Music Industry Legend Seymour Stein On His Journey From The Blues To Madonna And The Ramones Back To Blue Horizon

Baltin: So will the new artists be primarily blues based?

Seymour: My interest is in what’s really, really good. I never said what a good blues artist. Look at Madonna, she had been turned down by labels for three years when I met her and signed her. And when I learned that Chris Blackwell, who’s one of my idols, had turned her down, for a second I said, “Hmm, maybe I’m making a mistake here.” But that was over in about 30 seconds. We all make mistakes and I’ve made quite a few.

Full article at Forbes

Read more

SKNX.TV and the Madame X Tour

While the production team just edited their Instagram post (we can imagine why), here is the original post from Shootonline published on January 25

In 2021, music-driven content looks a lot like SKNX.TV (directing duo Sasha Kasiuha and VMA Award winner Nuno Xico). First up is the Netflix documentary chronicling Madonna’s Madame X Tour. Coming from the world of film editorial and visual effects, respectively, Nuno and Sasha juxtapose traditional cinematic art form with cutting edge technologies and other mixed media, true create not just a story, but a sensation.

Read more

Watch: Alluring New Ingrid Chavez Video For ‘Justify My Love’

For Ingrid Chavez, one time protege of Prince, and his co-star in Graffiti Bridge (before dropping out of music for a very long time to raise a family with legendary post-punk crooner David Sylvian), the last two years have been a kind of artistic reawakening. It began with her first new album in ten years, 2019’s stunningly accomplished ‘Memories of Flying.’ But last December, she veritably reclaimed her most public legacy, at last releasing her own version of ‘Justify My Love,’ the song she co-penned with Lenny Kravitz, and that would become a massive #1 hit for Madonna. (A dispute over writing credits was ultimately settled in her favor.)

Now she’s giving the song a visual companion, with the release of an equally intriguing and alluring new lyric video. In it, the seductive words are seen emanating directly from the shadowed songstress, while scenes of steamy erotica unfold amidst the salacious, jittery lighting of an unidentified room – and it all might just as easily be taking place in a palace in Vienna as a trashy motel in Berlin. The optical enigma becomes a part of the storyline.

Ms. Chavez fondly looks back on the serendipity of the creation and recording of the now storied track. Kravitz and Andre Betts were in a studio in LA, as it were, and she happened in.

“There are events in our lives that come to define who we are as an artist,” she recalls. “One of those defining moments for me was that day in Los Angeles, just hanging out in the studio with Lenny and Andre; I was in the city doing overdubs for Graffiti Bridge. It was not planned, I just happened to be in the room while they created what would become one of the most raw and unforgettable tracks of the ’90s.” 

Most fascinatingly, the now infamous lyrics actually started out as a love letter, which love was still in its earliest blossoming. That she has at last now recorded the song herself, is in a way like going back and revisiting those electric feelings of burgeoning passion.

“I think what is important to know about this song is that it is personal, it was written for me,” she explains. “The words were from a letter I had just written so the emotions were strong. It would ultimately wind up in Madonna’s hands and mark a major shift in her own image and musical style for a period of time. In some way, it changed the trajectory of both of our lives. That is the power of a song written from that deeper place that we as writers are forever chasing.”

It’s worth noting that she indeed chased it and significantly found it on Memories of Flying – and so the album is essential listening for going deeper with Ingrid. Which we absolutely and highly recommend doing.

More at Blackbookmag

Read more

Madonna debut album review from OOR magazine (Feb 11, 1984) ‘Madonna is more than just an attractive dance puppet’

Yesterday we posted one of the first interviews Madonna every did when she visited The Netherlands back in January 1984, this was published in OOR magazine (Feb 11, 1984). In that same issue they reviewed Madonna’s debut album, see English translation below:

The Detroit-born dancer and singer Madonna wound up in the music business through the managers of the annoying French singer Patrick Hernandez, who scored an international discohit complete with cane with Born To Be Alive in ’79. These gentlemen took care of her singing lessons in Paris. After being in the New York new wave- and punkscene Madonna, being a fan of black music found herself in the New York dance-circuit, where also her physically attractive star started to rise after the release of the Mark Kamins-produced debut single Everybody.

This panting track is included on her debut record, which does not fail to impress. This is mainly thanks to the disciplined production of Reggie Lucas (known for his work with Phyllis Hyman and Stephanie Mills) who surrenders the record for only 1 song (Holiday) to John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez and surrounds his graceful protege with the cream of the crop of the New York scene. Fortunately the slightly ordinary and naughty Lady S.M. Madonna also makes a contribution herself, because she is responsible for five of the nine compositions.

