Madonna’s Israel Trip for Eurovision Finale Has Billionaire Backer Aiming to Bolster Country’s Image

The pop icon’s “problematic” new song reportedly proved an obstacle in negotiations over the performance.

With a month to the start of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, the addition of the Queen of Pop has raised the stakes. 

Following weeks of speculation, Live Nation Israel announced Monday that Madonna will serve as the interval act in the Grand Final of the annual singing competition on May 18. The performance is set to coincide with promoting her new album, with a world tour expected to follow.

Madonna is expected to take the stage at the halfway mark of the final night singing a back-catalogue favorite and “a new song from her upcoming album,” per the official announcement by Live Nation Israel.

Israeli news website Ynet revealed last month that the content of the new song proved an obstacle throughout negotiations. According to the report, there was concern within the local Eurovision production about what has been described as a “problematic” song, with fears that its theme might include a political message on stage, something organizers want to avoid.

Eldad Koblenz, who heads Kan, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, reportedly urged local producers to back off and not interfere with the entertainer’s artistic choices and the matter was resolved soon after.

Politics and ongoing calls by the Palestinian-led movement Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), and its vocal ally, Pink Floyd‘s Roger Waters, have grown as a point of contention leading up to this year’s Eurovision.

“Israel is shamelessly using Eurovision as part of its official Brand Israel strategy, which presents ‘Israel’s prettier face’ to whitewash and distract attention from its war crimes against Palestinians,” read a January statement by BDS.

Madonna, who is managed by Guy Oseary, an Israeli-American businessman, is a strategic coup for organizers. She has advocated for peace, including during visits to Israel where she closed her 2008-2009 Sticky & Sweet World Tour and kicked off her 2012 MDNA World Tour.

Her appearance this year was made possible thanks to a powerful financial backer. Jewish-Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams — whose real estate mogul father Marcel Adams has long helped finance concerts in Israel by such artists as Elton JohnJustin Bieber and Leonard Cohen — reportedly put up $1.35 million to secure Madonna.

Last year, Adams was behind bringing the multi-stage bicycle race Giro d’Italia to Jerusalem, the biggest sporting event ever in Israel. A self-proclaimed Zionist who recently started a cultural fund to help draw big name artists to perform in Israel, Adams’ business partner Danny Ben Naim told Ynet that securing Madonna for Eurovision was a way to “increase the exposure and media coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest itself … as well as of the wonderful people and beauty of the State of Israel.” That likely includes strengthening Israel’s image globally and fighting off boycott efforts.

Madonna’s presence as a high caliber guest artist in the European mega event is not without precedent. Three years ago, Justin Timberlake, fresh off a promotional visit to the Cannes Film Festival in support of Trolls, stopped by the 2016 Eurovision in Stockholm to perform his later Oscar-nominated “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and popular staple “Rock Your Body.”

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Tel Aviv on May 14-18.

More at Billboard

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Record Store Day: 20 exclusive releases to look out for

Classic vinyl reissues, limited collectors’ editions and unreleased recordings from Fela Kuti, Prince and David Bowie join rare pressings by the Prodigy and the Notorious BIG this Saturday

Madonna – True Blue (Super Club Mix) & La Isla Bonita (Super Mix)
Tiding you over until Madonna’s new album arrives this summer, the RSD-exclusive editions of these 80s classics feature extended club mixes (both “super mixes” were previously exclusive to Japan) and b-sides on coloured vinyl.

More at The Guardian

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Madonna urged to avoid Israeli Eurovision

A group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals has urged Madonna to abandon reported plans to perform at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Madonna has been urged to abandon reported plans to perform at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.

A group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals in the West Bank published an open letter calling on the singer and activist to boycott the event, which is being held in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Madonna is reportedly in talks to perform two songs during the final on May 18, including a classic track and a new single.

But the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) – part of a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign – suggested her appearance would be used by the Israeli government “to mask its deepening oppression of Palestinians”.

Her decision to appear follows calls from stars including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters for an international boycott of the 64th edition of the televised singing contest.

