Ingrid: [laughs] I couldn’t be there on the night of the New York City listening party for Music that you did [with a Cyber Roundup Installation by Dolce & Gabbana] at Roseland last November, but a bunch of people from the magazine were there, and so were various friends, and everyone raved about it. It feels like when you hit the stage you were back home.
Madonna: Yes. It felt fantastic. And so did the show in London, which was even better in my opinion. You know when you have those moments.
Madonna: Oh, that’s why I do what I do, oh right. the writing is a big part of it, but the performing is equally as big, and I haven’t done that for a really long time. Obviously it’s the thing that made me go, “OK, I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do this in a bigger way and for a longer period of time, with more music and stuff.” We’ll see what happens. I’m incredibly nervous about it, because –
Ingrid: – I don’t blame you.
Madonna: You know, I never want to repeat myself. I don’t see the point of doing a show unless you offer something that is going to mind-boggle the senses. It’s not enough to get on stage and sing a song. It’s all about theater and drama and surprise and suspense. So I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also nervous about it. I’m always saying, “Can I do it? Can I do it?” It’s a massive undertaking, and now I have two kids.
Madonna: No rest for the weary. [laughs]
Ingrid: And a marriage.
Madonna: Oh my God, please, yeah.
Ingrid: So can you be specific about the plan?
Madonna: Well, it’s on for the summer. Basically I’m supposed to start rehearsing in April and I’m going to go out on tour from June through September.
Ingrid: America or the world?
Madonna: America and Europe. Maybe Asia, we’ll see.
Ingrid: I’m not saying this to in any way sound fawning –
Madonna: [laughs] – not being a smoke blower.
Ingrid: It feels as though this is a great moment for you to do this.
Madonna: It does feel right. It’s like when I got married. Certain things happen, and there isn’t a doubt in your mind. You know there’s going to be challenges, you know that it’s going to be a rocky road and all those things, but you also know in every cell of your body that it’s the right thing to do, so you just do it.
Ingrid: Here’s the opposite of being allowed to trust yourself with the right thing to do – the second single from Music, the song “Don’t Tell Me.”
Madonna: Well, the inspiration for that song came from my brother-in-law, Joe Henry, who’s married to my sister. He’s one of my all-time favorite people in the whole world, and a true poet, a singer/songwriter himself. Joe Henry wrote a version of it and sent it to me. The production of it was kind of almost like a torch song in a way, like a bluesy torch song. And I just took it and ran with it and finished writing it and then Mirwais and I changed the music. But what I loved about it – I just love the defiance of it.
Ingrid: Me too. “Don’t tell me to stop / Tell the rain not to drop / Tell the wind now to blow / Cause you said so.”
Madonna: To me it is a romantic song. Just, you know, rip my skin off, do not tell me who I should love, or how I should love. Don’t tell me to give up. To me, in a way it’s like that Frank Sinatra song, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”
Ingrid: Was “Music” the first song that you wrote for the record?
Madonna: Actually, the first thing I worked with Mirwais on was “Paradise (Not for Me),” the second-to-last song, the least accessible and commercial song on the record. And then we sort of worked backwards, but “Music” was probably the second song. And then that set the tone for the rest of the record, really.
Ingrid: It’s that song that you’ve got two Grammy nominations for, right? [“Music,” the single, is nominated for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance; in addition Music, the album, is up for Best Pop Vocal Album.]
Madonna: Yeah, that’s right.
Ingrid: Now I want to ask you about Britney Spears.
Ingrid: The reason I’m interested in that it feels like there’s more than meets the eye here.