FOUR YEARS AGO…TODAY : MADONNA LIVE AT “OLYMPIA” IN PARIS

“Playing the Olympia was a magical moment for me and it was real treat to do this special show for my fans and be so close to them. Unfortunately at the end of the show – after I left the stage – a few thugs who were not my fans rushed the stage and started throwing plastic bottles pretending to be angry fans. The press reports have focused on this and not the joyous aspect of the evening. But nothing can take away or ruin this very special evening for me and my fans. When I looked out in the audience, everyone I saw had a smile on their face. I look forward to having this wonderful experience again.”

MADONNA’s “HUMAN NATURE” : SALUTING THE UNAPOLOGETIC ANTHEM THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A SMASH HIT 

From “Vogue” to “Take a Bow” to “Ray of Light,” Madonna scored some of her signature hits in the ’90s. While most of her ’80s pop compatriots struggled to stay on the radio, Madonna more-or-less maintained the same level of stardom throughout the decade, earning just two fewer Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hits in the ’90s than she did in the ’80s.

But between Bedtime Stories and Evita, Madonna experienced her first real career dip. After several years of hypersexual imagery and songwriting (from the “Justify My Love” video to the Sex book) and some family-unfriendly public appearances (her 1994 Letterman interview in particular), a portion of the American public was exhausted with her by 1995. Puritanical pop listeners might be OK with a heartfelt plea for keeping a baby, but leather and whips is just too much.

While she soon got back on track with a prestige motion picture (Evita) and an elegant ballad collection (Something to Remember), there was one unfortunate musical casualty of her brief lull: “Human Nature.”

One of the few hip-hop-inflected singles in her discography (it samples a song from Main Source, the same rap group that gave Nas his first on-wax appearance), “Human Nature” has a deeply funk foundation while maintaining the spacious, thin production common to many ’90s R&B hits.

While “Take a Bow” — released just a year earlier from the same album, Bedtime Stories — was a smash No. 1 for Madge, “Human Nature” stalled at No. 46 despite a killer video and a defiant, empowering message. Lyrically, Madonna brushes off the prudes who faulted her for fixating on sex, pointing out that the “taboo” subject is simply human nature — the most basic element of human nature at that. She also correctly points out that she’d have gotten less flak for exploring sexuality so bluntly if she were a man (“Would it sound better if I were a man?” is one of her whispered rhetorical questions throughout). And it’s hard to argue with that — have any of the male directors behind sexually explicit hit movies been put through the wringer like she has?

Furthermore, the “Express yourself, don’t repress yourself” refrain is classic — the kind of line built to be repeated decades later. So why didn’t “Human Nature” at least knick the top 10?

Part of the reason may have been the fact that previous single “Bedtime Story” isolated too many radio programmers and casual fans. The Bjork co-write, while adventurous and exhilarating, didn’t make sense on radio in the mid-’90s, and it was just too weird for most of her younger fans (and in 1995, she still had plenty of those).

Ultimately, though, it’s the content of the song itself that prevented it from penetrating mass culture like previous dancefloor-ready singles. “Human Nature” is crafted as a challenge to those who thought she went too far by releasing an entire book devoted to erotic photos, and those are the people who don’t want to discuss sexuality — they just want to chastise you for talking about it. Even though the “I’m not your bitch/ Don’t hang your shit on me” line was excised for radio, the message of “Human Nature” was still too much for those who hated her Dita Parlo persona.

“Human Nature” is the original “Unapologetic Bitch,” but it came at a time when the idea of an unapologetic woman was far too threatening for most — not just radio programmers and parents, but even many of her fans. To a Puritan, the only thing worse than a woman wearing a scarlet A is a woman proudly wearing a scarlet A.

Regardless, “Human Nature” holds up as one of her finest ’90s singles, and today we’re saluting this anthem to not apologizing when you know you were right in the first place.

source : Billboard

MADONNA VISITS MALAWI HOSPITAL

BLANTYRE, Malawi — Madonna visited the construction of a children’s wing at a Malawi hospital that her charity is funding in this southern African country’s largest city, Blantyre on Sunday.
The pop star has been in Malawi for a week and is to meet President Peter Mutharika and health minister Peter Kumpalume. Madonna went to visit Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital to view the pediatric unit where construction started in May 2015 and which is expected to open in early 2017.

