Today in Madonna History: February 24, 1999

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On February 24 1999, Madonna performed Nothing Really Matters at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards. Madonna also took home 4 Grammies:

  • Best Pop Album – David Reitzas, Jon Ingoldsby, Pat McCarthy (engineers/mixers), William Orbit (producer) and Madonna (producer & artist) for Ray Of Light
  • Best Dance Recording – Pat McCarthy (mixer), William Orbit (producer) and Madonna (producer & artist) for Ray of Light
  • Best Short Form Music Video – Jonas Åkerlund (video director) and Madonna for Ray of Light
  • Best Recording Package – Kevin Reagan (art director) for Ray of Light performed by Madonna

Today in Madonna History: February 4, 2003

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On February 4 2003, filming for Madonna’s music video for American Life took place in Los Angeles with director Jonas Åkerlund.

The casting call issued for the video sought the following:

Eastern European Man (30 – 60 yrs. old, Real people, THIN, interesting looking, great face, worn out looking, craggy). 4 Beautiful Models (drop dead gorgeous w. amazing legs and bodies). 10 soldiers (must have long hair and be willing to shave it for the video… good-looking, really good body). Hair stylist (male or female, any ethnicity, must be real hair stylists, think editorial type. Stylist (male or female, any ethnicity, 20’s, cool and interesting looking, think N.Y. 2 Babes (very voluptuous and buxom, bimbo types, b pin-up girls). Makeup artists (m or f, any ethnicity, a REAL makeup artist). 2 IRAQI kids (boys and girls, 4 – 7 yrs. old). African-American Male (35 – 50, THIN).

Åkerlund commented on the upcoming video to Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet:

“It’s great that Madonna gives me the trust to do this video. The song is super cool and aimed for the dance floors. I especially love that she gives me the trust to do the first single from the new album. There is a special feeling and ambition around the first single and a hell of lot of secrets. I had to sign a paper even before I got to listen to the song! The shooting will take 3 days.”

Today in Madonna History: April 5, 2003

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On April 5 2003, an Australian interview aired that demonstrated Madonna’s quick change of heart regarding the American Life music video.

During the interview with Richard Wilkins, the following dialog takes place:

Wilkins: “You’re going to get all sorts of criticism I think.”

Madonna: “Why. Tell me why!”

W: “People are going to say it’s inappropriate to show bombs going off and planes bombing people.”

M: “Why? That’s on the news every five minutes! I’m just using news footage that’s already been seen by everyone.”

W: “I’m suggesting that some people are going to think maybe it’s ill-timed.”

M: “But in a way it’s perfect timing, because it’s what we are experiencing right now – so, it’s American life. It’s very current and appropriate I think.”

Wilkins may have convinced Madonna to go cold on the idea.

“Maybe I did, perhaps I caused her to think again,” he said. “She is very proud of the video, as she should be because it’s incredible.”

By the time the interview aired (a week later), Madonna had already pulled the American Life video and made a statement regarding her choice.

You can read the statement and watch the full music video here.

Today In Madonna History: March 17, 1999

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On March 17 1999, Madonna won Best Dance Artist – Solo and Best Dance Video (Ray Of Light) at the 14th annual International Dance Music Awards at the Winter Music Conference in Miami, Florida.

Today in Madonna History: January 26, 2007

On January 26, 2007, Madonna’s second live album, The Confessions Tour was released by Warner Bros. Records.  It was recorded at Wembley Arena in London, and was released in both CD and DVD formats.  The DVD was directed by Jonas Åkerlund.

Today in Madonna History: September 10, 1998

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On September 10 1998, Madonna performed Shanti/Ashtangi and Ray Of Light at the 15th annual MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, California.  Ray Of Light won Best Video, Best Female Video, Best Direction (Jonas Åkerlund), Best Choreography, Best Editing and Frozen won Best Special Effects.

Today in Madonna History: June 12, 2015

On June 12 2015, Madonna’s Bitch I’m Madonna music video teaser premiered.

The video was shot in New York City at the Standard Hotel and was directed by long-time fan-favourite director, Jonas Åkerlund.

Jonas explained how the video evolved:

Madonna called me about Ghosttown. We hadn’t worked for a while because of different circumstances so when I heard all the songs Rebel Heart, I was very excited about Ghosttown. I connected to it creatively. And, yeah, we enjoyed working together. I was supposed to start something else right after and that got pushed and she asked me to do Bitch I’m Madonna. I saw it being so completely different from Ghosttown, something a little bit less serious, just fun and crazy.

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