Mirwais on producing Madonna: ‘I’m not comparing her to a bull but –’

‘Who wants a dance record? There are no clubs any more’ … Mirwais Ahmadzaï on 2016 – My Generation.
Photograph: Jean Baptiste Mondino

Mirwais Ahmadzaï is trying to sum up his frequent collaborator Madonna. “You know bullfighting?” he begins ominously. “It works because the bull is so powerful that you have to weaken it.” Right. “Look, I’m not comparing Madonna to a bull,” he quickly adds, “but she was so powerful at that time.”

For most of the 90s, Ahmadzaï meandered through different genres, from acoustic chamber pop to an unreleased jungle album. In 1999, having signed his independent label, Naive Records, to Sony in the UK, Ahmadzaï was looking for a US label to release Production, a sleek electronic opus that fused stuttering beats with acoustic guitar and Auto-Tuned vocals. Impressed by the way Madonna’s Maverick label had handled the Prodigy in America, Ahmadzaï asked his photographer friend Stéphane Sednaouï, who had directed Madonna’s Fever video, to send lead single Disco Science to her manager Guy Oseary.

“He loved it and passed it on,” says Ahmadzaï. “When she heard it she said, ‘This is what I want to do’, so we tried it out.” Was he a fan of her work at that point? “I don’t know if you know the situationist movement,” he says, “but one of the things they said was break the link with the hero. I love Madonna but I wouldn’t say I was a fan. I didn’t have the fan attitude.”I like to be provocative … I was an artist before Madonna. This is one of the secrets of our relationship

Their early sessions were complicated by a language barrier. “She always says that I couldn’t speak English,” he laughs, “but she speaks with an American accent and very quickly. She’s very impatient – everyone knows that.” After Music’s playful electro came the more left-field folktronica of American Life. It got off to a bad start with the lead single and title track, which featured Madonna rapping in toe-curling style about her yoga classes, coffee-drinking habits and private jet.

“Yeah, we had a big debate about the rap,” he sighs. “We did another version where it’s more integrated into the mix. But I like to be provocative, which is why ultimately I didn’t fight her on it.” His voice softens, something it does a lot when discussing Madonna. “She just loves what she does. Even with Madame X, and working with [26-year-old Colombian singer] Maluma, people were like, ‘She shouldn’t do that.’ She just doesn’t care. If the reaction wasn’t good, it was OK.”

By the time Madonna executed a storming comeback in 2005 with the Confessions on a Dance Floor album, Ahmadzaï was burnt out. “I was supposed to do a big part of Confessions, but I had to leave,” he says carefully. “I worked on two tracks, but we were meant to do about five or six.” He’s cagey about why he left. “To be honest with you, if it had been today I wouldn’t have. I had some issues to resolve.” Besides, he was never supposed to be an underground producer for hire: “I was an artist before Madonna. This is one of the secrets of our relationship. I’m an artist too, and she knows that.”

Like all artists, Madonna included, Ahmadzaï enjoys contradiction. A self-confessed cult musician with a superstar on speed dial, he’s chosen a culture-destroying global pandemic to return to music. Not only that but he’s about to release a conversation-starting song and video, taken from an album featuring established names such as Richard Ashcroft and Kylie Minogue, as part of some sort of experimental protest.

“I do not care about streaming or video views,” he says. “We are aiming for zero views if possible, or zero streams.” Right. “I want to change the way we release records. It’s just a drop in the ocean, but it’s good to provoke.”

 2016 – My Generation is released as part of Record Store Day on 24 October.

Read the full interview with Mirwais at The Guardian

Read more

Turn Up The Radio + Superstar discographies online

Turn Up The Radio was globally released as MDNA’s final single. The album track and remixes were available on various promotional CDr’s but not releasing it on a commercially available physical format was quite a missed opportunity. 

While Madonna was in Florence Italy for her MDNA Tour she shot the official music video for it. 

In Brazil ‘Superstar’ was also released as a single and given away for free with the Folha de São Paulo newspaper on December 3 2012. Madonna herself chose the artwork for the single, sent in by various artists as part of Johnnie Walker’s Keep Walking Project. 

Check out both discographies now

Turn Up The Radio


Read more

Damien Jalet (Madame X Tour) in Podium Dans (Dutch TV) November 2

NPO 2 extra (Dutch TV) will air a documentary on Damien Jalet who worked with Madonna on her Madame X Tour. Damien Jalet is an internationally praised Belgian/French choreographer. He has worked with choreographers and artists like Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Marina Abramovic, Ryuichi Sakamoto and of course Madonna. 

Podium Dans (Stage Dance) visits him in Antwerp


NPO 2 extra

November 2

22.20 – 23.10


Read more

From The Rolling Stones to Debbie Harry: The 10 best musical SNL hosts


In 1985, there was no star bigger than Madonna. The singer had become a phenomenon almost overnight and now her star was rising, Saturday Night Live were quick to snag the singer as a host.

Madonna’s acting chops may still be under scrutiny, never likely to be fully accepted by either party of the discussion, her ability to entertain is under no debate whatsoever. The musical guest was Simple Minds and performed ‘Alive and Kicking’ and ‘Satisfy Yourself.’ Meanwhile, during the SNL skits, Madonna performed ‘Take On Me’, ‘La Bamba and Lionel Richie’s Three Times A Lady.