This new facility is the first pediatric surgery and intensive care unit in any Malawi hospital. It will have an enormous impact on saving the lives of children,” said Madonna, in a statement to The Associated Press. “In addition to raising the quality and availability of health care, we are also preparing for the future by training more Malawian medical staff in specialized pediatric care.”

Answering questions from the press, Madonna said that she does not yet have a name for the new children’s wing.
We don’t have a name,” she said, “but we have a building and we have dreams and they are going to be manifested very soon.”

Madonna is accompanied by her two children adopted from Malawi, David and Mercy, and her son Rocco. Madonna said she will continue to work to get the unit the staff and equipment needed.
It’s going to be my responsibility to make sure that this place has the equipment and is fully operational on a regular basis,” she said. “So I have a big job ahead of me. Wish me luck.”
Asked if she has any more projects for Malawi, she said: “I would like to do one thing really well than many things half-assed, as they say in America.
The children’s unit will include Malawi’s first pediatric intensive care unit, three operating rooms dedicated to children’s surgery, a day clinic and a 50-bed ward. It will enable Queen Elizabeth hospital to double the number of surgeries for children and will provide critical pre-operative and post-operative care.
Raising Malawi was founded in 2006 by Madonna to address the poverty and hardship endured by Malawi’s orphans and vulnerable children. Raising Malawi partners with local organizations to provide Malawian children and their caregivers with critical resources including education and medical care.

THE ALBUM MADONNA WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR

Madonna has been creating music for now almost four decades now and shows no sign of stopping. Over the course of her career, she gave us some of pop music’s most important songs and moments and broke countless boundaries. However, like Michael Jackson or Prince, her importance in the history of music is likely to be recognized only once she is no longer with us, as humanity has a bad habit of showing true appreciation of its geniuses only when they die… Madonna went through many memorable career reinventions and has created plenty of songs that will forever be enjoyed, but her 1998 Ray Of Light album is arguably the most meaningful, rewarding, mature and important album she offered us yet. Here is why.

One must look back at the context in which the album was released to understand its importance. Back in 1998, Madonna had not released a studio album since 1994’s Bedtime Stories, a record that opted for a typically 90’s R&B sound and while extremely enjoyable, seems quite dated today. In 1996, she played the role of Eva Peron in Evita, which helped her win her only award for acting and for which she recorded the soundtrack. Madonna notably underwent singing lessons for the project and her vocals significantly improved. She also gave birth to daughter Lourdes on October 14, 1996. The whole experience had a profound impact on Madonna and she started studying Kabbalah as a result. In 1997, she decided it was time to record a new album and development started with producer Babyface, with whom she worked on Bedtime Stories and on the new songs on the 1995 compilation Something To Remember. Rick Nowels and Patrick Leonard also collaborated on the project. Unsurprisingly, Madonna decided to start over as she didn’t want her new record to sound the same as the previous one. It was a good choice. Enter William Orbit, creator of the Strange Cargo albums and an incredibly talented producer. Madonna and Orbit had never created songs together but the latter remixed a few of her tracks to great success, including 1990’s Justify My Love. Evita, Lourdes, Kabbalah and Orbit. All are major influences that helped Madonna create what would become Ray Of Light.

The album itself sounds extremely different than anything Madonna ever did before. In fact, the album sounded very much different than anything else available on the mainstream pop market. The William Orbit sound is now well known as he became quite successful following this album, producing songs for All Saints, U2 and Britney Spears among others. Back in 1998, Ray Of Light sounded shockingly fresh. It still does today, albeit in a less surprising manner. Madonna and Orbit managed to create an extremely rich sonic soundscape that is filled with electronic effects, tribal instruments, electric guitars and other alien sounds that somehow add up together and take you on a surreal trip. It was recorded in over 5 months using mostly computers with samples (Orbit’s favorite working method). Some albums have a few great songs but Ray Of Light is the kind of album you have to listen to in its entirety. All the songs fit together extremely well and it makes the album an incredibly immersive listening experience unlike anything she has released before or since.

Drowned World/Substitute For Love is the opener and one of my favorites off the album. Here, Madonna sounds surprisingly relaxed and you sense straight away that she significantly improved her vocals with the Evita sessions. She sings about choosing love over fame and what matters in her life. It is incredibly touching and is a perfect way to open this record and introduce us to the new Madonna, mature and spiritual. The song was also the opener of her Drowned World Tour in 2001. The single release contains an excellent remix (the BT & Sasha Remix) that is probably one of the best Madonna remix ever and is as good as the album version. It is worth checking out if you like the whole Ray Of Light era. The music video recalls the infamous Princess Diana accident from 1997 and sees Madonna escape paparazzis and mobbing fans.

