(Billboard drinks.) Yuck. Are you in love now?
Do you want to be in love again?
I do. I’m a hopeless romantic. I love being in love. I mean, I’m in love with my children, but that’s a different kind of love. It’s the love that never ends.
Which of your songs do your kids like?
Lola is obsessed with “Bitch I’m Madonna” — that’s her favorite. She and Rocco like the Diplo tracks. Rocco is a huge fan of ’90s rap, so he likes “Veni Vidi Vici,” because he loves Nas. David is a guitar player and a singer himself, so he likes the more acoustic-style songs. He’s a real romantic.
You invented this idea of revealing yourself fully to the audience at a time when critics sniffed, “Real artists don’t reveal themselves in that way.” Now it’s mandatory for artists to overshare.
You must have a reality show.
Right. If you were 22, would you be addicted to Instagram?
I am addicted to Instagram. I don’t know what I would do if I was 22.
But do you think social media is a viable means of self-expression, or is it just marketing?
It’s both. You can take 1,000 selfies every time you have something to sell and use it as shameless self-promotion, or you can use it as an art form to express and share things that inspire you. I find it very revealing about people, what they choose to show about themselves.
What do you binge watch?
I watch Game of Thrones with my kids. That’s a good family bonding experience. My own personal obsession is True Detective, because Matthew McConaughey is so brilliant and the writing is genius. And an Irish series, The Fall. I mostly watch old movies, over and over again. All of Godard’s, and Visconti, Fellini, Pasolini. I love Alain Resnais.
Do you miss going to clubs and dancing?
I do go to clubs! I went to Ibiza with my daughter — it was like our last time together before she went off to college — and I was in several nightclubs with her, dancing, smashing into other people, everybody sweating all over me.
Do you think young women have it easier today?
Hmm … It depends on what you mean by “easier.” I guess it’s easier on the one hand because it’s no-holds-barred and you can do whatever you like. On the other hand, if you’re a pop star and want to get your records played and reach the masses, you have to play it very safe. You have to be very politically correct. There aren’t a lot of young pop stars who actually have opinions — or, they have them but they don’t express them. Individuality is not encouraged. Keeping your brand going and not rocking the boat — that’s what is encouraged.
What do you make of Miley Cyrus?
I like her. She seems like she doesn’t care what people think. People are always telling her she’s dirty or crazy or trashy, and she doesn’t care. I love that about her. In her peer group, she stands out.
When you look back on your career, what part do you think you played in changing taboos about growing up female in America?
I don’t think there was one part. I think it’s an ongoing activity in my life. I’m continuing to open doors for the women behind me. I don’t know many women who have had a successful career in pop music as long as I’ve had. And I waited until I was older to have children. I raised children and wasn’t married. And I continue to express myself — my sexuality — in my 50s, even though that’s also considered taboo, and I get a lot of shit for it. But in 20 years, Miley Cyrus probably won’t get shit for it. Then, it’ll be like, “Oh, yeah, that’s nothing new.”