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Madonna Interview : Los Angeles Times

Madonna - Los Angeles Times / March 01 1998

Madonna, Only More So

The pop icon finds little in her storied life that’s not affected by the birth of her daughter–especially the themes of her latest album.

If you’ve thought that Madonna has often seemed petulant and self-indulgent in her rise from sex goddess to media mogul, you’re not alone. She thinks so too.

One reason her new “Ray of Light” is the most satisfying album of her career is that it reflects the soul-searching of a woman who is at a point in her life where she can look at herself with surprising candor and perspective.

In both her singing and writing on the album, which is due in stores Tuesday from Warner Bros. Records in association with her own Maverick Records, Madonna expresses herself so convincingly that you don’t feel you are listening merely to the latest career reinvention of a master pop strategist.

“I traded fame for love, without a second thought… ,” she sings in the opening lines of the album. “And now I find I’ve changed my mind.”

In an interview, Madonna, 39, says that several experiences contributed to the tone of the album, which speaks about the importance of finding and nurturing love. But one factor stands out for the star of the film “Evita”: her 16-month-old daughter, Lourdes Maria. “I feel like I’m starting my life all over in some ways,” she says. “My daughter’s birth was like a rebirth for me.”

Madonna has no plans to marry the child’s father, personal trainer Carlos Leon, and is unsure whether she wants ever to marry anyone again. Her three-year marriage to actor Sean Penn ended in divorce in 1989. She would, however, like to have another child. In the interview, Madonna talks about her music, her image and her baby.

Question: How much richer has your baby made your life?
Answer: It’s infinitely richer. Every day, I’m so excited to wake up in the morning and see her.

Q: Do you have a nickname for her?
Madonna: Sure, Lola….

Q: And, does Lola get whatever Lola wants?
Madonna: Nope [laughs]. I do spoil her, but I have my boundaries. If she had her way, she’d be eating candy all day. She loves candy. She doesn’t like playing with toys, but she loves taking the top off of every writing implement in my house and drawing all over the walls. Unfortunately, all of my friends do spoil her when they come around. But what can you do?

Q: What do you think the baby will mean in terms of your career ambition?
Madonna: You have different priorities. . . . When my publicist says you have to do this and this, I go, ‘No. I don’t,’ where I once would have done it all. Now, I’ll say, ‘Cut everything in half.’

Q: How do you think that’ll translate in terms of future albums and films and tours?
Madonna: It means I’m going to really have to pick and choose the things I do. My managers want me to go on tour for a year, but I just had to throw my head back and laugh because there’s no way I’m going to do it. My lifestyle has changed, immensely. Where I’m going to be and how much time I am with [the baby] is always going to come into the picture before I make any decision.