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Madonna Interview : Smash Hits

Madonna - Smash Hits / Dec 30 1987 / Jan 12 1988

Neil: When did they start calling you Madonna?

Madonna: The day I was born. It’s my real name and it was my mother’s name. She named me after her.

Neil: It’s an unusual Christian name, isn’t it?

Madonna: It’s very Italian. But everyone was telling me when I was in Italy that it’s sacreligious. It’s like people go “Madonna Mia!” and when they were screaming my name it sounded like they were cursing about something. It’s confusing…

Neil: How did you get to be managed by Michael Jackson’s manager (in those days) Freddy DeMann?

Madonna: I thought “I must have a manager.” I thought ‘Who’s the most successful person in the music industry and who’s his manager? I want him.” I went out to L.A. to meet him and at the time he was Michael Jackson’s manager. He came out to New York and saw a show at Studio 54 (famous disco club in the early ’80s) I did for Fiorucci and I was so nervous because Michael Jackson’s so incredible live and I thought “If he thinks Prince is terrible — which he did — what can I do?” Then he liked the show.

Neil: Are you ambitious?

Madonna: What do you think? (laughs)

Neil: What are your ambitions then?

Madonna: To keep making great records. To cross over more into the pop charts as I have with “Holiday”. To develop as a music artist but also get involved in other things. I made a video for MTV. I’d like to make more videos. I’d like to write music for other people and then I have a great interest in films.
I’m going to do more ballads on my next record but give it a more open feeling, you know, like Hall & Oates get. I like Culture Club’s sound. I hate to use that as a comparison but it will still be very rhythmic and dance orientated but… It’s hard to describe. It’s going to be good.

Neil: You want to be an actress as well?

Madonna: Well, I am an actress!

Neil: You haven’t been in any films yet, though.

Madonna: No. But I will.

Neil: How?

Madonna: Well, I’m signed to William Morris for both music and film and I know a lot of casting directors. I’ve already been for several films. It’ll just happen. I’m doing a small part in a John Peters’ productions. It’s a movie called Vision quest. Phil Ramone’s doing the soundtrack, the man who did Flashdance, and I’m going to be doing two of the songs for the soundtrack. And in the movie there’s a club that these kids go to and I’m going to be a performer in the club So that’s my foot in the door.

Neil: How does it seem looking back to where you were on the street, now?

Madonna: I worked for everything that I got and I worked long and hard before I got to this point so when I got it I thought “I deserve it.” I think that you get what you deserve. I always knew it would happen.

Neil: Do you go to Detroit very often?

Madonna: Nope: I haven’t been home in two years but I’m going home for Thanksgiving. I’ll be able to get those Christmas presents I left there two years ago. The last time I went home I was like starving and they went “You are disgusting!” So now they hear my record on the radio and see my video on MTV and any press I get and my father’s finally convinced that going to the University Of Michigan was not the only alternative for me.

Neil: What do your brothers and sisters do?

Madonna: Envy me! (laughs)

Neil: Do you still know all of the New York hip-hop crowd?

Madonna: I used to hang out with them in clubs before I even got a record deal. There’s a little culture going on there ‘cos of those kids making big, getting over. The graffiti writers and the break-dancers. But I think I have much more of an oversight than they do. They just want to prove that they can do something that’s going to be bigger that just the Bronx (another area of New York). I plan on making this go on for a much longer time — I don’t think they have further aspirations.

Neil: What do you hope you’ll be doing in 20 years time?

Madonna: Counting my money! (laughs) No, I hope that I’m happy and growing as an artist.

© Smash Hits