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Madonna News - June 2014

Madonna announces funding for three Detroit groups

Madonna said she was incredibly inspired by her recent Detroit visit. Today she’s backing it up with her wallet.

In what her spokeswoman calls “the first phase of a long-term commitment” to the city, the Michigan-born pop star is announcing funding for three Detroit community groups.

Benefiting will be the Downtown Youth Boxing Gym, Detroit Achievement Academy and the Empowerment Plan — described in a press release as “three extraordinary organizations that have already begun to bring hope and change to the city.”

They were among the Detroit outfits visited by Madonna during a visit here in early June, when rep Liz Rosenberg said the star was aiming to connect with her hometown.

In a statement to be released today, Madonna says: “I was deeply inspired by the efforts of so many people who I met who have dedicated themselves to helping the kids and adults in Detroit elevate themselves from the cycle of poverty. I have seen the results their commitment and hard work have already accomplished.”

Dollar amounts were not disclosed, but the contributions will entail:

– A “significant donation” toward a new facility for the Downtown Youth Boxing Gym, which serves 65 young people with after-school boxing and mentoring.

– Equipment, art supplies and music gear for the Detroit Achievement Academy, a progressive charter school on the city’s northwest side, including iPods, iPads and Smart Boards for classrooms.

– Funding to train three seamstresses at the Empowerment Plan, which tutors homeless women in job skills while creating coats that serve as sleeping bags for the homeless.

“From meeting the kids at Downtown Youth Boxing Gym who have a 100% high school graduation rate, to seeing how eager the students at the Detroit Achievement Academy are to learn about the arts, to understanding the value of giving homeless women the opportunity to become self-sufficient through The Empowerment Plan, it was obvious to me that I had to get involved and be part of the solution to help Detroit recover,” Madonna says in today’s statement. “A piece of my heart will always be in Detroit and I’m humbled to be able to give back to my community.”

Madonna, who left Michigan for New York in her late teens to pursue an entertainment career, has been a regular visitor in recent months as her daughter, Lourdes Leon, becomes a University of Michigan freshman.

Detroit Free Press

Madonna dines with Lourdes and Carlos

All in the family! Madonna may have split from her ex Carlos Leon more than 15 years ago, but she met him for dinner with their daughter Lourdes just this week.

The trio reunited in New York City on Thursday, June 19, dining at Manhattan’s trendy downtown lounge and restaurant, Beauty & Essex. Madonna, 55, arrived in a NYC-chic look, an onlooker tells Us, wearing a black top, black pants, and horn-rimmed glasses. See pics of Lourdes and Madonna through the years.

Madonna’s eldest child Lourdes, 17, who graduates from LaGuardia High School this month, kept it casual in a T-shirt and shorts, and slung a backpack over her shoulder. Hunky trainier and actor Leon, 47, rocked a silver pendant on a chain over a blue T-shirt with a pair of jeans.

An observer tells Us that the modern family “looked like they were having a great time,” and spent the evening “laughing, joking, and enjoying each other’s company.”

During their Beauty & Essex feast, the trio dined on basil pesto ravioli, the restaurant’s take on a New York pretzel, salt & vinegar fries, kale and apple salad, and a crispy eggplant pizzetta.

One item was purposefully absent from their menu, however. An onlooker at the restaurant spills to Us that the Material Girl was asked before they were served if she had any allergies or dietary restrictions. As only she could, Madonna reportedly answered simply, “Ignorance.”

US Magazine

William Orbit on Madonna, working on MDNA album

People got so excited when they knew you were involved in Madonna’s MDNA. How different was it to collaborate with her on these two different projects ?

I knew people were excited, they ask me about a new Ray Of Light every minute of the day. Think of it this way: Ray Of Light came about very spontaneously. We were in this studio in a rather unfashionable part of LA where nobody came. The record company guy came down only once and made some comments and I do remember Madonna telling him “This is art. This is how we are doing it. We’ll let you come and have a good listen but we’ll see you in two months when it’s done.” It was a very pure experience; it was all about making that record and nothing else. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out at the very beginning but the moment I saw her jumping into the tracks in such an artistic way, I instantly thought how great it was going to be. She’s an amazing person, producer and it was a true collaboration. It’s important to get this across; I don’t like it when people assume that I was the clever one doing the whole job. It has been a bit of a curse and I’d feel mortified if I was her because on the album there is written “produced by Madonna and William Orbit” and that’s what happened! She didn’t put her name there out of vanity, she was f*cking in there with me and it wouldn’t have happened without the two of us. As for MDNA it’s important to say that I jumped on the project later; she had already started it. She had a lot of stuff going on, I honestly don’t know how any human being could cope with making an album, directing and producing a movie, launching products and everything that comes with just being her. I mean, I had to cancel a couple of appointments this morning because I was overbooked! She’s so organized and such an incredible time manager, just like a general. Anyway, we were just not really able to lock the door and everybody out for MDNA. She was having such a great time at first but it somehow became very complex for everybody. I would have mixed it myself if I could, or only together with Madonna in front of the mixing desk because she’s a great mixer. We have spirited debates about things but we both always end up in the same direction because we’re good at mixing. Moreover, I should have told her that technically I did more album than she did and even though there’s nothing I can ever do to even come close to what she achieved, I know she can trust me on the technical side of things. Just let me f*cking be in charge of the technical, it’s so important! I would have dropped three of the six tracks that she had already made with the other guys. They were not good enough in my opinion; too puerile. As for the remaining three I would have suggested to put more depth and make them more special. I had the best team and other brilliant songs and this is why I am still a bit puzzled to these days. It’s not that I ever give it a second thought; I’m only talking about this because you’ve asked of course. Life is too busy to worry about stuff, you have to move on. Any saying I had on my part are down to me, so if I have made some mistakes then it’s my fault.

Actually the six tracks you produced are unquestionably the most powerful ones. I guess Madonna was in a different emotional place during the Ray of Light era…

It was definitely an important time when a lot of things happened. The day we were recording Swim in the studio, Madonna got a call from her friend Donatella, informing her about that terrible thing that happened to her brother. We kept on recording and of course it had some effects on the song. On a more positive side she had a daughter, her first child, this tiny little thing. What a perfect time to be writing and recording! What she does in the studio is fantastic and as I’ve said, her involvement in that album is much greater than what she has ever been given credit for. We did not have a plan but she’s good in driving things along, in fact when we finished Ray Of Light she immediately set up a listening party for the people at Warner. As we were waiting outside in a little sitting room, picking on strawberries and biting our nails, I realized “shit, Madonna has no idea about how they’re going to respond! She’s nervous! Madonna does no nervous!” I did not expect her to feel that way because she never shows it. As it turned out everybody loved it and started jumping and to me it was a really great example on how making a really good record. I mean, that woman has never lost any money even on a bad year but still… It’s different with Britney for instance, because Madonna is a different kind of artist of course, but nevertheless she deserves to be given a chance and I wish I had the possibility to do what I can do for her. Maybe let’s talk about this in ten years, I’m here to stay. I feel reborn and excited so don’t look at me as a seasoned producer because I am ready to go with the same zeal I had for the first record. If you manage to live on music for 35 years, it means that you’re a hard worker, smart and that you’ll definitely carry on until your death. It’s a long horizon, there’s no rush.