Soon to tour for the first time in eight years, she’s ready to take on the world.
[The telephone rings.]
Madonna: Hi, Ingrid. How are you?
Ingrid: Good. How are you?
Madonna: Fine, thank you. Long time no talk.
Ingrid: I know. But before we say anything, I have to ask you something. Are you connected to the phone, or is it loose?
Madonna: Am I connected to the phone?
Ingrid: In other words does it have a wire that goes into the wall?
Madonna: Oh yeah, yeah. I can’t stand cordless phones. Too much static.
Ingrid: Thank the Lord. Because they don’t always work with recording devices, which is what we’re using here. Anyway, Madonna, I’ve been loving Music. Congratulations on its success these last few months. And congratulations on everything else.
Madonna: Oh, thank you.
Ingrid: So let’s get right to it. There are a number of songs on Music that I want to talk to you about. There’s “What It Feels Like for a Girl.” Can we start there?
Madonna: Sure. I’m actually trying to sort out what I’m going to do for the video for that song, because it’s going to be my next single. My husband’s directing the video, which I’m very excited about.
Ingrid: This will be the first time Guy [Ritchie] is directing you, right?
Madonna: Yes, it’s the first time we’ve worked together. The true test. [laughs] I think it’s so ironic that it’s for “What It Feels Like for a Girl,” because he’s such a guy.
Ingrid: I know. I’m thinking that, too.
Madonna: He’s such a macho man, and his movies are so testosterone-driven, but I asked him a long time ago which song on the album he responded to the most, and that’s the one.
Ingrid: Isn’t that interesting? It’s a song that is like a big hand that comes out and grabs you. What was going on in your life when you wrote it?
Madonna: I wrote it kind of halfway through the album, when I was pregnant and hiding it from the world. It was a really tumultuous period in my life. I was not in a terribly stable relationship at that point, and part of the reason was because we both lived in different countries.
Ingrid: You in American, Guy in Britain.
Madonna: It was an “OK, I don’t want to move to England,” “Well, I don’t want to move to America” type of thing. Of course, being the girl, [laughs] I made the first compromise. It’s that extra thing that women have. I don’t think that we’re better than men, but I believe there’s an extra accommodating chromosome that we have. I picked up my life and my daughter and everything and I rented a house in London, and moved there and decided, OK, well, I’ll just make my record here. And that’s really when our relationship started to work. But it was a huge sacrifice for me, and I know he was nervous and scared about the fact that he was going to be a father. So, my life was just a roller-coaster at that point. I remember going to work every day with a big coat on because I was hiding the fact that I was pregnant. I would think, God [sighs], if people only knew. So that’s what that song came out of: You’re pregnant, your hormones are raging, and you can’t tell anyone.
Ingrid: that’s the second time you weren’t able to tell anyone, isn’t it? When you were pregnant with Lourdes [now age four], it was during the filming of Evita , and that had to be kept under cover like a state secret, too.
Madonna: I know. It was like, “Why does this keep happening to me? Why do I have to keep hiding my pregnancies from everyone?” But, in fact, with my son [Rocco], it was for a number of reasons. Anyway, I just lived in limbo from every angle you could imagine, and I think that is also part of where that song came from, a big part of it. Then the other thing was – it’s probably the more obvious thing – that you go through life, I mean our generation certainly has been encouraged to grab life by the balls, be super-independent, get a great education, follow our dreams, kick ass, all that stuff, and I feel like I work up one day holding the golden ring and realized that smart, sassy girls who accomplish a lot and have their own cash and are independent are really frightening to men. I felt like, “Why didn’t somebody tell me? Why didn’t somebody warn me?” And that’s also what that song is about – swallowing that bitter pill.