Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lei Italy January 1984 Photographed by Richard Corman

Lei Glamour

Italy January 1984

She is 22 years old, very talented with great tenacity, and a bright career ahead. Her name is Madonna and she is the artist of the moment: a hard training in the field of dance and music has allowed her to climb the American charts with a solo album. We made her tell us what’s behind her success.

Who is Madonna? There is no easier answer for tens of thousands of music lovers and dancers of the East Coast. Madonna is the name hidden behind the sensational dance mixing and rhythm & blues hailed in America as the genre of the moment: those fanatical for dance and rhythm know the natural vocal talents of this incredible new talent. Her success is “Madonna”, the self-titled album from Sire Records, which has delighted the “dancers” of America: the dance was, in fact, the first love of this girl born in Detroit 22 years ago. Apart of the artistic world since the days of high school, Madonna attended the University of Michigan to cultivate the innate qualities of a dancer. There she studied ballet and jazz and modern dance and performed with renowned dance companies from college, until she moved to New York in the late seventies. She “trained” for a couple of years with two Dance Troupes, Pearl Lange and Alvin Ailey; then she made the decision to concentrate on one single form of artistic expression. Despite not having an exact idea of ​​what that was, Madonna tried her hand in different experiences, including that of actress, before directing her talents toward music. Almost immediately she was chosen by the singer Patrick Hernandez’s agents who had suddenly become famous a few years ago with a song called “Born to be Alive” She followed with an internship in Paris, in the wake of Hernandez, to take singing lessons and learn about the recording industry.

But things were going too slowly for her: young and impatient, Europe did not have the right fit and was not suited to her desires to break into showbusiness. This is why she made the decision to return to New York, and began a long apprenticeship, performing in local bands and studying drums, guitar and keyboards. At the same time, she began to write music but, in general, the experience on New York scene was less than satisfactory. Bands form and break up too easily and the preference for punk/new wave was far away from her “roots.” Finally she decided to go her own way, alone. Madonna wrote new music that revealed her innate musical qualities and, in particular, her artistic and rhythmic origins. Finally in June of 1982 came the first real opportunity; “Heard” at the Danceteria, she was hired by Sire Records and recorded the single “Everybody” (along with a video that illustrated the visual approach): in short, the song topped the charts.

At the beginning of last year came the event which would be the starting point of a great success: Madonna entered the studio of the famous producer Reggie Lucas, famous for launching other singers such as Stephanie Mills, and Phyllis Hyman. The result is the album “Madonna”, a debut full-scale LP with five new original pieces including her latest single, “Lucky Star”: with other songs produced by John “Jellybean” Benitez and Mark Kamins, two written by Reggie Lucas and the instrumental accompaniment of some of the best American session players around. A beautifully packaged album, “Madonna” couples the special qualities of this amazing performer of character with the equally valid qualities of composer. After such a sensational start, Madonna is one of the most original, dynamic young music talents today.

You do not have a band, but are accompanied by three dancers, why?
I chose them for their adrogony. For every song I set up a scenario, my performances are kind of like a cabaret show. 

How would you rate the choreography courses in New York along with Alvin Ailey and Pearl Lang?
Definitely a positive experience. With Pearl for example we created a very strong piece, “Butterflies”, based on drawings by children locked up in concentration camps. It came out of something very moving, even heartbreaking. From there I went to the Ailey company, but it did not last long.

Because of your aspirations?
What annoyed me was the kind of choreography we did, and the fact we spent more time sitting in class than dancing on stage.

And Patrick Hernandez, was that also a negative experience?
During auditions for an off-Broadway show they made me wait around eight hours and then told me they didn’t want me for the part. They wanted me to go to France and become a star. At the time I was hungry and didn’t think twice.

In Paris I had an apartment and money waiting for me, but no work. So I toured a bit of Europe with Patrick Hernandez and then returned to New York.

And to the Danceteria
I had recorded a demo and taken it to the Dacenteria to give to the DJ Mark Kamins. A short time later I had my first single ‘Everybody’

What do you do when you are not in the recording studio?
I go to my favourite clubs and unleash, I don’t take ballet lessons anymore, so I have a lot more energy. 

I like to drive around the city, go for walks, if you’re around people you’re never alone. Many people once they achieve success hide away, even from their friends. That’s a trap I don’t want to fall into.

Is Madonna your real name?
A question that haunts me, how and why I chose this name. It is my real name. My parents were very religious, a typical Italian-American Catholic family. I have always attended Catholic schools, and also Madonna is my mother’s name.