Swim, Ray of Light and Candy Perfume Girl are surprising tracks as they contain electric guitar prominently (especially the title track), something that was yet to be heard on a Madonna album. The result is extremely satisfying and while Swim and Candy Perfume Girl remain slow numbers in the vein of Drowned World, Ray of Light is full of energy and one can’t help but want to dance while listening to it (it rightfully so won the Grammy for Best Dance Recording). The guitar was played by Orbit himself. I still have trouble understanding the meaning of the song Swim but I read it was recorded following the murder of her friend Gianni Versace in 1997, hence the disturbing and emotional lyrics. Candy Perfume Girl is quite sensual and was co-written by Prince’ ex Susannah Melvoin. It sounds surprisingly grungy at times. Ray of Light is about embracing life and its opportunities and that is exactly what the song makes you want to do. It remains one of Madonna’s most uplifting tracks. She reportedly said it was a hard song to sing live and that might explain why she often performs it in a different key than the album version. The music video by Jonas Akerlund is unique and was parodied in the TV show Family Guy. 

Continue reading “THE ALBUM MADONNA WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR”

MADONNA COMING TO MALAWI

Madonna will visit the Malawi on Sunday July 10, where she is expected to inspect work on the paediatric ward that her charity organisation, Raising Malawi, is constructing at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre.

According to Raising Malawi executive director Sarah Ezzy, the Madonna is building a two-storey free-standing 50-bed paediatric surgical ward which will also have an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The new facility, which will be completed by the end of the year, will have three operating theatres for surgery in children, a 50 bed ward, a day clinic, and the country’s first ever paediatric intensive care unit,” Ezzy said.

Ezzy said after touring the construction site, the singer will also take time to talk to journalists.

Madonna announced in November 2014 that Raising Malawi will construct a paediatric ward as one way of reducing the pressure that is there due to shortage of surgical paediatric wards in the country.

In addition to serving more children, the new facility will become a training centre of excellence for Southern Africa, with more local doctors acquiring the skills needed to perform paediatric surgery.

Madonna first came to Malawi in 2006 when she adopted a then one-year-old David Banda at an orphanage in Mchinji.

She returned in the country in 2009 and adopted her second Malawian child, Mercy Chifundo James, at another orphanage.
During her last visit to Malawi in November 2014, the pop star was appointed as Malawi’s Goodwill Ambassador for child welfare by President Peter Mutharika.

Following a meeting which Mutharika and Madonna had that time, the President hailed the diva’s plans to construct the paediatric ward and intensive care unit.

source : mwnation

WHEN ONLY THE QUEEN REMAINS

The past decade has seen many tragic losses in the music industry. The death of Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop”, caused an outpouring of tears and a show of love where many of the young stars of today were affected. The news of Whitney Houston’s death was tragic as the world lost one of the best female singers that ever existed. This year, a true visionary, David Bowie, lost his battle to Cancer and now Prince tragically passed away.

But, alas, there is one constant that remains, one, that I believe will be back in the musical headlines as she always does, re-inventing herself and inspiring millions of wanna-be pop stars and fashionistas all over the world – and that is Madonna – all hail the “Queen”.

Madonna’s story is truly inspiring. She was a girl who believed strongly enough in herself to defy all odds and make it in one of the hardest industries to break into. You see, back in those days, there was no YouTube or Facebook which gave a platform to a multitude of artists. There was no “Idols” or “The Voice” which gave people access to immediate fame. Back in the day you had to claw and fight your way to the top and prove that you could do it and stay there.

Madonna lost her mother to breast cancer very early in her life. She was an excellent student in school achieving high marks and was on the cheerleading team. After school she arrived in New York with literally very little money, having to pose in the nude even just to scrape enough money together to survive. The one thing she was really good at was dancing.

She eventually formed the band “The Breakfast Club” with her ex-boyfriend Dan Gilroy, where she played drums and guitar and became the lead singer. She then formed another band “Emmy” with former drummer boyfriend Stephen Bray. But Madonna was never meant to be part of a band. A true Leo, she was meant to stand out on her own, a lioness for all the world to shine its light upon.