The statement posted to social media by PACBI read: “Palestinians hope that you will not undermine our struggle for freedom, justice and equality by performing at Eurovision in apartheid Tel Aviv, on the ruins of the ethnically-cleansed village of al-Shaykh Muwannis.

“The call from Palestinian artists to boycott Eurovision hosted by Israel is supported by more than 100,000 people signing petitions, over 100 LGBTQIA groups, more than 20 Israeli artists, and hundreds of prominent international artists including the 1994 Eurovision winner.

“Israel’s fanatic, far-right government is cynically exploiting your performance, and those of the contestants, to mask its deepening oppression of Palestinians.”

Recent statements from the United Nations condemned Israel for what it said were human rights violations.

Waters, as well as fellow musician Brian Eno and filmmakers Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, recently signed a letter published in The Guardian backing an appeal from Palestinian artists.

Other signatories include novelist Yann Martel, actress Julie Christie, writer and director Peter Kosminsky and British band Wolf Alice.

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is due to be held in Israel after the 2018 contest was won by Israel entry Netta with her song Toy.

Eurovision and representatives of Madonna have been contacted for comment.

SOURCE AAP
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Madonna’s ‘Amazing’ promo only discography online – rare pressings!

New is our discography to the promo only single for ‘Amazing‘ from the ‘Music’ album.

Story goes that Warner Bros wanted to release ‘Amazing’ as the fourth single off of ‘Music’ but Madonna disagreed as she felt ‘Impressive Instant’ would be the better choice. To make a long story short promo’s were pressed but withdrawn as the single never happened. Another story is that Madonna replaced ‘Amazing’ in the Drowned World Tour setlist with ‘Beautiful Stranger’ since Warner Bros planned to use the live performance as music video to ‘Amazing’. Whether this is what really happened or not, we cannot confirm.

In our discography we have collected 6 different promotional pressings for you to view, click HERE to check it out.

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Madonna ‘to play two songs’ at Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv (BBC)

Madonna is set to play two songs during the interval of the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel next month.

The pop icon will reach more than 180 million viewers when she takes to the stage in Tel Aviv on 18 May.

Her appearance was first announced by local promoters Live Nation Israel, who said the performance would be “both historical and hysterical”.

Madonna’s press team confirmed the news to the BBC, but Eurovision organisers have downplayed the story.

“No final decisions have been made, or agreements signed,” said the EBU in a statement to the BBC.

“Official news and updates will come directly from the Eurovision channels in due course.”

Reports in the Israeli press suggested organisers had reservations about the content of Madonna’s performance.

Million-dollar staging

The star has recently been teasing new music on social media and was spotted filming a music video in Portugal towards the end of last month.

Rumours she would play at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv have been circulating for months; and were apparently confirmed on Monday via the Facebook pages of Live Nation Israel and Bluestone Entertainment, which is co-owned by Madonna’s manager Guy Oseary.

They added she would “perform two songs, including a new song from her upcoming album”.

The singer has a long association with Israel, and launched her MDNA tour in Tel Aviv in 2012.

But an appearance at Eurovision could prove controversial, as other musicians – including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters – are calling for the contest to be boycotted on human rights grounds.

The show is being held in the country after Israeli singer Netta won last year’s contest in Portugal.

Madonna’s performance is expected to cost around $1m (£765,000), which will be covered by Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams, who has financed large-scale events and concerts over the last few years as a way to support Israel and battle boycott movements.

“I’m excited and proud to host Madonna in Israel,” Adams said in a statement to the Jerusalem Post.

“I believe her performance, accompanied by dozens of professional backup dancers, will make a significant contribution to the success of the event and to the strengthening of Israel’s positive branding in the world.”

Although the interval performance is typically staged by local artists, Justin Timberlake was invited to play a medley of hits when Sweden hosted the competition in 2016.

Reality show winner Michael Rice will represent the UK in this year’s contest, performing a track called Bigger Than Us.

