In a business that typically takes pop stars, eats them up, digests them and defecates them as drug-addicted has-beens, Madonna has survived and thrived.
She has balanced her insubordinate side with a drive for perfectionism and high achievement. She has also been a fiercely determined champion of sexual liberation.
1. It’s not about the money
She may be one of the biggest names in music history, but she refuses to be second to anyone. Despite the fact that her sales have plummeted, Madonna remains an icon and the most sought-after female singer of our generation.
Her most recent album, Madame X, is a return to brazen sonic experimentation. But it’s also a failed attempt to capture the zeitgeist she once effortlessly created.
While the songs are incredibly good and the production is top-notch, they’re not able to ignite commercially or build up an audience.
As a result, Madonna is having to work harder than ever in order to stay relevant. Her latest tour, the Rebel Heart tour, has reportedly been plagued with injuries.
But Madonna is not afraid to face the challenges that come with age, because she understands that these challenges will only help her continue to be the best. Her career is proof that rules are made to be broken, and that if she chooses to follow her heart, she can create art that breaks down the barriers that prevent older women from reaching their fullest potential.
2. It’s not about the fame
Having sold more than 80 million albums, starred in countless films and slept with the biggest names in the industry, Madonna is an icon. But the 61-year-old singer has lost touch with her audience, according to insiders.
As a result, she’s taken to posting bizarre Instagram stories that have fans wondering what’s wrong with her. In one post, she appears at a typewriter late at night and mumbles about her existential and physical angst.
Her latest social-media video, which shows her puffy-cheeked, bleary-eyed and with huge lips that seem to grow menacingly as she approaches the camera, has caused plenty of controversy.
But if she’s determined to stay relevant in the 21st century, it doesn’t mean that she needs to be second to anyone. Instead, she’s choosing to live her life the way that she sees fit.
3. It’s not about the power
In her heyday, Madonna was an envelope-pushing provocateur, able to use her sexuality to manipulate the media and public, all while furthering her lucrative brand. But now, with her erratic behavior often mirrored in social media, she appears to be losing touch with her audience.
Her recent disastrous Madame X concert tour and bizarre “Quarantine Diaries” on Instagram are proof of this. She mumbles about her existential angst, shows photos of a gummy bear she uses to ward off hip and knee pain, and claims she misses “interacting with people” after being so focused on her music career for so long.
The singer’s latest venture, to adopt twin girls from Malawi, has drawn criticism from human rights groups, who say it is an illegal act that exploits the country’s weak adoption laws. The singer and her then-husband, director Guy Ritchie, were granted temporary orders by the country’s courts to adopt the girls. The girls were then placed with the couple in Britain.
4. It’s not about the attention
Madonna has been the world’s most famous female singer for more than thirty years, and she refuses to be second to anyone. She’s a tough, savvy business woman who knows how to market herself in an industry that typically takes pop stars, eats them up, digests them and defecates them as drug-addicted has-beens.
Her career is dominated by a long string of scandals and public disputes. She has been accused of body shaming, has lost a savvy guiding hand at her publicist’s desk and has a tumultuous history with Capitol Records.
Her latest album, Rebel Heart, was a hit and sold more than 16 million copies, but the song-writing on it was less witty and insightful than her previous work. Her tour drew criticism for its sloppy staging and off-stage mishaps, and she has been publicly critical of a New York Times profile on her.