She teased the public and broke all the rules. Her performance of ‘Like a Virgin’ at the MTV music awards was both erotic and controversial. ‘Like a Prayer’ hit the Catholic community with Madonna’s video of a burning crosses and inter-racial love. The song even featured in a Pepsi commercial but stopped airing once the MTV version was released.

Madonna never cared about what others thought. She gave women power. She emanated the statement that it’s ok to have sex with a guy or a girl – it doesn’t matter – as long as you claim your own sexuality. She proved that women can be very powerful – she remains one of the wealthiest women in the world and is worth over a billion dollars.

Madonna also had steamy and controversial relationships throughout her life dating a range of men and women from John F. Kennedy Junior, bad-boy ex-husband Sean Penn, Warren Beatty, Vanilla Ice, Tupac Shakur, nightclub owner Ingrid Casares, Alex Rodriguez ,Dennis Rodman, Carlos Leon – father of Lourdes to Guy Ritchie – ex-husband and father of Rocco amongst others.

What I admire the most about Madonna, besides her chameleon-like persona and constant ability to reinvent herself, is her self-discipline. She is a very hard worker. She also takes very good care of her body, exercising and eating healthy. She’s an inspiration to many women.

Many artists of today are who they are because of Madonna’s inspirational footsteps that lead the path to the emancipation of women in the music industry to explore their sexuality, to be sassy, confident, strong and have the ability to say ‘No’.

Where would Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus – a whole range of popular musicians reminiscent of the Queen herself be without Madonna?

And where is Madonna today?

After Prince’s death she paid tribute to him at the Billboard Music Awards, donned in a sparkling purple outfit, singing “Nothing Compares to You” and “Purple Rain” with Stevie Wonder. She has been in a custody battle over her teenage son Rocco with ex-husband British film director, producer and screenwriter Guy Ritchie. Her beautiful look-alike daughter Lourdes, whom she had with Cuban-born personal trainer turned actor Carlos Leon many years ago, has begun a modelling career.

With all the stars today taking over the charts, the youth that have enormous prominence over the audio world, it is Madonna that will always remain the “Queen of Pop” having made an enormous difference in not only the world of music but the world of women, of celebrity, of fitness, of re-invention, of single motherhood. Madonna is proof that a woman can do it all – and stay at the top of her game.
Source : AtarLife

GALLERY + VIDEO : Madonna seeks partnership with First Lady in Kenya

Pop Icon Madonna has expressed willingness to partner with the First Lady’s Beyond Zero initiative. Madonna will work with Beyond Zero in improving maternal and child health programs as well as initiatives against gender violence.

Madonna met First Lady Margaret Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, on Monday.

She is in the country to explore programs that have a transformative impact on vulnerable groups, especially women and children. The singer is the founder of several charities and foundations globally, including t ‘Ray of Hope Foundation’. In Africa, she is known for the Raising Malawi organization – a non-governmental organization that supports vulnerable children.

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Madonna described the Beyond Zero initiative as an amazing movement and a natural partner for advocacy, to break the code of silence around gender-based violence through education and awareness building. She gave a moving story of resilience and courage from Mama Sofie whom she met in Kibera and who has overcome many odds while raising 14 children in a 10 by 10 foot room.

Madonna delivered a special message and personal greeting to the First Lady from Mama Sofie.

Madonna’s pledge to work with the First Lady’s Beyond Zero initiative comes only a few days after Melinda Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation expressed similar interest to partner with the Beyond Zero initiative, to ensure access of quality health for Kenyan women and children.

Watch & Download: Rebel Heart Tour live in Manchester 2015.12.14 (FULL SHOW)

click the image for the video

MADONNA

FACTS: its good to have them before you jump to conclusions! The Entire video for my show crashed as I arrived for sound check. The back up file was corrupt. We had no choice but to reboot and pray for a good outcome. The video lights 75 % of my show. We cant play in the dark. We were rebooted and ready by 9:30 even though we planned to go ion earlier. I had to make cuts in show before show started. Dress you Up was one of them and my 3rd guitar song. This still brought us past the 11:00 curfew! But we went on and the venue was kind enough to extend till 111:39!! It was there choice not mine to end the show!! always want to finish. So we all missed the last 3 songs! And I’m sorry about that. And i thank all my Rebel Heart fans for understanding! We did our best! And we still had to pay a fine! That life. 😂. PS you still got to see an amazing show. And only missed. 12 minutes!! The ❤️#rebelhearttour goes on