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Madonna Interview : Smash Hits

What do you think people say about you behind your back?

Oh God, I don’t want to think about it.

Do you still remember the hard years?

Of course I do. Some of them were real fun. They were certainly more intense. I knew I would become a star and I believed in it like mad. I had a lot of drive even when I was poor. I never agreed to do just anything.

What about the nude photographs?

Well, I don’t care at all. They exist and they belong to the past.

Madonna - Smash Hits / April 22 - May 05 1987

Were you pleased with the success of Desperately Seeking Susan?

Well, when it opened in Hollywood, on that first night I really felt like a little girl. All the cameras, the flashes, the crowd that applauded, it was just great.

Your second film, Shanghai Surprise, was an appalling flop.

That’s a pitty because I like the film a lot. Oh, well, it’s all a grand experience for me.

You seem to have quite a large ego.

It’s more that an ego. It’s an overwhelming interior light which I let shine without control. (?) I am guided by the instinct – it’s both my faith and conscience.

When you’re at home do you only listen to your own records?

Oh, my God, no. Ha ha! I like Billie Holiday (old “blues” singer played by Diana Ross in Lady Sings The Blues), Prince, of course, and I’m a great fan of Chaka Khan. Her voice is absolutely incredible. I only wish I could sing like her. How did she even manage to get that quality of tone? A true Godsend!

The “back to the ’60s” style of songs like “True Blue” has come in for a fair bit of criticism in the last few months.

Well, I grew up loving the voices of innocent children like Diana Ross when she was in the Supremes or Stevie Wonder when he was young. That style has always attracted me. I don’t sing like a woman, I sing like a girl – and that’s a quality I mean to keep.

But you started out as a disco singer.

That’s true. My first records were disco and that style pleased the public. Frankly, I don’t know how I got into that style — it’s just that the themes used to come naturally. Later on, I played with rock bands and I certainly imbibed their style. Now, as a rule I write all my own songs. If not, then I supervise. I express my opinion and adaptations are then brought about. That happened with “Papa Don’t Preach.” And I also write for other singers: I wrote one for Bryan Ferry. And I’m producing my own records – to be as free as possible. For “True Blue” I gathered the same team as for “Like A Virgin”, the best musicians and the best studios in town. We were perfectly matched. To give the best of myself I must feel confidence without stress or outside pressure.

Is there anything else in life you want or need?

Yes. One more hour per day. To sleep!

What would you take if you were stranded on a desert island?

Pop corn, bubblegum, water melon juice, my jogging outfit, books, and two movies: It’s A Wonderful Life with James Stewart and A Place In The Sun with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.

Bruce Springsteen was born to run, were you born to flirt?

Oh, yes. With life, of course…

© Smash Hits