What was it like walking into that rehearsal room? It must have been intimidating.
It wasn’t intimidating for me. I guess it’s just part of the world I grew up in. I walk in with these heels on and I own it. But she carried this really heavy, strong — as tiny as she is, she carries a very strong presence. I remember being like, “Oh damn, that’s Madonna.”

The first thing she said to me was, “Take those damn heels off.” [Laughs.] I’m really tall and I had these heels on. But I went in and killed the audition. And then I was her background singer for many years, the next three tours.

Tell me about rehearsals with Madonna. This is a really big show.
I have never in my life worked with anybody who rehearses like this woman rehearses. It is wild. Even now, she’s going out on tour and, I believe, her rehearsals will start in February. She doesn’t go out until July. That is five months of rehearsal!

Some people love it. I do not like the rehearsal process at all. But it is wild. I’ve never seen somebody with a work ethic like that. I was like, “This is what it takes to be great. This is what it takes to be on the level that she’s at.”

She had a hand in every single decision, down to the eyelashes that we wore. I swear. I kid you not. She would come up and look at my outfit and go, “What lashes are those?” I was like, “Oh my God. This woman is amazing.”

We started out with just the band. Dancers do their thing in a whole other area. And there was a couple of months with just us. Then it turns into production rehearsals where where we all meet to put the show together. And she comes in and works with the band for a couple of hours. Then she peaces out and goes and works with the dancers. This woman is unreal. She goes into a whole different room and starts dancing. I’m like, “Oh my God.”

Slowly by slowly, bit by bit, this absolutely massive production comes together. And then we’re in Cardiff. That’s the very first show I did with her. The curtains drop and we’re in a stadium. I’ll never forget it. Every hair on my body stood up. I’d never experienced power like that.


Read the full interview with Kiley Dean by Rolling Stone HERE