And she enjoys what she does, of course. “I love my job,” she shrugs.
Madonna-philes feel that the star has a great deal of sensitivity beneath her bravado exterior. She constantly refers to herself as an artist. Does it frustrate that her sensitivity is not noticed? “No, because the people who are sensitive do see it, and that’s all I care about. I don’t concern myself with the opinions of ignorant people.”
Opinions she does take notice of come from the many (male) producers who she has worked with in the recording studio for Erotica, that means Shep Pettibone and Andre Betts. The working pattern differs, she claims, from day to day “It’s different every time. I write all the words. Sometimes Shep or Andre will present a track of music to me and I’ll just write the words to it, and sometimes I have a melody in my head but I don’t play instruments so I’ll go to them and say: ‘This is what I hear in my head,’ and I’ll sing it to them and they’ll play it. Sometimes it’s just a phrase of music and we build from there, sometimes the music is absolutely finished and I just put the words on it.”
Why was Pettibone chosen? “Because I like working with him.” She shrugs again. Was that working with him, or because you like his work?
“I like working with him,” she explains. “I don’s like the work he does with other people, but I like what he does with me.”
Madonna’s management skills are currently being put to the test with the running of her own record company, Maverick. She says she’s not certain how many people it employs (“about 50”, but that, “I’m very involved. We signed two acts and a third is being worked on. The first one is a black rap group called Proper Grounds, kinds like Public Enemy, but with a Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix kind of background. Very political and very militant.”
“Then I signed another girl named Michelle. She sings and writes, as well as plays bass. She’s very creative; she’s kind of like Prince; she’s like a female Prince. It’s kind of street New York dance and rap.”
All aspiring Maverick acts have to do is send demos to the A&R department. “It’s the same with film scripts. We’re looking for new talent,” she enthuses. Is she also, with all this high-profile management involvement, interested in politics, perhaps?
“I think what I do is quite political.” Madonna stonewalls. She refuses to be drawn any further on the subject. Nor indeed on any of the current candidates for the forthcoming American election.
Asked about the prospect of another tour in the future, all she wants to do for now is just get through this week. “I think about it, but not right now. The soonest I would do it would be the Spring. Am I putting it off? Yes, mmm, sort of.” Before then there is another film, Snake Eyes, directed by Abel Ferrara, the Italian director who worked with Christopher Walken on The King Of New York. Shooting begins in January. So much to do. “Life is long and I don’t know how much more I will achieve,” reflects Madonna finally. “I have many dreams and I have achieved a lot of them, but as I live my life other things come up, other things inspire me. I don’t have a list, and I’m not checking things off”
Time to finish with a fatuous question. Doesn’t she dream of that house, those kids, that husband and a ‘normal’ life.
“I know lots of people that have families and husbands,” she offers, “and don’t lead normal lives.”