Queen of Pop and mother of four Madonna shares her thoughts on living outside the box.
Harper’s Bazaar on May 28, 2015
…REBEL? A rebel is someone who asks questions. You know that Shakespearean line “(the lady) doth protest too much”? A rebel is someone who protests too much, or maybe not enough, who questions convention, who thinks outside the box; who doesn’t take the road most travelled. You can’t be a rebel and not be willing to take the consequences. Like Michael Moore said, “You can’t stick your chin out and not expect to get punched.” That’s the way it works. He’s a rebel heart too, by the way.
…MAKE YOUR MARK? It’s people like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Bob Marley & John Lennon, who have changed the world. They went against the grain. They took the road less travelled and that made all the difference.
… EXPRESS YOUR THOUGHTS ON SPIRITUALITY, SEX & RELIGION? I think they are all subjects that beg to be challenged and dissected. I’m constantly trying to come to terms with the ideal of spirituality, religion and sexuality. These are topics that are very prevalent in society, that are taken out of context in society, that are misrepresented in society; that are used to help people grow and feel self-empowered. They are also used to keep people down and imprison people. So for me, they’re topics you can never exhaust.
… LIBERATE YOURSELF? It gives me a lot of satisfaction to know that I was somehow involved with liberating people – making somebody feel proud of who they are or liberating someone in making them feel good about what they stand for.
… HAVE AN OPINION? I have opinions. What else can you do if you’re an artist? I don’t know any other way except to offer up my heart or say “Come on, you wanna mess with me? Let’s go.”We’re living in the age where popular figures or pop icons or pop culture are not nurturing people to have opinions. It’s about being a brand, playing it safe and being familiar and not offending anyone and I will never be comfortable being that.
…REALLY LISTEN TO THE MUSIC AND ITS LYRICS? I feel (that) on all my records I write songs that are revealing about my feelings but sometimes I don’t like to be so literal or so specific. I like to be more mysterious, so I guess it depends on the mood I’m in.
… IGNORE THE HATERS? I think if people are looking for something bad, they’re going to find it. As I’ve said before, we’re living in a fundamentalist, literalist society where there can’t be any duality to something. No one has an understanding to the meaning of irony. No one has a sense of humor. There’s no complexity to things. Everything is just surface value. Does it bother me that people will misunderstand my songs? I like to think that my songs will find the audience that they are meant to find. And the people who can’t understand them or can’t connect to them, well, they’ll find something else that they like.
…STRIP IT ALL DOWN? When it came to writing my latest album The Rebel Heart, my original intention was that I was just going to sit with various songwriters and write songs. That was my goal. I’m just going to write songs and I want all the songs I write to be something that I could sit and strum a guitar to and sing from top to bottom without any other people involved. Even “Bitch, I’m Madonna” I could sing acoustic. It’s actually quite good. So, that was my goal.