More at BBC

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Madonna confirmed to play at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest (NME)

Madge will perform two songs in Israel on May 18

It’s been confirmed that Madonna will play at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Representatives for Madonna confirmed to NME that the musician will perform two songs at the final on May 18 in Tel Aviv.

Earlier today, the news was also seemingly confirmed to Haaretz by the European Broadcasting Union. According to their reports, one of the songs played by Madonna will be a well-known single whilst the other will be a new song.

There are reports that the singer’s appearance at the contest will cost around $1 million and that Tel Aviv businessman Sylvan Adams will pay the bill.

Madonna at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, Radio City Music Hall

Last year, Israel’s Netta Barzilai won the content with the song ‘Toy’. Since the win, a number of leading artists including Wolf Alice, Brian Eno and The Knife – together with a number of former Eurovision finalists – called for a boycott of the 2019 contest in Israel.

In an open letter to The Guardian the artists called for a boycott of the event, stating: “Until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights to all humans, there should be no business-as-usual with the state that is denying them their basic rights.”

The letter added: “We understand that the European Broadcasting Union is demanding that Israel finds a ‘non-divisive’ location for the 2019 Eurovision. It should cancel Israel’s hosting of the contest altogether and move it to another country with a better human rights record…Injustice divides while the pursuit of dignity and human rights unites.”

Meanwhile, Madonna last week seemingly teased that her new album could finally be on the way, after uploading a grid of mysterious images to Instagram.

The Queen of Pop posted nine individual images on Instagram that link up to reveal a red ‘X’ against a striking black background.

In January, Madonna also shared what is thought to be studio footage from an upcoming track.

Read more at https://www.nme.com/news/music/madonna-confirmed-play-years-eurovision-song-contest-2473998#OxuRoS6ctOeWVBhj.99

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Madonna to Perform in Israel for Eurovision Song Contest (Variety)

Madonna will perform at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, the singer’s rep confirms to Variety. The contest, an international showcase of musical talent in which 43 countries participate, is set for May 14 to 18.

According to reports, Madonna will perform two songs — a classic from her repertoire and a new single — at the show’s May 18 finale. She is expected to release a new album this year.

Eurovision has become a much-loved annual event across Europe since it began in 1956. Last year’s winner was Israeli Netta Barzilai, who took the top prize in Lisbon, Portugal with the song “Toy.” The 64th edition of the contest will be broadcast around the world from the Expo Tel Aviv International Convention Center in Israel with semi-final shows on May 14 and 16, and the final broadcast on May 18.

The live show, which is watched by approximately 200 million viewers worldwide, sees each country submit an original song which is performed live. After all songs have been performed viewers in each country can then vote for their favorites, excluding the song from their own nation, with points awarded by ranking. The country with the most points is declared the winner.

Amongst the contest’s most renowned victors are Swedish pop group ABBA, who won in 1974 with the now legendary song “Waterloo,” and Canadian singer Celine Dion, who represented Switzerland in 1988 with the winning entry “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi.”

Madonna has previously performed in Tel Aviv, most recently in 2012 for her MDNA tour.

More at Variety

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Live Nation Israel confirms Madonna’s Eurovision performance

Live Nation is proud and excited to bring Queen Mother Madonna to Israel for a special performance during the competition that will be held this year in the Holy Land and will include the performance of two songs, including a new song in the premiere of the next album.
We could not think of a better opening shot for the coming summer.
Get ready for more surprises!

Live Nation Israel

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Official: Madonna will perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv (Ynet)

It is now official: Madonna will be performing at the Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv and will perform two songs there, the company announced today (Monday) to Live Nation Israel owned by Guy Besser and Shai Mor Yosef.

Madonna will arrive in Israel 4 days before the competition and will be staying at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv. She is expected to arrive in Israel with a staff of more than 60 people. The person who will make her appearance in Israel is Assaf Blecher, who has previously produced the Oscars and the Golden Globes. The live production company adds that it is possible that two other artists will be exposed to the show in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Contacts with the singer’s members have continued for several months, but have been hampered by the large economic gaps. In recent months, Danny Ben Na’im, the Israeli partner of Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams, has been approached by the corporation in order to obtain financial aid that will enable the performance to take place. Ultimately, the economic barrier was lifted after Adams, one of Israel’s most enthusiastic donors, agreed to finance the costs. Another challenge that the production had to deal with revolves around differences of opinion about the song that was supposed to be elected.