These songs are carried to a large extent by her horny and provocative teenage girls’ voice and furthermore have equally smart and exciting instrumentations, in which the dry funk-bass licks and the well-groomed keyboard contributions stand out. Moreover, the whole draws an attractive trail through rhythm & blues, illustrating that Madonna is more than just an attractive dance puppet.

More in our The First Album page

Read more

Madonna speaks to OOR magazine (NL) February 1984 ‘I’ve got business to do’ (full English translation available)

When Madonna first came to The Netherlands for promotion there were only a few interviews and one of those was published in Dutch OOR (ear) magazine on February 11, 1984. Besides the interview the same issue of OOR also includes the review for her debut album (stay tuned for the next post.) This article has been added to The First Album page.

English translation of the interview here:


The poses on her record covers recall Marilyn Monroe, her voice is a mix of Debbie Harry and Stacy Lattisaw and she calls herself Madonna. An obvious case of image-hyping or perhaps an artist with her own musical vision? One does not rule out the other, we learn while chatting to the singer who is currently breaking through with catchy dance-single Holiday.

To my surprise Madonna is actually her real name, but that clarifies her ancestry. She was born as Madonna Ciccone in Detroit (1960) with Italian parents and was raised with a population consisting mainly of blacks and immigrants. ‘my parents were orthodox-catholic but still gave me a lot of freedom,’ she says. ‘I had a lot of black friends at school and I mainly listened to Motown- and other black music. My father stimulated me to become a dancer, I followed an education and left for New York to do it professionally. That felt okay for a while, even though I felt the need to sing. I went to auditions and got in touch with Patrick Hernandez (Frenchman, who scored an international disco hit in 1979 with Born To Be Alive-JN)  through an ad, who was looking for dancers and singers for a tour. I left for Europe, learned to play instruments and took singing lessons. As a singer there wasn’t enough work and after a tour I decided to return to New York. I started to write my own songs, made a demo, gave it to a DJ-friend and he played my cassette occasionally in a club where he worked. A scout from Warner Brothers heard it, was interested and through him Sire got me a record deal. Sire-boss Seymous Stein thought I needed an experienced producer and hired Reggie Lucas. Afterwards I thought his sound was too slick so I brought in John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez, the famous DJ/mixer/producer from New York to produce Holiday and remix three other tracks. It was those exact songs that became a hit in clubs and landed me a top position in the dance charts. It wasn’t until then that Sire decided to promote me as a record artist and release Holiday as a single.’

That makes Madonna another artist who broke through thanks to the club scene in New York. But she also thinks that the disco circuit does too little for fellow artists who are not without merit. ‘In the battle for success women are merely used in the dance scene. Especially independents hire female singers without a record deal often,’ she explains. ‘If the record sells well the bosses and producers strike up all the money. The singers remain anonymous and therefore people assume they’re artistically uninteresting. There is still too much prejudice that dance music, no matter how good it sounds, is only out for image and artistically has little else to do. The disco market is responsible for their own bad reputation and I would like to change that.’

What about her own image or is her bleached haircut just the result of a joke, I ask. ‘What you say,’ she laughs. ‘There was a moment when I thought it was a good idea to bleach my hair. When we were shooting the album cover everyone was annoying me saying how much I wanted to look like Marilyn Monroe or Debbie Harry. I am getting really sick of that so I am thinking of growing back my own colour.’

Even though the single success will be positive for the promotion and sales of her debut record, Madonna is already thinking about her next record. ‘My next record will be different; I don’t just want to make dance music, but also mid-tempo songs. Songs with a solid soul-sound, I was very much influenced by black music. I am also looking for a new producer. I am aiming for Nile Rodgers of Chic and Trevor Horn as well. Nothing’s settled yet.’

Madonna’s ambitions have also reached the movie scene. Last year she worked on the soundtrack to Vision Quest, with producer Phil Ramone. ‘I wrote two songs and performed three in total,’ she explains. ‘I can be seen in the movie for a short while, but I would like to concentrate on acting later. I am putting all of my time and energy in my singing carreer. I am leaving for England in one hour to perform at The Tube (pop show on Channel 4-JN). It took quite a while before radio and TV noticed me, but since Holiday is doing so well, I am “hot stuff” over there too.’ And with a confident ‘I’ve got business to do’ the tiny singer says goodbye. (JN)

Read more

Madonna has already completed work on the Lisbon show. Children were the first to see the final edition

The American artist recorded the performances at Coliseu dos Recreios for the official DVD of the tour promoting the album “Madame X”, which she composed and recorded during the period she lived in Portugal. The release date has not yet been announced but will be coming soon.

