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 or click here to subscribe to the digital edition!
Nothing’s better than more, more, more! Leave it to Madonna to exceed Us Weekly’s request for 25 Things You Don’t Me. Speaking with Us’ Entertainment Director Ian Drew recently, the pop legend, 56, sounded off on everything from her goal to meet President Obama (and Drake!), her disdain for fur bikinis, escargot, and her home state of Michigan in the much talked-about, published version of “25 Things.”
But that’s not all she had to say. In these outtakes from our exclusive chat with the legendary “Ghosttown” singer, Madonna muses on her family, filming Evita, the pitfalls of fame and who she might owe an apology to, among other topics. Read on!
US WEEKLY: In the spirit of rebel hearts, what was your ultimate “rebel” moment?
MADONNA: The ultimate moment where I most felt like a rebel was in St. Petersburg, Russia [in 2012 during the MDNA Tour] when I was told they were going to arrest anyone who was openly or obviously gay and they came to my shows and I spoke out against the government. Eighty-seven people were arrested and I was fined like $1 million. They dropped the lawsuit, though. When I stood up for Pussy Riot was around the same time, but there have been a lot of those moments. I also think about when I was in Toronto and they said if I simulated masturbation during one of my shows [during the Blonde Ambition Tour in 1990] they would have me arrested and I was like, ‘F–k you! I’m doing it anyway. So arrest me.’ They didn’t in the end. Lots of those. Then there’s the Vatican when they said they would have me…you know, whatever! It goes on and on….
US: Love the track on the album “Unapologetic Bitch” — so, who’s the biggest unapologetic bitch of them all?
M: Kanye West is the biggest unapologetic bitch besides me. …continue reading »
It’s been one hell of a week for Madonna. More than three decades into her phenomenally successful, exceptionally prolific music career, the undisputed Queen of Pop and Dance Anthem Enchantress officially released her 13th studio album, “Rebel Heart,” to critically acclaimed reviews.
Ticket sales launched for her next concert series, presumably entitled “The Rebel Heart Tour,” which is scheduled to kick off in Miami on August 29 and will continue worldwide through at least early 2016. This of course also means the Marketing Girl has embarked on one of her legendarily calculated full-court-press media tours, which, naturally and luckily, included several gay publications.
EDGE witnessed the media mayhem that only the Material Girl can create firsthand last Monday night when Madonna sat down with select members of the gay press at the Midtown Manhattan offices of her record label, Interscope.
The album is arguably Madonna’s best effort in years. From the first single’s deep-house, gospel-infused empowerment anthem, “Living For Love” (her record 44th number-one hit on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs chart) to moody and mature ballads like “Devil Pray” and “Joan of Arc,” the hauntingly redemptive “Ghosttown” (the likely next single), and just about every other genre in between, the album fully embraces its diversity.
Among the many standouts in the epic 19-song set (just 14 are featured on the standard album) are the ridiculously over-the-top “Holy Water” (“Whenever I write about sex, I always do it tongue-in-cheek,” she recently told Rolling Stone. “[This song] is obviously meant to be funny.”) and the girl-done-been-wronged track “HeartBreakCity.” And then there’s the deluxe album’s fierce finale, the Avicii-produced, rock-tinged title track “Rebel Heart” (oddly not included on the standard album). …continue reading »
Madonna is not yet in the building, but Interscope’s nondescript New York City HQ is primed for her arrival—the lighting is soft, the hallways are specially perfumed, and my palms are already moist. I’m sitting in the green room with four members of Madonna’s team—all of them bubbly, chatty women—but apart from that it’s a total sausage fest: 15 male, mostly gay journalists, and me. When word reaches us that she’s made an entrance, banter ceases and we all stare silently at the questions in our laps. I inhale two glasses of white wine to calm my nerves and become very aware that I need to pee, but I’m too scared to get up in case my name is called when my overalls are round my ankles. My father is already texting me excitedly, “Well???”
My dad is particularly invested in how my 20 minutes with her Madgesty will pan out because back in ’87 he took me to my first ever concert: Madonna on her Who’s That Girl Tour. I was only six years old but flashes from that night remain in sharp focus, like my pale pink ra-ra skirt, my mom’s lace gloves, and the strings of pale plastic pearls I looped round my neck. I remember the enveloping applause, too, and that point in the set when the then 28-year-old singer dedicated “Get into the Groove” to San Francisco and plucked a skinny Chinese guy from the 22,000-strong throng to dance with her. My Madonna moment, his Madonna moment, they’re just one among millions.