“I am excited and proud to host Madonna in Israel and bring her to the Eurovision,” said Canadian billionaire Shamman, who donated the Madonna concert. “I believe that her participation in the event will dramatically enhance the media exposure that the State of Israel will receive and will contribute significantly to the success of the Eurovision Song Contest and the branding of Israel in the world.”

The Eurovision Song Contest will be held this year at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds. It will open with the semi-finals on May 14 and 16, and the final will be held on May 18. The competition will be led by Bar Refaeli and Erez Tal, with Assi on their side.

More at Ynet

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Madonna to Perform at Eurovision in Tel Aviv – confirmed! (Haaretz)

Madonna will perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May, the European Broadcasting Union has confirmed.

The singer will likely perform two songs – a popular hit and a new song. The pop superstar and the contest’s producers have previously butted heads, apparently because the new song she plans to debut contains political messages.

Madonna is expected to be accompanied by a 160-person entourage. Bringing her to perform at the contest is expected to cost about $1 million, which is to be provided by billionaire businessman Sylvan Adams.

The performance will be her fourth in Israel. The first came in 1993, and was followed by shows in 2009 and 2012. She has also visited Israel on other occasions in the context of her interest in Kabbalah.

Planning for the contest, which Israel is hosting thank to its victory in last year’s, has seen hiccups over international calls for a boycott and funding issues.

Last week, the Prime Minister’s Office announced it would cover 1.5 million shekels (about $410,000) of the security costs for the contest.

The announcement came after the song contest’s executive supervisor sent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a stern letter in which he warned him that Israel’s foot-dragging on the matter could impede preparations for the entire event.

In January, former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters called on the BBC to refrain from broadcasting the contest. An open letter signed by over 50 leading U.K. artists urged the BBC to push for the locale of this year’s song contest to be changed because of “Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights.”

More at Haaretz.com

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MADONNA TO PERFORM AT EUROVISION IN TEL AVIV – confirmed

Madonna will perform live at the Eurovision grand finale in Tel Aviv on May 28. 
Israel’s public broadcaster KAN confirmed Monday the report by Yediot Aharonot. The costs of bringing the international superstar to Israel will be covered by Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams.

Last month Adams said he sees himself as an unofficial ambassador of Israel in the entertainment world.

“Its a tremendous way to boost tourism,” he said at the INTV conference in Jerusalem. “And I think the more people we bring here, the more people see our true nature, and the true beauty of our country and our people, and the freedom and openness and tolerance and safety of our country.”  

More at Jerusalem Post

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From the Archives: Outrage over Madonna video

When it first aired 30 years ago, the video for Madonna’s song “Like a Prayer” caused enormous controversy with its edgy mix of sexual and religious imagery.

First published in the Sydney Morning Herald on April 9, 1989

Pop-singer Madonna’s hit video is to be investigated by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal to decide whether it is blasphemous.

The tribunal has already received one complaint and the Reverend Fred Nile has promised to add his voice in a bid to have the Like a Prayer video banned. He said: “I have seen it. I feel offended by it. It is blasphemous and obviously sexually titillating.” Mr Nile said it was time a line was drawn over the treatment of religious subjects. The film The Last Temptation of Christ crossed that line. Muslims had been offended by the book Satanic Verses.

“People should be careful how they treat subjects which are important to the majority of citizens in our State who have some sort of faith.”

 

Uproar in Italy and America over the sexual and religious imagery in the video has caused Pepsi-Cola to cancel a $50 million international marketing campaign featuring its commercial run in tandem with the clip.

