Q: Madonna gave a speech at the Billboard Music Awards where she stated that she’s felt like a doormat in the music industry for 34 years. Could you relate to any of what she was saying?

A: All of the women in this business understand that. They’re fighting in a misogynist world. That’s why they wear some elements of their femininity and have to blend it in with masculinity…it’s a kind of protection. Somebody like Madonna is strong but soft. You have to be that way in this business. I remember when I met Katy Perry for the first time and this was before her first big album. Katy said, “You might not remember, but a few years ago, I waited outside for hours to meet you and somebody sweet let me come backstage.” I did remember meeting her and told her that. I saw the fire in her eyes back then! It was a room filled with people for a meet-and-greet but when we had a chance to chat, one of the things she said she already learned was that the music industry was totally a man’s world. Make no mistake: we’re all empowered, but we’re aware of what we’re fighting for. Madonna’s speech was completely honest.

Madonna with Nelly Furtado

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