Rebel Heart is Madonna’s thirteenth studio album, and since half the record was leaked this past December, the singer’s been on a media blitz. Right now she’s everywhere—talking to all the major media outlets, floating through the air at the Grammys, falling on her ass at the Brits. Although you could argue she’s been pretty much everywhere since her 1983 hit “Everybody” saw her side-to-side shimmying out of the Lower East Side, onto dance floors, and into the charts. For the subsequent 30 plus years she’s been making waves and generating headlines whether it be thanks to game-changing albums or image reinvention, infuriating the Vatican and outraging prudes, or fighting for self-expression, gay rights, and human rights in general. Most recently Drake dedicated an entire song to her. …continue reading »
From ‘Hell’ And Back, Madonna Lives To Tell
With mere hours until the release of her new album, Madonna sits behind a closed door in a suite at Interscope Records’ office near Times Square. A stylist darts into the room for a few touch-ups. “She wants to look good for you,” Liz Rosenberg, Madonna’s longtime publicist, tells me. I pass a pair of security guards, then wait to be beckoned into the makeshift chamber. Not much has changed since 1984, when Madonna promised to “rule the world” and subsequently invented modern pop stardom. She is still the one to decide when, where and, most importantly, how we see her.
Over the past few months, however, a hacker challenged Madonna’s right to govern her own image. “Living hell” is how she describes the multiple Internet leaks that plagued her 13th studio album, “Rebel Heart.” For someone who approves every thread of her dancers’ costumes before a performance, this was Madonna losing control, the very thing that made her the star she is. So it makes sense that the singer, who did almost no press for her previous album because its release was sandwiched between a Super Bowl halftime show and a world tour, has been ubiquitous in her promotion of “Rebel Heart,” which was released March 10. The high priestess of reinvention maintains her relevance with the headline-making narratives that grow from each hit album, single, video, film and performance — distinct story lines that expand Madonna’s brand. Like the sexual dare of “Erotica,” the spiritual-enlightenment yarn of “Ray of Light” and the political racket of “American Life,” the new album now carries with it another chestnut to add to Madonna’s biography. It’s just not one she invited.
To create “Rebel Heart,” the 56-year-old collaborated with the likes of Diplo, Avicii, Kanye West, Nas, Nicki Minaj, Chance the Rapper, Mike Tyson, Toby Gad, DJ Dahi, Ariel Rechtshaid and Ryan Tedder over 18 months. Two days after Thanksgiving, a pair of demos leaked online. Then, a week after other journalists and I previewed 13 tracks one evening in early December, the full album leaked as well. What can the most exacting and famous pop icon on the planet do when hackers threaten her power? What she’s always done: reclaim control.
It’s not dissimilar from what I glean during our 30 minutes of face time, which Madonna begins by offering me a Red Vine. She may not know what questions she’ll be asked, but Madonna asserts herself simply by making it clear which ones she likes and which ones she does not. She’s cognizant that even professionals flinch in her presence. Coy smiles give way to skeptical frowns as the conversation unfolds, underscoring the art of Madonna’s protracted self-awareness.
In an age when pop stars feel like ephemera — Britney Spears turns into Katy Perry, John Mayer gives way to Ed Sheeran, Janet Jackson yields to Rihanna — Madonna is the only one to promote a persona that demands every move become another indelible page in the story she’s writing about herself. That’s tougher nowadays, when trends don’t last as long. So, as usual, Madonna concocts her own tale: She releases mastered versions of six leaked songs with no announcement, becomes the first major artist to premiere a video on Snapchat and runs a contest that allows fans to chat with her on Grindr. Just don’t think the leaks somehow benefited Madonna — she scowls when I imply there’s solace in their prompting her to stretch “Rebel Heart” from 13 tracks to 19, meaning she eliminated less from what at one point might have become a double album.
“It was really hard on everybody,” she says of the leaks. “Everybody became very paranoid. It was like, ‘Oh, it could be anybody. It’s got to be somebody close.’ I was worried it was an engineering assistant or somebody that had access to everything.” (It was a 39-year-old man from Israel. He has been arrested and indicted.) …continue reading »