Madonna has already completed the process of assembling the Lisbon show, a work she interrupted earlier this year because of a trip to Africa that took her to Malawi and Kenya. The four adopted children and her boyfriend, dancer and choreographer Ahla Malik Williams, were the first to see the final edition in a home session, announced the 62-year-old singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, director and businesswoman on social media. The release date has not yet been announced but will be coming soon.

The North American artist, who earned about half a half million euros per show, recorded the performances at Coliseu dos Recreios, in Lisbon, for the official DVD of the promotional tour of “Madame X”, the disc she composed and recorded in the period in which she lived in Portugal, between August 2017 and March 2019. United States of America, Portugal, England and France were the only countries on the roadmap. Composed of 75 dates, this tour earned Madonna 51.4 million dollars, about 42.4 million euros.

Auto-translated from an article by SAPO LIFESTYLE

Read more

Revisit Madonna and the fabulous ’80s in new exhibit at Galleria Dallas

She's Got the Look Madonna

A very Material Girl look. Galleria


An exhibit at the Galleria Dallas mall is poised to take us back to the ’80s, which surely has to be preferable to the hellish landscape we’ve endured in the 2020s.

Called “She’s Got the Look,” the exhibit will display more than 50 fashions by some of that decade’s most outrageous designers, with everything from Madonna’s Material Girl-era black lace to the power looks of ’80s TV show Dynasty.

The show is curated by Ken Weber, owner of Martini Consignment, the vintage store on Henderson Avenue, and will run from March 5-April 3. It’ll occupy the space next door to Sephora that was most recently home to the Snowday holiday experience.

Designers featured include quintessential ’80s names such as Thierry Mugler, Oscar de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent, Bob Mackie, Emanuel Ungaro, Halston, and Geoffrey Beene.

The exhibition will be divided into two sections:

  • a main room showcasing elegance and extravagance with party, red-carpet, Ladies Who Lunch and Working Girl attire
  • a second room featuring “Valley Girls,” “Rocker Chicks,” “Club Kids,” and menswear
Read more

Early Madonna interview in Record Mirror (February 1983) on ‘Everybody’ and ‘Burning Up’

Take a look at this very early interview originally published in Record Mirror dated February 26, 1983. Madonna was on to promote her debut single ‘Everybody’ and spoke about macho hunks, being a very sexual person, going to Paris and upcoming single ‘Burning Up.’ This article has been added to the press section of The First Album page.

A few excerpts from the interview:

‘I’m a very sexual person but I want my brain to be appreciated as well.’ says Madonna. “I look good on stage, very good but I don’t wear costumes that I’m going to fall out of. That would be rather cheap.”

‘I see myself as an entertainer to make people forget about the horrors of the world. I’m an escape route. I wrote ‘Everybody’ because we all need a lover and everybody wants to be loved.’

‘Madonna’s album will be out soon and her next single will be ‘Burning Up.’ “It’s about somebody being totally consumed with desire.” she sighs. “You know that feeling you get when you ache for somebody. Oh yes it’s happened to me and I hope a lot of people have ached for me. 

Read more

Madonna’s ‘Madame X Tour’ a reflection by Dave Crombeen


I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. Time for a personal reflection of the Madame X era.

