Clearly. You sang “Into the Groove” while jumping rope.
I always have to do something really impossible during my shows, and that’s my really impossible moment. It’s very hard to sing and dance at the same time, that’s why most people that dance don’t sing, or at least not very well.
In “I’m Going to Tell You a Secret,” the documentary from your Re-invention Tour, you’re all iced up like a basketball player after the shows.
I come home and sit in an ice bath for 10 minutes. It’s really painful when you get in, but it feels so good afterward. I’m an athlete. My ankles get taped before the shows, and I have treatments and physical therapists. It’s from years and years of abuse, dancing in high heels, which is not great on your knees. All dancers have injuries, but we just deal with them. We get acupuncture and therapy, and just keep going.
When you look into the audience, what do you pick up on?
Sometimes it’s just a look of pure enthusiasm. I was in Munich the other night, and this dad was in the front row with his daughter on his shoulders, and she was completely enraptured, smiling from ear to ear. Or two guys with their shirts off, covered in tattoos of me. Those are my go-to guys.
When fans in Warsaw sang “Happy Birthday” a few days ago, you choked up.
When people in the audience start to cry, it has a contagious effect. Crying is complicated, because when you’re crying, you don’t sing well, because it chokes up your throat. But over the course of this tour, a lot of emotional things have happened. Obama was elected right before we went onstage [in San Diego]. We were saying our prayers before the show, and I had tears streaming down my face, and I said, “I feel like I’m living a dream.” I got down and kissed the ground. I feel like crying about it right now.
You once told ROLLING STONE, “There are times when I’ve thought if I’d known [fame] was going to be like this, I wouldn’t have tried so hard. If it ever gets to be too much, or I feel like I’m being overscrutinized, then I won’t do it.” What are your thoughts on fame these days?
It’s worth it if you can understand it’s a means to an end. My work has allowed me to do things that have nothing to do with music. To know that my experiences in Africa have changed people’s lives for the better, to see their lives change before my eyes… how can I not feel positive about that? I’m not always positive, I can assure you. Yesterday I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It’s a good thing the interview is today.
Supergrumpy. When I’m sleep-deprived, I’m not very fun. But, you know, every day I take a moment to be aware, to have a sense of consciousness about how my words and actions affect people. I do it when I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed. “What am I going to do with my day? What did I do with my day?”
Most of the time, you’re satisfied?
Sometimes I am, sometimes I fail miserably and think I do nothing but wreak havoc and cause chaos. But I’m a human being. I just have to make mistakes, then forgive myself afterward.
© Rolling Stone Magazine