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It’s difficult to keep up with Madonna at the moment. Almost every day brings news of some new development in her life or career, as the Queen of Pop still invades the airwaves, music TV and the tabloids on a daily basis. She’s the most talked about female artist of the twentieth century, with worldwide sales topping the 100 million mark ~ from Mumbai to Los Angeles, her albums, posters and style can be seen in millions of bedrooms. No matter what she's got up her sleeve, we just can't seem to get enough of the Material Girl.

How Big Is She Again?
Madonna has done it all and seen it all ~ from music to movies to her foray into writing popular children’s books. According to the Guinness Book of World Records she’s the most successful female solo artist of all time. Fifteen # 1 singles, twenty seven top fives, and nine number one albums ~ her run in the American charts broke the record held previously by The Beatles. She has sold over 200 million albums worldwide, more than any other female singer in history. At one point, she was even paid US$5 million for a single advertisement by Pepsi, a sum unheard for its time. Her personal fortune is still well over US$90 million and at present her contract with Time Warner is estimated at a cool US$70 million.

Her popularity waned for a few years, but like she dominated the eighties and the early part of the nineties, she’s back on top in this decade, proving she’s still very much around. This is just in: with her latest single Hung Up she’s just matched Elvis Presley's tally of 36 top ten hits, the most for any artist in the history of modern music.

Confessions On A Dance Floor
The Queen of Pop is back and in a big way. London’s music scene is now the centre of the world and Madonna wants to be there. After 2003's American Life, she dusted off the glitter ball and strapped on her pink leotards and stilettos. Madonna has never really strayed far from danceable pop music, and her new album is her wake up call to get back on the club floor. Confessions On A Dance Floor finds Madonna travel back a few decades and revisit the disco era from which she rose to stardom. The album debuted at # 1 in 25 countries and sold a staggering 3.5 million units worldwide in its first week alone.

The first single Hung Up (which samples the Abba classic Gimme Gimme Gimme) has earned her some of the best reviews of her 22 year career. Sorry, the next single, borrows the bass line from an early Jackson 5 song and sounds like a hit already. The twenty-something Material Girl we love is gone, but with motherhood she's never looked better.

So what’s the biggest misconception people might have about you?
Madonna: (Laughs) I've lost track of how many times I've been written off. As you go on making records, everyone keeps predicting your demise. It almost seems like they want you to fail. Since the beginning of my career I’ve been told I have no talent, I can't sing and I’m a one hit wonder. That was twenty two years ago. (Laughs again)

What’s the new album all about?
Madonna: It's that old cliché, when the world gets you down, you need to be lifted up. Look at the state of the world. People need to be inspired and be happy. I just want people to hear it and go, 'Oh my God'. I want it to lift people up and get them dancing around their house, driving round in their car until the record's finished. It's really simple. I just want to make people happy. From beginning to end, you just want to keep dancing for one hour, non-stop. That's why I called it Confessions On A Dance Floor.

Confessions On A Dance Floor has gone to # 1 in twenty five countries, including the US. That must have felt good.
Madonna: (Laughs) It was my husband, Guy, who told me the album was # 1 in America. I was shocked, stunned, happy. I said, 'We have to celebrate.' So we opened a bottle of champagne, not something I usually do, though I probably should do more of that…I had a glass, and then I sat and cried for 20 minutes. Really. (Laughs again) So many conflicting emotions, but basically tears of joy. Don't let anybody tell you commercial success doesn't matter.

The first single Hung Up is a throwback to the seventies…
Madonna: Hung Up was like the starting point for the rest of the record. I wrote the lyrics to it in five minutes while driving around in my Mini. And once that track was finished, it was like this is the direction for the record. The video has been inspired by Saturday Night Fever. It's a tribute to John Travolta and that whole era. I hope we’ve done it justice and then some… We've taken the old and made it new.

Do you think you’ve grown a lot since your last album?
Madonna: People put me into all different categories: I'm a material girl, a sex goddess, a mother, spiritual. But I love contradiction. There's always a mystery, always a whole other life going on. My point of view and philosophy continues to change and evolve. I take my inspiration from everywhere. In this record in particular, I was inspired by the music of Giorgio Moroder, Abba, Chic, Pet Shop Boys, Cerrone, and a lot of other people. My music and my ideas for my music come from inside and from whoever I am collaborating with. It's not that I sit around consciously thinking about my fans.

But they are important…
Madonna: I do think when I am writing music ~ Will people understand this? Will this appeal to people so that it touches their heart? Will it inspire them? So I am somewhere in the middle between being true to myself and thinking about what the outside world would think about. I've never wanted to make the same record or do the same thing twice.


You can read the rest of our cover story on Madonna in the December 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

Destination India
Grammy Nominees Special
Eminem
Buddy Guy
Switchfoot
Depeche Mode
Daniel Powter
Taxiride
DJ Speak
Getting Started: The Keyboards
Luke Kenny
Elvis: Then and Now
Best of 2005 Results
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