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Madonna Interview : The Vinyl Maniac

Madonna - The Vinyl Maniac / February 1984

She seems to have arrived on the music scene out of nowhere. Her look, style and sound have caught on everywhere. Holiday is currently becoming a national hit. Her career seems to have blossomed overnight, but there is more than meets the eye. Madonna is here with us now to share the story.

VM: Well Madonna, how do you feel about crossing over on the Pop charts?

Madonna: Ooh, I just love it, that ís what I wanted ultimately.

VM: Congratulations on your appearances on American Bandstand and Solid Gold. I mean even little kids in Wisconsin must know the record by now.

M: Thank you.

VM: How did you become interested in singing career?

M: When I was 5 years old, I would run to see the Lawrence Welk show with the girls singing and the bubbles floating around.

VM: Wonderful, wonderful.

M: Then Nancy Sinatra, singing, “These boots are made for walking”.

VM: That would be a great remake.

M: So I’ve been told.

VM: How did you pursue your desire to sing?

M: I was not fulfilled with my career as a dancer, which is why I came to NY.

VM: Where are you from?

M: Detroit.

VM: How old where you when you set out to New York to become a dancer?

M: I studied ballet and other forms of dancing for years. In-between my desires to act and sing I also wanted to dance. Dancing was where I focused most of my concentration on towards my final high school years. The center of everything is in New York so my ultimate challenge was to make it here. I arrived and was accepted into some dance companies. Eventually, I was not fulfilled with just doing that, I wanted to do more, like sing. I wanted to project more of a personality vocally.

VM: How did you accomplish this?

M: I didn’t know anything about writing music or how to get into the music industry. I sort of fell into it because of Patrick Hernandez.

VM: “Born to be Alive,” Patrick Hernandez?

M: Yes

VM: Did you sing on that record?

M: No, after the record was a big hit, his producers were trying to get an act together. They were looking for dancers who could sing, to perform on stage with him. The job offered a chance to travel all over the world so I went on the audition. After 8 long hour of auditions, the producers called me into a room and said “We think you’re great but we don’t want you as a background singer, we want to make you a star.” They asked me to come to France because that’s where their label Aquarius Records was based. They also offered me a private vocal coach. So I went to France to learn the language and see what direction I wanted to go in musically. I stayed there for 6 months and most of the time I was miserable. I was used to NY’s high-energy lifestyle. Sure I did a lot of traveling in Europe but I felt like I wasn’t getting anything done. They were all too busy with Patrick, I told them that I wanted to come to New York for a vacation to visit my friends; I left and never went back.

VM: How did it feel to be back in the Big Apple?

M: I had a lot of pent up energy inside of me from sitting around being a spoiled French brat. I went to a party one night and I met these two brothers, Eddie and Dan. They told me they had a band and to come see them I did and I really liked them After that they were looking for a drummer so naturally I told them I could play the drums of course I couldn’t. I auditioned for them and I was really bad. But they allowed me to come and practice with them. I practiced everyday for 4 to 6 hours, I eventually became their drummer. That was my first musical venture, being the drummer for a band called the Breakfast Club. I then learned how to play guitar and keyboards. Once I learned the major chord progressions, I began to write songs. After some time went by I told them I didn’t just want to play drums for the whole set, I wanted to get up and sing a song. First they said no, because they had two singers already. One night they gave me a chance. The song that I performed was the first song I ever wrote called “I was born to be a Dancer.” I got a standing ovation.

VM: Where did you sing it?

M: CBGB’s.

VM: What clubs were included in your rounds?

M: Maxis, The Eighties, and the Mudd Club, places like that.

VM: What year was that?

M: 1980 and 1981.

VM: So what happened with the group?

M: Although I became very proficient drummer, I wanted more and more to be in the front and not the background. Finally after I wrote some more songs, and got up the courage I said see you guys later. When I left I took the bass player with me. I found a new drummer and with me playing guitar we created a new 3-piece band.