Madonna is a multi-faceted artist and social activist, no stranger to controversy, but who has always been true to the image that she created as a teenager and young performer.
As a singer, songwriter, actress and astute businesswoman, Madonna has been referred to as the “Queen of Pop” since her debut as an artist in the 1980s. She has pushed boundaries both in her lyrics, music and visual performances and has no problem with changing directions whilst maintaining her dominance in the music industry. She has delighted and frustrated music critics, but has often been credited by other artists as an influential force in their own music.
The songs that Madonna has written and produced, are evidence of that influence and popularity with her fans. Many have topped the charts such as “Like a Virgin”, “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Frozen”. Her music career was just one area where she excelled, taking on lead roles in critically acclaimed films such as Desperately Seeking Susan and Evita. For her role as Eva Peron, Madonna was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actress.
As a business woman, she founded her own entertainment company Maverick including a record label in 1992. She has also ventured into fashion design, health clubs and film-making. Madonna is also the author of a series of children’s books, including the latest released in December. The English Roses.
Now William will pick up the story in 2008 and bring us up to the present day in Madonna’s story.
“4 Minutes” is from her eleventh studio album “Hard Candy” (2008), featuring vocals by American singers Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. It was released as the lead single from the album on March 17, 2008. According to Madonna, the song (which was initially called “4 Minutes to Save the World”) is about saving the environment and “having a good time while we are doing it”. She also cited the song as the inspiration for the documentary “I Am Because We Are” (2008).
“4 Minutes” received positive reviews from critics, who called it a busy dance track and complimented its music, which was compared to that of a marching band. Some reviewers noted that it was Madonna who appeared more of a featured artist on the track, rather than Timberlake. The song peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100, giving Madonna her 37th top-ten single, breaking the record previously held by Elvis Presley, as the artist with the most top-ten hits. It remains Madonna’s best-selling digital single in the United States, with sales of over three million copies. Internationally, “4 Minutes” topped the chart in 21 countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
In the song’s video, Madonna and Timberlake sing and run away from a giant black screen that devours everything in its path. At the end of the video, both of them are consumed by the screen. “4 Minutes” was performed by Madonna on the promotional tour for “Hard Candy” and the 2008–09 “Sticky & Sweet Tour” where the song served as the opener of the *rave segment, where Madonna wore a futuristic robotic outfit. During performances of the song, Timberlake and Timbaland appeared on video screens and sang their lines. The song received two Grammy Award nominations for “Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals” and “Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical” at the 2009 ceremony.
*rave – A rave is a large dance party at a nightclub, dance club or festival featuring performances by DJs, who select and mix a seamless flow of loud electronic dance music songs and tracks.
“Celebration” is the third greatest hits album by Madonna, and the final release under her contract with Warner Bros. Records, her record company since 1982. The release follows her two previous greatest hits albums, “The Immaculate Collection” (1990) and GHV2 (2001). The single “Celebration” was released as the first single of the album. It became Madonna’s 40th number-one song on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs chart.
Rob Sheffield from “Rolling Stone” noted that “Celebration kicks off with pure bliss and never lets up. It’s a dizzying, non chronological spin through the Madonna years, years it makes you feel lucky to be living through. Her hit making genius is unmatched and undiminished.” Joey Guerra from the “Houston Chronicle” praised the album saying “every song on “Celebration” defines a moment in time, a radio sing-along, a twirl under the glitterball. It’s a pulsing testament to Madonna’s often-overlooked pop prowess”.
“Masterpiece,” composed by Madonna, Julie Frost, and Jimmy Harry and produced by Madonna and William Orbit is a mid tempo pop ballad which is reminiscent of Madonna’s works from the 1990s and written for the soundtrack of the 2011 film “W.E.” “W.E.” is a 2011 British historical romantic drama film co-written and directed by Madonna and stars Abbie Cornish, Andfea Riseborough, Oscar Isaac, Richard Coyle, and James D’Arcy. The song was later included on her twelfth studio album MDNA (2012). The song garnered positive reviews from contemporary critics, who praised its lyrical content and Madonna’s vocal performance.
On January 15, 2012, “Masterpiece” won the “Best Original Song” category at the 69th Golden Globe Awards. Its nomination sparked rivalrous comments on the red carpet from fellow singer Elton John, whose song “Hello, Hello” from “Gnomeo & Juliet”was also nominated in the category. John told host Carson Daly that Madonna “hasn’t got a fucking chance” of winning the award. When Madonna later had her red carpet interview with Daly, she took swipes at John’s masculinity first, asking about his wardrobe: “Was he wearing a dress?” and after being informed of his comments stating, “May the best man win.”
