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Madonna Interview : Q Magazine

Madonna - Q Magazine / May 2008

Dame Shirley Bassey : As a singer, one has to do a certain amount of exercise to keep the voice, but why do you work out so much?

Because my body is an important instrument as well as my voice. Does working out really help with singing? Yeah, absolutely. Using your diaphragm properly is connected to having good posture. Good posture, good health: it’s all connected. Your body’s one organism. [Appalled] You can’t separate it. If you’re not in good health your vocal cords will suffer. Everything suffers.

Johnny Marr : If you didn’t have to be diplomatic, or to worry about what anyone was going to think of you, what would you really say about fame?

Ha! Well, I can tell you the truth and still not worry about being diplomatic. Fame is a by-product. Fame is something that should happen because you do work that speaks to people and people want to know about your work. Unfortunately the personality of people has taken over from the work and the artistry and it’s this thing now that stands on its own. I don’t think one should ever aspire to being famous. [Thinks] I don’t know. I don’t really have a comment on it because there’s lots of famous people. But if you’re just known for being famous… it’s just too ephemeral. It’s like a flavor of ice cream. It’s not very memorable.

Nick Hodgson [Kaiser Chiefs] :I’ve met you. We had a good time. We had little nicknames for each other. Mine was “N”, yours was “M”. Do you remember me?

No. I’m sorry. Where did he meet me? Did he specify? [Thinks] It’s possible. I’m not going to rule it out. But I don’t remember it.

Ian Brown : I fully support you adopting David Banda from Malawi in 2006. I think it’s beautiful. How do you feel about the criticism you received for it?

[Sarcastically] I loved every minute of it. [Biggest laugh of the afternoon] Oh, but it was all rubbish! Who wants to be criticised for saving someone’s life? The criticism went on a bit? Yeah. It did. That’s a stupid question. [Q ventures it’s a bit late to be complaining about stupid questions] Just ask me good ones. That was an obvious one.

Margaret Hodge [Culture Minister] : If you were Music Minister, what would be the first thing you would do to help young music artists?

Culture Minister of what? [Q explains] Oh. [Thinks] I would make it so that musicians – young musicians, aspiring musicians – wouldn’t have to pay the [London] congestion charge. Or pay taxes. They would be exempt from those kind of things; so they’d have more money to do other things. Will Ken Livingstone get my vote? No. The traffic in London is worse than ever. Now all Red Ken wants is roadworks going on everywhere. Don’t use the Tube; can’t use the roads? No. I’ll just have to walk, I guess. But I think all aspiring artists need help and the assistance of someone to recognize their talent. But you also have to help yourself and have a bit of “You’re on your own, mate.” You’ve got to make it happen for yourself. And if people do recognize your talent and see you really striving then generally someone does end up coming to your rescue.

Murdoc Niccals [Gorillaz] : Hello you, cheekychops. Just wondering, have you shown Mr Guy Ritchie any of that footage me and you shot when we got together after the Grammys? And, second, what does he make of my snazzy er… ‘directorial’ style?

Um, yeah, he was, um… what’s the word? (Pretends to search for a specific phrase] Well impressed. And a little bit jealous. Yeah.

Kate Nash : What are you going to conquer next, Madonna?

Hopefully my ego. How will I know when I’ve succeeded? When I stop caring what anyone thinks of me.

Lovefoxxx [CSS] : How much control do you have over all the different aspects of your shows? Or do you just pay someone millions of bucks to do that for you?

Well, I have a lot of control. But that said I also collaborate with people who are really good at what they do. So I think I have the best lighting director, and I work with the best choreographers, with fantastic musicians and the best costume designers, so I’m very involved with every element in my show. And I do have the final say on everything. But also other people have their input. In fact I need that. You didn’t imagine I just turned up? No.