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Madonna Interview : Smash Hits

Madonna - Smash Hits / April 22 - May 05 1987

She’s bold! She’s bright! She’s breezy! She’s brassy! And she is – naturellement – back! Madonna, we’re talking about, mister; la belle dame de pop who is, even as we speak, fitting in the charts once more with “La Isla Bonita”, a sweet song of Spanish sentiment which comes complete with a video in which Ms Ciccone is dressed as a flamenco dancer – a sad, young girl in a bright, red dress. Putting the miserable flop of Shanghai Surprise behind her, Madonna is about to spring once more into action, bounding fearlessly onto the concert stages of the world for the first time in ages (she’ll be touring Japan in June and plans to come to Britain in the summer), and appearing in her third feature film, Who’s That Girl?.

In Who’s That Girl? Madonna plays Nikki Finn, a girl sent to prison for crime she didn’t commit. The film begins with Nikki/Madonna being released from prison and follows her experiences’n’scrapes trying to clear her name. She meets up with a lawyer! She meets up with a cougar! She chews some gum! It’s a romantic comedy! It’s a caper! It’s … um, well, we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?

She’s also recording some music for the film – four new songs in all which will appear on the soundtrack LP later in the year. The recently rumored dance LP You Can Dance, supposedly including remixes of her “groovier” songs and a new “number” called “Spotlight” has been “put on hold” – a posh record company was of saying they haven’t the foggiest when it’ll be released.

In the meantime Smash Hits thought “cripes! Madonna’s quite a famous pop star! Time for an interview!!” So we tracked the elusive, reclusive, vixette down to film studios and “engaged” her in conversation and general merriment. Read on…

If you had to explain what you’re like to someone, what would you say?

Well, they used to say that I was a slut, a pig, an easy lay, a sex bomb, Minnie Mouse (?) or even Marlene Dietrich’s daughter (??), but I’d rather say that I’m just a hyperactive adult. And the reason for that is I’ve always been full of confidence. I’m strong, ambitious and I know exactly what I want. Now, if that makes me a bitch, okay. I don’t care.

Tell us about your background.

I come from a very modest Italian family of eight children. My mother died of breast cancer when I was five and I was brought up in a very strict and Catholic manner. My grandmother taught me to cherish Jesus and not to go out with boys and while I went to the Catholic school, I was made to wear a uniform. Everything was decided and cut out for me and I grew up with two images of woman – the virgin and the whore. I felt like Cinderella and couldn’t wait to escape from all that. I hated it all. So I had my hair cut and at dancing lessons I used to wear unbelievable tights and gaudy clothes. I suppose that without even thinking about it, I was creating a look for myself.

When did you decide to go into music?

On the very day that I came to understand I’d never be a star in the dancing field. I quit Michigan University where I was taking classical dance lessons and went to New York. And I thought “now, wait a minute. You must be crazy. You’re quitting your classes for something you don’t even know. You haven’y got a red cent in the world. What will happen to you?” But that’s the only time I ever asked myself question about the future. My feelings were much stronger than my self doubt. So with 35 dollars in my pocket – and my conviction – I came to the point where I stand now.

Why did you choose music?

Because music is the main vector of celebrity. When it’s a success, it’s impact is just strong as a bullet bitting the target.