After falling off a horse, most pop stars would cancel their tour, halt production on their album, freeze all promotional activity and stay in bed. But not Madonna. The music icon fractured three ribs after a riding accident at her home in England, but managed to squeeze into a slinky outfit and shoot the video for “Hung Up,” the single from her latest album, Confessions on a Dance Floor. “I have a high pain threshold,” explains Madonna, 47. “It’s remarkable.” It sure is. As her new tour ruffles feathers with it’s controversial content, we delved into the mind of the mother of two and wife of British movie director Guy Ritchie.
I’m constantly, forever, defending sound bites. People are always taking things I say out of context, and then I have to defend that one line, when, if they had done their research, they wouldn’t jump to the conclusions that they jump to. You end up spending entire interviews saying, “I didn’t say that…. No, that’s not true.”
I don’t have a lot of free time, so when I do, it’s all about being with my kids. The ice-skating rink, pizza, movies, being in the countryside watching my daughter ride her horse, going for walks… kind of boring, right? Times have certainly changed, but it’s all good.
Out on the Town
Last week I went to a club and danced with my friends, and it was really fun. I do it sometimes. When I’m on tour, I go to clubs with a few of my dancers. I don’t do it as music as I used to. Who’s got free time? Who can stay up all night?
My Latest Album
I’m ecstatic that people are digging the music. I just feel that my enthusiasm and my joy in connecting with people and that’s a great thing. I play the album when I’m in the gym or when I go for a run or am doing yoga.
Why a Dance Album?
Why not? I guess because I’ve been making records for 20 years now, and dance music is where life began for me– in a disco. My first love is dance music, and I wanted to get back to that.
I think it’s about paying attention. For instance, I say David LaChapelle’s movie “Rize”, and it had incredible dancers in it. I found out who the dancers were and put them in my next video. I have an insatiable hunger and curiosity to find out about new things. Inevitably those things find their way into my work. I think that’s what we all do as artists and creative people. We’re all plagiarizing!
Going Back in Time
I didn’t go back and listen to my own old records, but a lot of my music and lyrics are a part of my unconscious and they come up without me even thinking about it.
My Producer, Stuart Price
We’ve known each other for five years now, and I think that working together on many things has helped us to feel more familiar with each other. When we started, I think there was a little of that intimidation factor and Stuart many have been nervous. Writing music with people is very intimate; you have to feel comfortable– famous or not. We spent a lot of time in the studio together. In all honesty, I got nervous being around him in the studio because when you write lyrics and then come into the studio and sing them for someone for the first time, it can be very nerve-wracking. You wonder if they might think the lyrics stink, or they may thing the melody is crap. You really have to make yourself vulnerable.
‘Hung Up’ — the Song
“Hung Up” came about when Stuart brought the track to me in the very rough form about a year ago. He asked me what I thought. I heard the ABBA sample and loved it. I cranked it up in my car and drove around the city. I told him I loved the track and that we needed to turn it into a song. I wrote the lyrics to it in about 10 minutes.
‘Hung Up’ the Video
The inspiration for the video was mostly “Saturday Night Fever”. I hope I was channeling John Travolta! I watched it about 20 times with Jamie King, the choreographer, and Johan Renck, the director, and we just wanted to create [an atmosphere] where everyone’s world revolved around dance music.
Dominating the Dance Market
I’m not claiming ownership over any territory. I’m just making music that I love to make. I didn’t start it. Chic started it, Donna Summer started it. It’s not mine. I don’t take the credit.
Before I Was Famous
I miss the freedom of going out to a nightclub by myself, walking in there, onto the dance floor, and dancing the night away without anyone bothering me or noticing me.
My kids love all the stuff I’ve done, they love dance music. My husband, on the other and, is not a big dance music fan, so he likes some of the tracks, but not all of them.
We live in a society that values fame and fortune. At the end of the day, will these things matter? Will it really matter how many records I’ve sold? Or how many times I was number one? Or how pretty or foxy I was? Or how popular I was? Will any of those things matter? I think lots of people ask that question.
Is It Worth It?
I think a lot of people in the public eye who are constantly being judged, putting themselves out there and taking risks, having highs and lows, all have to ask themselves that question at some point. You have to ask yourself, “What am I doing this for and how important is is to me?” because you have to make a lot of sacrifices along the way.
My Next Move
I just want to do more of what I do and be better at it. There’s nothing specific I want to achieve. I could do another dance album, but I don’t like to repeat myself. Maybe I could do a ballad album, or maybe I’ll write a musical, or I might direct a film and do all the music in the film, you know what I mean? Anything’s possible.
I consider myself to be a chameleon. I can be working on an Olivia Newton-John or a Farrah Fawcett look, it just depends. It’s all about changing and evolving. I never see myself as making one particular fashion statement. Any one of my looks is just one side to me. When I wandering around my house in the country, I’m not wearing polka-dot chiffon dresses, okay?! As soon as you think you’ve got me pigeonholed, I’m going to surprise you. There are many sides to my personality– there always have been and there always will be.