Deluxe Versions

Madame X will come in a standard and deluxe version of the album. A variety of special bundles of Madame X with one-of-a-kind limited merchandise, as well as special vinyl and cassette versions of the album, are available now for pre-order HERE. Further details regarding the album, videos and appearances will be announced in the coming weeks.

The full track listing for Madame X standard and deluxe versions are:

1. Medellín with Maluma
2. Dark Ballet
3. God Control
4. Future ft. Quavo
5. Batuka
6. Killers Who Are Partying
7. Crave ft. Swae Lee
8. Crazy
9. Come Alive
10. Extreme Occident **deluxe version only
11. Faz Gostoso ft. Anitta
12. Bitch I’m Loca ft. Maluma
13. I Don’t Search I Find
14. Looking for Mercy **deluxe version only
15. I Rise

STANDARD COVER

Standard

DELUXE COVER Deluxe

Madonna Introduces Mysterious 'Madame X' With Social Media Teaser

Madonna is greeting the weekend with an introduction to what seems to be a new project, or persona, named Madame X.

The pop icon unveiled the mysterious Madame X on Instagram and Twitter Saturday (April 13), offering a preview of what's to come.

Leaving fans wanting more, she did not confirm whether Madame X is the title of an upcoming song or album release, or if it's an alter ego.

In March, she gave another sneak peek at what she has up her sleeve, tweeting a cryptic photo of a hand cutting an apple with the caption 'A taste of things to come.'

From Billboard.com


Urban Myths: Madonna And Basquait

The Sky Arts comedy drama series features an episode about Madonna and Basquait. The episode stars Sophie Kennedy Clark, Calvin Demba, Paul Kaye and David Bamber.

Before she was famous, Madonna had a short but passionate and influential relationship with Jean Michel Basquiat, a pioneer and darling of the 1980s New York art scene. Basquiat was riding high while Madonna was a coat check girl, but she already had the self-belief to know she had something special.

This myth takes place across one night on the New York subway, just before she infamously door-stepped music producer Seymour Stein at his hospital bedside where he signed her on the spot. This is a poignant moment, before Basquiat's untimely death and just before Madonna broke through to 'take over the motherfucking world'.

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Series 3 of the International Emmy Award-nominated comedy will be available on demand from Sky Arts and NOW TV from 10pm on Wednesday 10th April. The first episode will be aired on the channel earlier that evening, at 9pm.


Madonna to perform at Eurovision song contest in Israel

Madonna will perform two songs during the interval at next month’s Eurovision Song Contest. Organisers for the event, to be held in Tel Aviv on 18 May, told the BBC 'no final decisions have been made, or agreements signed', but Madonna’s press team are said to have confirmed the news.

Facebook pages for Live Nation Israel and Bluestone Entertainment, a company co-owned by Madonna’s manager, Guy Oseary, also announced the news on Monday. Their posts stated that the star would perform two songs at the contest, to a global audience of 180 million viewers, including a new song from her forthcoming album.

The performance is expected to cost around £765,000, financed by an Israeli-Canadian billionaire, Sylvan Adams, who has funded large events and concerts to support Israel amid movements for artists to boycott the country. Adams told the Jerusalem Post that the concert would improve Israel’s global image.

The BDS Movement has not responded directly to Madonna’s prospective appearance at Eurovision in Israel. It has previously called for a boycott of the festival, stating: 'Israel is shamelessly using Eurovision as part of its official Brand Israel strategy, which presents ‘Israel’s prettier face’ to whitewash and distract attention from its war crimes against Palestinians.'

British cultural figures including Vivienne Westwood, Peter Gabriel and Mike Leigh have signed a letter calling on the BBC to cancel coverage of this year’s Eurovision song contest because it is taking place in Israel.

Madonna is expected to release her 14th album this summer. She has been teasing new music online, including a collaboration with the Lisbon group Orquestra Batukadeiras, and was recently spotted filming a music video in Portugal.

From The Guardian Via Yahoo! News