Scene from Madonna's "Like a Prayer" video, 1989
Scene from Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” video, 1989 CREDIT:PUBLICITY

Pepsi reportedly paid Madonna $6.3 million under a one-year contract that included commercials and a concert tour. It is unclear whether Pepsi has withdrawn its support for the tour.

The video shows Madonna kissing a religious statue of a black Christ that comes to life.

And she dances among burning crosses with the stigmata on her hand resembling the wounds Jesus suffered during crucifixion.

 

She is saved from rape by a black man resembling the statue and appears to dream of a sexual encounter with him.

The video coincides with the release of the album and single of the song which last week hit No 1 in Australia and Britain and stands at No 5 in America.

Read full article at Sydney Morning Herald

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Every Number 1 album by a female solo artist

The lady with the most visits to Number 1 is Madonna, who has topped the Official Albums Chart 12 times over her career. First was second album Like A Virgin, which took a mammoth 44 weeks to finally go to Number 1, in September 1985. Her next one, True Blue, went straight in at the top and stayed there for six straight weeks – it’s her biggest selling studio album in the UK – and all but one of her subsequent Number 1s have debuted at the summit. Her 1990 greatest hits collection The Immaculate Collection is her longest-running Number 1 – nine weeks at the top and 3.7 million copies sold, making it her top seller in the UK and the 13th biggest selling album of all time here. 

Read full article at Official Charts

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51st Mega Record & CD Fair Utrecht – one week to go!

April 13 & 14, 2019 the Jaarbeurs Convention centre in Utrecht will host the 51sth edition of the Mega Record & CD Fair. Calling all record and CD fans to the Mega Record & CD Fair, a massive bi-annual music fair at the Jaarbeurs Utrecht, the Netherlands. An unmissable cult event for music fans the world over, packed with exhibitions, collections, signings and live shows.Calling all record and CD fans to the Mega Record & CD Fair, a massive bi-annual music fair at the Jaarbeurs Utrecht, the Netherlands. An unmissable cult event for music fans the world over, packed with exhibitions, collections, signings and live shows.

Pre sale Record fair Utrecht

Record Planet manages vinyl & cd fairs including the world’s leading Mega Record & CD Fair at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, the Netherlands which takes place twice per year and is without doubt the largest record & cd fair in the world.

Record fair Utrecht

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Madonna debut album shirt ©2018 Boy Toy Inc.

We have just added this official shirt to The First Album promo page under the memorabilia tab.

This official shirt is completely inspired by Madonna’s debut album featuring the cover photo by Gary Heery on front. Underneath the print it says: © 2018 Boy Toy Inc. Under license by Live Nation Merchandise

Check this and more out HERE

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Madonna’s MDNA Skincare Launches Moschino Collab

Although the name Madonna doesn’t ordinarily elicit images of luxury moisturizers and serums, the iconic singer does run an ultra high-end and adored skincare brand, MDNA.

And now the brand has partnered with luxury Italian label Moschino to launch three super expensive skincare sets. Each set is built around the MDNA’s existing range of products and comes repackaged in a transparent Moschino bag.

The first set is called the Hydration Trio and includes MDNA’s signature Serum, The Eye Serum, and a mini Rose Mist. All products are focused on “light hydration” for the transitional weather.

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MDNA X Moschino Hydration Trio

Next is the All Eyes on You set, which includes MDNA’s top eye products: a full size Eye Serum, and four packs of The Eye Mask. Together, they claim to combat the toughest signs of exhaustion under your eyes along with de-puffing those persistent bags from sleepless nights.

MDNA X Moschino All Eyes on You

Finally, the Runway-Ready Essentials set includes travel-size renditions of most of the above including The Face Wash. All products come cased in a mini albeit chic Moschino travel pouch.

MDNA X Moschino Runway-Ready Essentials

As with all MDNA products, the price range is a little steep ranging between $95 to $420, but if you’re looking for a deal, the Runway-Ready Essentials may be your best bet at $95. All sets are retailing under exclusive partnerships with Barneys, and Nordstrom, respectively.

They are also available to shop at mdnaskin.com.

Photos courtesy of MDNA

More at Papermag

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