Read full article at FAR OUT

Read more

Madonna’s Ray of Light at the end of the dark tunnel

Madonna’s album Ray of Light is one of the most powerfully evocative pieces and the much-needed connect with one’s spiritual self in these gloomy times.

These days most of us need our daily dose of introspection and spirituality to cope with the trying times. Considering music in itself is therapeutic, what better could be than the music that helps you introspect and connect with your spiritual self? The Ray of Light in these gloomy times comes from Madonna. Her album, Ray of Light, was released in 1998. More than two decades thence, it still remains powerfully evocative with strong mystical undertones in the music and the lyrics. Both, the lyrics and the music, were the products of Madonna’s study of Eastern religions — Hinduism and Buddhism, her embracing Kabbalah and the daily practice of Ashtanga yoga. It was also Madonna’s motherhood album — the first one she composed after giving birth to daughter Lourdes.


Madonna is said to have gone great lengths to prepare for this album. For starters, she identified some of the lesser-known Indian spiritual texts for the lyrics. Take for instance, the Yoga Taravali hymn of Adi Shankaracharya. Madonna used the opening shloka of Adi Shankara’s lesser-known hymn that poetically and metaphorically summarises the highest teachings of yoga. These were the lyrics of the song Shanti-Ashtangi. And when she was told that her Sanskrit pronunciations weren’t up to the mark, Madonna went on to take classes from the scholar from Varanasi, Dr Bhagirath Prasad Tripathi (Vagish Shastri) — the eminent Sanskrit grammarian, linguist and yogi. And she took her classes over the telephone (organised by the BBC) that changed her pronunciations that would put most native Indians to shame.

Read the full article at Daily Recco

Read more

Madonna performed at Uncle Sam’s 39 years ago today

Madonna performed one of her very first gigs at Uncle Sam’s Blues Club in New York today 39 years ago. She was managed by Camille Barbone at the time.

Photographer George DuBose was hired to take photographs of Madonna throughout this live show. These photographs were available in his Madonna – RAW book which published in 2015. 

The book is still available to purchase through AMAZON here

The photographs shown here by George DuBose are all original. The photograph in the lower left corner is credited to Ross Gadye.

Read more

‘Hung Up’ was released 15 years ago today!

Fifteen years ago today one of Madonna’s biggest ever hit singles was released. ‘Hung Up’ a collaboration with Stuart Price sampling Abba’s ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ made for a brilliant instant dance smash hit! In fact it was Madonna’s greatest hit single in Holland to date, spending SEVEN weeks at the number one position in the official charts!

Here in Holland we celebrated the single release with radio interviews, social media promotion and an upcoming releaseparty for Confessions on a Dance Floor announcement. 

Madonna performed the single in many TV shows on an extensive promotional tour, of which you can read a personal live report HERE

Performances included Wetten Dass (Mannheim), Children in Need (BBC London), Michael Parkinson (London), Star Academy (France) and much much more. There was also the less than stellar interview for Dutch TV by Peter van der Vorst for PULSE. Madonna was literally everywhere and there no was no denying that she was on top of her game!

Check out the discography HERE

Read more

Madonna on directing her biopic: ‘Big script’ for a ‘big life’

Singer Madonna has shared details on the progress of her biopic, saying the script is now 133 pages long. The pop superstar and writer Diablo Cody have been working on the biopic for a while now. Madonna took to Instagram to post a video of the two while working on the script.

The 62-year-old singer sat on a leather-bound black studded chair outdoors in a gazebo with the writer, reports dailymail.co.uk. Madonna wore a striped white top with a black corset and matching pants, along with black leather boots.


In the video, the two start off by talking about bananas. Soon, the singer tells Cody that her name Madonna could not be copyrighted, “because it’s in the Bible”.

She also did a cappella rendition of “Get into the groove” from 1984.

Towards the end of the video, the pair commented on the script’s length — 133 pages — which Cody mentioned was “insane” and “biblical”.

“That’s a big script,” she said.

Madonna replied: “It’s a big life!”

In a career spanning about four decades, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide.

More at Indiatvnews

Read more

The 53rd Mega Record & CD Fair will be moved to April 16, 17 & 18, 2021!

In recent weeks, the Dutch government has announced several times stricter measures to curb the daily growth in the number of Covid-19 infections. Till now, this has not been successful, as a result of which there are currently almost 8 000 new Covid-19 infections a day in the Netherlands.

Last Tuesday, the central government therefore again announced new and even stricter measures for a period of 4 weeks, whereby it is already indicated that this period is likely to be extended even further. The announced measures basically amount to a second (partial) lockdown.

As a result of these new measures and circumstances it is in our opinion impossible but also irresponsible to allow the international Mega Record & CD Fair to continue on 13, 14 and 15 November 2020. In close cooperation with Jaarbeurs Utrecht it has therefore been decided to move the 53rd Mega Record & CD Fair together with the VerzamelaarsJaarbeurs to April 16, 17 & 18 2021.

We understand that this is also a huge disappointment for our many loyal visitors and exhibitors. That is why we will do our outmost best to come back stronger in 2021 and hope for your trust and support in this matter.

Every exhibitor will receive in the coming weeks (no later than 15 November) a personal e-mail with an adapted confirmation and proof of payment for the Mega Record & CD Fair of April 2021.

Given the extent of these adjustments, we would like to appeal to your patience and understanding.

Take good care of each other and stay healthy!


Read more