You wrote the album in less than two weeks?
Yeah. Because we wrote a song a day, and we didn’t change them. And oftentimes the vocal that she did was the lead vocal, we didn’t even change the lead vocal. That was it. She sang it. It was done.
We learned that from [her album] “True Blue”. . . “Live to Tell’s” [vocal] was a demo, and so were a lot of others. It’s not that they were demo vocals — they were just never sung more than once.
I put the track together, she would sing it, and that was it. We learned from that. This idea of a ritualistic vocal session doesn’t make any sense. You perform now. You know the song, perform it. And oftentimes, the energy that’s there because you’re in this creative space is much more pure than when you’ve thought about it and worked on it and practiced it in your car and all that stuff. It’s like, eh, come on. Blue collar, once again. Get to work (Laughs).
What are you working on now?
I have my own media company and we’re working on a lot of different projects that are interesting. Mixers of media, film and music and storytelling and novel writing — and all kinds of different things.
I’m working with a classical pianist named Iris Hond. We’re doing a project called “Sara and the Hourglass” that we’ve co-created. It’s new classical music with a kind of a story interjected using 80-piece orchestras…
It’s really fun, because it ranges from the simplistic to Rachmaninoff complexity. She’s an amazing pianist. So there’s this thing where kids can look up and go “wow, this girl’s like in her 20s and she’s amazing and what she does, and she’s choosing to do this with orchestras.” It’s something that the classical world needs and is open for, and it’s really exciting. So I’m putting quite a bit of time into that.
My day-to-day right now is that I’m in the most luxurious position in that I’m writing and making a record with Leonard Cohen.
You’ve worked with him previously, correct?
I worked on his last record. We did four songs together and it did very, very well.
And when might we expect that album?
I don’t know, but we’re working very quickly. I think that it should be done in the next relatively quick period of time, the next couple months, it will be finished.
Patrick Leonard would continue to work with Madonna after “Like a Prayer.” He co-produced the bulk of her 1990 “I’m Breathless” album (including the cheeky top 10 Hot 100 single “Hanky Panky”) and co-wrote and co-produced her No. 2 smash “I’ll Remember” in 1994. He later worked with Madonna on her 1998 album “Ray Of Light,” including the No. 2 single “Frozen” and the top 20 hit “The Power of Good-bye.” He most recently collaborated with Madonna in 2008. He composed the music for her documentary film “I Am Because We Are.”
Would you like to work with Madonna again?
I would love to, because it’s always really musically satisfying. We’ve done some things — little things — over the years. But the record-making/sitting down and writing songs together, we haven’t done it in ages.
There was a musical play that she was considering and we got together and worked on some music, and we wrote a couple songs from scratch. And there was one ballad, and I remember the day we did it.
I had written the music and she wrote the lyrics and went in and sang it. And she came out of the booth and we both kind of looked at each other and she said, “You know, I think some things never change.” It was just an immediately great song.
You know, my music, her words, her voice. There’s a chemistry that’s really cool. I would love to [work with her]. But I also deeply respect her trajectory, and we’re on very different trajectories. I’m very happy right now working with (Cohen), who’s just probably the greatest poet on earth. Makes me really happy.