Madonna’s Maverick Records partner Guy Oseary rings William Orbit.
William Orbit: Guy rang and suggested I send some topes to her. I didn’t take it very seriously, so I didn’t send anything. Then he rang again, so I sent a DAT with 13 tracks on it.
Madonna: I was a huge fan of William’s earlier records, Strange Cargo 1 and 2 and all that. I also loved all the remixes he did for me and I was interested in fusing a kind of futuristic sound but also using lots of Indian and Moroccan influences and things like that, and I wanted it to sound old and new at the same time.
12 May 1997
William Orbit: Five days later, sitting in my garden, I got a call from Madonna. She said she was working on my tracks and would I like to come out and meet up with her. They sent me a plane ticket and off I went.
Early June 1997
Madonna and William Orbit meet in New York.
William Orbit: It was a day of sun and showers, and I remember I got drenched just as I arrived at her apartment block.
Madonna: William showed up with his plastic bag full of tapes… he arrived at my door looking like a drowned rat. He looked really fragile. He was very humble and unassuming and endearing, like a little boy. As soon as I met him, I liked him.
William Orbit: Her living-room hi-fi wasn’t working, so we adjourned to her gymnasium with another hi-fi. She played me the stuff she’d written with Babyface and Pat Leonard, and I’m sitting thinking, “These tracks sound very slick. What can I contribute?”
We spent the next week at the Hit Factory getting my backing tracks up in stereo, and she sang what she’d worked out, and it was clear that something was happening. At the end of that week, she said, “Would you work on my record?” and I said. I’d love to.”
Work begins at Larrabee North Studio, Universal City, LA.
William Orbit: The first day, I was in paralysis because I was used to going off and being left to get on with it, but she said, “I’m not the kind of girl that leaves the guy to get on with it. Get used to it.” It took me a while to get used to someone looking over my shoulder.