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Madonna Interview : Smash Hits

So she did and here she is: on the verge of success both sides of the Atlantic. Not bad for a girl fresh from the streets of New York. She moved there when she was 17, starting out playing drums in a band called The Breakfast Club. But ambition took over again and she formed her own band, Emmy. She sang and played guitar. It was a real ‘paying your dues’ time. She lived in a studio and wasn’t bothered by having to “wear the same clothes for three weeks”. After hawking tapes round the hip local clubs her persistence eventually paid off, gaining her a deal with Sire. After she’d put out two 12″ singles she felt the need for a manager.

“I thought, who’s the most successful person in the music industry and who’s his manager? I want him.” The answer was Michael Jackson and, at the time, he was managed by Freddie De Mann. She got him. Instantly Madonna became hot property, being asked to do promotional tours — much like the one she’s on now — across the world. She can’t resist telling the story about the time she met Boy George on her summer ’81 jaunt.

“He came up to me at the Camden Palace. He had big high heels on and he had a big entourage of people all dressed the same. He kept going on about this group he had, but I wouldn’t believe him. Six months later he was Number One.”

But it seems people aren’t always as keen to impress her.

“When I laugh out loud in the streets here I’m made to feel as though I’m doing something wrong. You know, that sort of young, bold, aggressive quality the more reserved and sophisticated British people hate. Most times people aren’t very nice to me here.” And that’s not all. “I don’t have many women friends either. It’s because I haven’t found many who are worldly wise and intelligent. Then again,” she adds cheekily, “I just seem to get on better with boys.”

I suggest this may also have something to do with the way she looks.

“I have mixed emotions about the way I look. I wish I was taller (she’s 5 feet 4 1/2). I probably look taller ‘cos I’ve got such a big mouth. I think it’s important to try and look larger than life if you’re a performer.”

She’ll certainly be able to do that on the big screen. She’s just appeared in a film, Vision quest. She plays the part of a singer, once again called Madonna. “The only difference is that I sing in front of a band in the film.”

Madonna - Smash Hits / February 16-29 1984

The phone rings. It’s New York on the blower. An ‘adviser’ wants her to come home to appear in a video on Tuesday. Madonna agrees. She wakes up a record company person to change her flight from LA to NY. This is The Big Time alright.

Her next project is a follow-up LP. It’s to be produced by Trevor Horn, possibly Nile Rodgers and John “Jellybean” Benitez — her on and off boyfriend (off at the moment). In any case it’s bound to be absolutely massive. Madonna puts it all into perspective.

“Three to four years ago dancing was the most important thing — now it’s music. That will lead on to something else … acting. Above all I want to be an all-round entertainer. And happy.”

© Smash Hits