I instantly fell in love when I heard ‘Medellin’ for the first time, then almost every week we got another track. My first thought was, hmm it’s all autotune, don’t know if I like this. But after literally a second listen to that particular song I was hooked. ‘Crave’ for example is still my fave MX track. From the moment she dropped the album, I couldn’t stop listening to it, and still do a lot. It turned out really quickly that not everybody could appreciate the album (according to the reactions in many FB groups.) Too much autotune, not many uptempo songs etc.  An album without commercial hit potention. For the first time in years she received really good reviews, and I still don’t understand why she was ignored at the Grammy awards. I really liked the album a lot, I like the experimental stuff she’s creating with Mirwais. There are so many layers on this album. Yeah it’s definitely an album that needs more listens, a grower. I would say, give it 10 to 15 years, and this album is classified as ‘way ahead of its time, a real classic M album.’ Remember ‘Erotica’ and ‘American Life’ same story.
Then she and Maluma delivered a breathtaking performance at the Billboard Music Awards. She proved again that she’s the best live performance artist that we have. It brought high expectations for the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, and she didn’t deliver……That was it. She was over, she proved once more she can’t sing…..My FB feed was filled with Madonna hate posts. But come on what did you expect? In my opinion she shouldn’t have done it in the first place! It’s a song contest where people sing live, she would be ending in the bottom up for elimination. If she lip synced the performance, then it wasn’t good either, because it’s a contest based on performing and singing live. Didn’t like the songs she had chosen either. She should have done ‘Medellin’ and finish with two classics to get the crowd (and TV viewers) crazy. No she did sing a non-danceable ‘Like a Prayer’ version, bit of ‘Dark Ballet’ and her latest single ‘Future.’ The autotune was used way off and it didn’t help either that one day later her official YouTube channel uploaded the performance with edit vocals. I still believe the sound was mixed badly on purpose because people just KNEW she would make a political statement. I know many people who were in the venue including very good friends. They all said it wasn’t as bad as broadcasted on television.
Then the tour was announced with limited shows in theaters. Prices are sky high and not affordable for everyone, how dare she! I saved money to attend some shows, so I was lucky to see the show a few times. I booked 2 shows in every city from the EU leg; Lisbon, London and Paris. I know I’m very lucky that I could manage to buy tickets for six shows. Since ‘Rebel Heart’ i’m collecting less and use that money to see more shows. In the end everything ends up unopened in my closet, and the tour memories are forever in my memory. Being a Madonna fan since 1984 makes me less objective according to many of my friends and even unknown people. Both of them like to point out the things she didn’t do well this time and before I can give my feedback there is this ‘yeah but you are not objective, you like everything she does.’
This whole Madame X era was heavily stressful, so many cancelled shows. So many disappointed fans. I have dear friends who lost thousands of Euro’s, I felt like I was back in 1992 when the whole world was against her. This time it was not the entire world, but also a lot of die-hard fans. Everybody knew for sure, her career was over, she destroyed her own legacy with her insta posts of the twins and over-filtered selfies (shot from a certain angle reminding people of the mask from the movie Scream.) Cancelling shows followed by posting videos celebrating a birthday, dancing in a room with people. So many mixed signs. Signs I also didn’t understand. But she can do whatever she wants on her Instagram. Is it smart though? That’s another question. “If she can celebrate she can also sit on a chair and do her show anyway. Yeah back in the days she was good, now she’s better stop. I mean I love her but she’s too old, enough is enough. By the way she also can’t sing anymore, she couldn’t sing live in the first place. We want her to work again with Patrick Leonard or Stuart Price. She needs to deliver good music instead of all those crappy commercial collaboration shit she has delivered since Confessions.” These are just a few comments from die-hard fans that I kept on reading and hearing. I can only agree on the cancellation part, that was totally fucked up and nerve-wracking. Why not postpone the show, and recover first. When I saw 2 shows in Lisbon, I was ready to be all my money that she would cancel the London and Paris shows. She was in such heavy pain. We all know she isn’t the best actress in the world, this was definitely real. At the end of the January 18th show in Lisbon, me and my mate were at the end of the mixing tape where she stands to say “Thank You and Good Night”, right before leaving the theater. She was almost in tears, couldn’t move after her final words, stood still for at least a minute taking deep breaths, before she was escorted out of the room. Heartbreaking to see my idol in such a state like this. This was not Madonna the superstar, this was a women who just passed her boundaries in a very seriously bad way. She was broken.
She didn’t cancel or postpone but moved on to London. I don’t know what happened but every show she did in London, she was on high energy. One year ago I saw  my best Madonna show ever, which reminded me a lot of my first show (Blond Ambition.) She gave everything she had. The kick ass attitude we love, she gave us the fearless Madonna and doing what she wanted to do without thinking. Seeing her on the piano during ‘Dark Ballet’, or taking down her hoodie at the start of ‘Like a Prayer.’ Goosebumps all over my body. So many flashbacks to the Blond Ambition Tour. The way she looked at us, the crowd. So many classic Madonna expressions we all know from her early performances. She really was in a perfoming mood. It was a show full of surprises. She sang ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ instead of having her infamous beer bitch moment. She talked a lot, and not  only the ‘talk she rehearsed and always does is every show.’ She also spoke for the first time openly about her injuries, she had issues with her knee and that her doctor wanted her to cancel the tour, but she didn’t want that. I always say, when the artist or band gives the audience more energy than they can handle, you have an unforgettable unique show. This was definitely a show where she gave us more than we could handle.
Kimberly and I had tickets for the second row in the centre. The guy sitting in front of me in the first row was unlucky (in my opinion) because her photographer and social media guy Ricardo Gomes was sitting between him and the stage to film everything with his smartphone. The poor guy couldn’t sit relaxed with his legs, because of Gomes.. We were very close to the stage, even from the second row we could almost touch the stage. Then suddenly a cursing Madame X, because she passed the curfew and they didn’t open the curtain for the last song. The music started anyway and M came through the curtains with her crew to do the last song anyway, right in front of us. We could touch her if we wanted, but I’m not that kind of guy. If I get my moment I get it, I do respect her anytime, so no obsessive behaviour from me. At the end of ‘I Rise’ the dancer next to M grabbed my rainbow flag. It really felt like we were part of the show. I didn’t really realize all of this, until a few hours later and she posted a video about this on her Instagram. We were literally a part of Madonna history. The vibe was electric. Outside the venue all the fans were like “WTF did this really happen?”
Then Paris…
Again I was lucky to see 2 shows, the first on Feb 22 and March 8 which happened to be the very last show…Back was the moody Madonna…The injuries seemed to be more visible than before. It all started out wrong when they found out that the show didn’t fit well in the Le Grand Rex. Corona was hitting the world seriously, and all events larger than 2500 people got canceled. LGR had a capacity of 2200. The last show was very emotional. She had to cancel the night before, but excited to perform on Sunday the 8. She probably already knew that France would be in complete lockdown the day after. She talked a lot during the show and danced less. Her dancers took good care of her. Later she declared that half the crew was sick in the final week, and that she had anti-bodies of the Covid-19 virus. We had front row seats and when she came down for the beer moment, she stood right next to us. She looked completely drugged out by painkillers.
After this show, I was really like, was this it? Can she do another big production? She first needs to take good care of herself. I feel very sorry for all the fans who missed out seeing the show, due to cancellations. If only she’d made one statement on her Insta about it to show how sorry she was for the fans. She didn’t, no word at all, a big middle finger to her fans. One statement could have done a lot.
I still find it very hard to understand how many die-hard fans turned their back on her because she didn’t deliver the album they wanted…I love her just because she always takes the road less traveled by…. For me this was one of the best era’s. I love the album and all the Madame X photo’s are fantastic. The tour is one of her best, if not the best!
Attending the ‘Medellin’ video premiere in London. The Madame X release Party a collab between Concerto recordstore and Madonnaunderground. We from Madonnaunderground also had the opportunity to lunch and interview the one and only Tracy Young. An unforgettable experience, such a lovely lady. Visiting 4 locations in Portugal where she shot Batuka, Dark Ballet & The World of Madame X.
There is only one Queen and that’s Madonna!
Dave Crombeen
Read more

The Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame fine tunes its Bay City exhibit

There are currently 114 framed photos of inductees into the Michigan Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — all which Johnson wants to hang in the Bay City exhibit.

“We’re hoping also to have a fairly large exhibit on Madonna, the most famous rock and roll star to be born in Bay City,” Johnson says. He hopes to contact her father, owner of Ciccone Winery in Leelanau County, to ask about acquiring something from the star to display at the museum. Johnson says an exhibit in her hometown honoring Madonna’s achievements is “long overdue.” So far, the museum has a set of photos of Madonna taken in 1985 at the Pontiac Silverdome by former BCHS board member Dick Van Nostrand.

Full article at secondwavemedia

Read more

15 essential songs from SOPHIE, the artist and producer who changed the course of pop

Madonna, ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’ ft. Nicki Minaj’ (2015)

Often, there’s a misconception that music must be challenging, emotionally complex and hard-to-access in order to be worthy of greatness – a fairly boring and distinctly joyless way of measuring quality. Meanwhile, SOPHIE often played with ideas like brightness, gloss and polish – words often used as shorthand for lowbrow inauthenticity – and pushed them to the extreme. “I think all pop music should be about who can make the loudest, brightest thing,” the artist once told Rolling Stone.  “That, to me, is an interesting challenge, musically and artistically… just as valid as who can be the most raw emotionally.”

And all these ideas come to fruition on 2015’s ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’ – one of SOPHIE’s earliest collaborations with the pop big-leagues. Appearing on Madonna’s 2015 album ‘Rebel Heart’, the producer succeeded in making a star long associated with reinvention sound fresh all over again – the tenacious and synth-laden track, which also features Nicki Minaj, is both the strangest and most interesting track from that particular era of Madge’s career.

Full article at NME

Read more