“Masterpiece” was ineligible for the “Best Original Song” category at the 84th Academy Awards, since it was not “used either in the body of the film, or as the ‘first music cue’ in the closing credits (i.e. the first song that plays once the screen fades to black).” It was used too late in the film credits to be eligible. “Masterpiece” was also nominated for “Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film” at the 2012 “World Soundtrack Awards,” but lost to Albert Nobbs’ theme “Lay Your Head Down” by Brian Byrne and Glen Close.
“Turn Up the Radio” is from Madonna’s twelfth studio album, MDNA (2012). It was written by Madonna, Martin Solveig, Michael Tordjman and Jade Williams, and produced by Madonna and Solveig. The song was released as the fourth and final single from the album on June 29, 2012. “Turn Up the Radio” received generally positive reviews from music critics, most of whom deemed it as an album standout and complimented its production. Some reviewers believed that the song should have been the lead single from the album.
In the United States, “Turn Up the Radio” debuted at number 39 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart, and reached number 19 the following week, earning the title of “Greatest Gainer”. In its third week, the song once again earned the title of “Greatest Gainer” and reached number eight. It was Madonna’s 57th top-ten song on the chart, and her 28th top-ten in a row, starting from “Beautiful Stranger” in 1999. It was the sixth song in the history of Hot Dance Club Songs to jump into the chart’s top-ten in its third week. However, “Turn Up the Radio” had minor placements in other nations, peaking at number 175 on the UK Singles Chart.
The video was shot in Italy, and directed by Tom Munro. It shows Madonna escaping the paparazzi on the back of a convertible. She travels throughout the city and the Italian countryside, while picking up men from the roadside and having a party on the car. The video received general acclaim from critics, who commended the simplicity of the video and labeled it as Madonna’s most fun video in years.
At the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, Madonna won three trophies for Top Touring Artist, Top Dance Artist and Top Dance Album. Madonna was named the top-earning celebrity of the year by Forbes. Madonna’s fourth live album, “MDNA World Tour,” was released in September 2013. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Top Music Videos chart, becoming her tenth release to top the chart—the most for any artist.
By 2013, Madonna’s “Raising Malawi” organization built ten schools to educate 4,000 children in Malawi at a value of $400,000.
“Devil Pray,” a techno pop song, which combines elements of country-pop and folk, was written and produced by Madonna, Avicii, DJ Dahi, and Michael Diamonds, with additional writing by Arash Pournouri, Carl Falk, Rami Yacoub, and Savan Kotecha for her thirteenth studio album, “Rebel Heart” (2015). “Devil Pray” was composed after Madonna desired to talk about her experiences with drugs and quest for spirituality. Lyrically, the song deals with themes of drug addiction, sin, temptation, and the desire for salvation. “Devil Pray” received mostly positive response from music critics. While noting that the song “reaches back smartly, not only to the hoe-down pop of (her single) “Don’t Tell Me,” but to the subject matter, and bluesy gait of “The House of the Rising Sun.”
“Rolling Stone” published an article in which Madonna advocated “intense personal exploration” over drug use. While being asked if “Devil Pray” could run the risk of being misunderstood as a song encouraging drugs, Madonna replied: “I’m certainly not judging people who take drugs or saying ‘don’t do drugs’, however, I’m saying you can do all of these things to connect to a higher level, but ultimately you’re going to be lost. People who are getting high are instinctively also trying to connect to a higher level of consciousness, but are doing it in a way that will not sustain them.”
Sasha Geffen of “Consequences of Sound” considered “Devil Pray” as “one of Madonna’s best releases in years and its chorus as one of her strongest in decades. “The New York Times” also shared this view, noting that the song “showcases some of Madonna’s best singing in years.”
Read the reviews and buy the music of Madonna: https://www.amazon.com/Madonna/e/B000APIQE2
All Madonna’s books can be bought here: https://www.amazon.com/Madonna/e/B018GACIKA
Find out news and tour dates: http://www.madonna.com/
More information and sources:Wikipedia Madonna
About William Price King
William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.
His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.
While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.
His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.
In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.
William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION – https://williampriceking.tumblr.com
Connect with William
Website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – https://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
You can find previous artists featured in these two links
Jazz, Classical and Contemporary: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-contemporary-classical-and-legends/
And the Music Column: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/
Thanks to William for his wonderful contributions and to you for dropping in today.
See you next week for a new series on the life and music of Johnny Mathis.