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Guy Sigsworth on working with Madonna


Msig
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How did you approach working with someone the stature of Madonna when you collaborated on What It Feels Like for a Girl?

"That song was quite an unusual situation. I sent Madonna a backing track, which already had the spoken word bit in and then she wrote a vocal to it. At the start of our meeting together she sang me her guide vocal, which I thought was great. There was just one thing, in that it worked perfectly against the chorus but it was a little odd against the verse.'

"Madonna said she wanted the music adjusted to better fit her melody so I moved a bar to bring it in line with the verse and she said she thought was too simple. She wanted to use the sounds that were already there so there was no question of overdubbing things so what I did was to create the arrangement by basically just chopping up and re-positioning sounds that were already in the mix in different positions around her vocal to create the verse.

"That was a wonderful challenge because I stuck with what I'd brought on the demo, obviously Spike (*co-producer Mark 'Spike' Stent) made sure it sounded even better but we never went into opening up a load of new synths or samplers to find new sounds. It was just 'where do we place the sounds we have to make the verse work?' It was a problem but in a way it was brilliant in the way she imposed a restriction on it that made us be more creative."

So, restrictions aren't always a bad thing in production?

"Exactly. I'm not a minimalist but some of my best productions are ones where I had some kind of idea in mind of what it was going to be like right from the start, or at least very early on. I'm not claiming that I heard every hi-hat of a final mix but it's like there was a particular vision that I was working towards. Those productions tend to come out better than the ones where I'm just trying things out to see what works. Maybe that's because there's such infinity of possibilities these days that you can drown in it."

Read the full interview at musicradar.com

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I LOVE reading producers's interviews about their work with Madonna. All of them are constantly talking about how implicated she is in the music process and how talented she is.

Yes it's fascinating to hear how creative she is in the studio. She doesn't get anywhere near the credit she due.

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And y'all know what this means, when Madonna 'reduces' her producer 2 a sound engineer:

she is THE PRODUCER.

& so it is written....

:fag:

The END.

I LOVE reading producers's interviews about their work with Madonna. All of them are constantly talking about how implicated she is in the music process and how talented she is.

Yes it's fascinating to hear how creative she is in the studio. She doesn't get anywhere near the credit she due.

THANK YOU.

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The production on this song is so good, and hearing that Madonna forced Guy to fit it around her melody for the verses shows why it's so effortlessly cohesive with the lyrics. They don't fight against each other, all is slotted into its right nook. I LOVE THIS SONG.

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Yes it's fascinating to hear how creative she is in the studio. She doesn't get anywhere near the credit she due.

Exactly. Madonna is EXTREMELY underrated as a songwriter, so many people still think her producers do all the work. You have lesser popstars like Gaga who are constantly credited as "writing their own music" yet Madonna doesn't get any credit. It's really annoying.

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How did you approach working with someone the stature of Madonna when you collaborated on What It Feels Like for a Girl?

"That song was quite an unusual situation. I sent Madonna a backing track, which already had the spoken word bit in and then she wrote a vocal to it. At the start of our meeting together she sang me her guide vocal, which I thought was great. There was just one thing, in that it worked perfectly against the chorus but it was a little odd against the verse.'

"Madonna said she wanted the music adjusted to better fit her melody so I moved a bar to bring it in line with the verse and she said she thought was too simple. She wanted to use the sounds that were already there so there was no question of overdubbing things so what I did was to create the arrangement by basically just chopping up and re-positioning sounds that were already in the mix in different positions around her vocal to create the verse.

"That was a wonderful challenge because I stuck with what I'd brought on the demo, obviously Spike (*co-producer Mark 'Spike' Stent) made sure it sounded even better but we never went into opening up a load of new synths or samplers to find new sounds. It was just 'where do we place the sounds we have to make the verse work?' It was a problem but in a way it was brilliant in the way she imposed a restriction on it that made us be more creative."

So, restrictions aren't always a bad thing in production?

"Exactly. I'm not a minimalist but some of my best productions are ones where I had some kind of idea in mind of what it was going to be like right from the start, or at least very early on. I'm not claiming that I heard every hi-hat of a final mix but it's like there was a particular vision that I was working towards. Those productions tend to come out better than the ones where I'm just trying things out to see what works. Maybe that's because there's such infinity of possibilities these days that you can drown in it."

Read the full interview at musicradar.com

Thoroughly loved it

Thanks for sharing !

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Guest Pud Whacker

And y'all know what this means, when Madonna 'reduces' her producer 2 a sound engineer:

she is THE PRODUCER.

& so it is written....

:fag:

The END.

:rotfl:

:thumbsup:

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Exactly. Madonna is EXTREMELY underrated as a songwriter, so many people still think her producers do all the work. You have lesser popstars like Gaga who are constantly credited as "writing their own music" yet Madonna doesn't get any credit. It's really annoying.

Well, Madonna has the power to get out of any record company and do whatever she pleases. And that's because she is the songwriter and the ultimate producer. If she's lasted this long is precisely because of that. Imagine she had had to rely on Warner for an album in 1996? She wouldn't have produced ROL! And after ROL, she wouldn't have relased Music. She could reinvent herself because she didn't had to buy tracks!

The RESULTS are far more important than what some stupid reporter says in Billboard.

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Madonna has musical instincts. Something that money can't buy.

I think that's the most interesting thing about Madonna and her music. She doesn't play lots of instruments and things like that but she has everything planned on her head. Lots of the producers talk about "She has a melody on her head" "She wants this to sound this way" and things like that.

It's all instinct and she knows how to translate it into words to make people do what she has on her mind. I think this is the real difficult thing. I mean, I guess is easy when you play all kind of instruments to say "This is what I want". But to "write a song" just using your head and create so many hits just with that is simply incredible.

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I think that's the most interesting thing about Madonna and her music. She doesn't play lots of instruments and things like that but she has everything planned on her head. Lots of the producers talk about "She has a melody on her head" "She wants this to sound this way" and things like that.

It's all instinct and she knows how to translate it into words to make people do what she has on her mind. I think this is the real difficult thing. I mean, I guess is easy when you play all kind of instruments to say "This is what I want". But to "write a song" just using your head and create so many hits just with that is simply incredible.

the funny thing is, she actually can play quite a few instruments, just none particularly well and she's certainly not an instrumentalist. But across her recording career she's played keyboards, synths, drums, guitar, banjo, cowbell :dead: and she is listed in several liner notes as a composer/arranger.

But her skills as a writer and an instinctive creator totally outstrip any talent in the aforementioned areas. I think the press/publics general desire to put her down means that her talents get totally denied and overlooked. It's ridiculous that some people who can write a half decent song and play a piano well get hailed as a saving grace. Some people seem to need things spelled out to them, which M has no time for.

I do wonder though if it bothers her that people think of her as some sort of puppet for songwriters and producers.

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the funny thing is, she actually can play quite a few instruments, just none particularly well and she's certainly not an instrumentalist. But across her recording career she's played keyboards, synths, drums, guitar, banjo, cowbell :dead: and she is listed in several liner notes as a composer/arranger.

But her skills as a writer and an instinctive creator totally outstrip any talent in the aforementioned areas. I think the press/publics general desire to put her down means that her talents get totally denied and overlooked. It's ridiculous that some people who can write a half decent song and play a piano well get hailed as a saving grace. Some people seem to need things spelled out to them, which M has no time for.

I do wonder though if it bothers her that people think of her as some sort of puppet for songwriters and producers.

I know what you mean but, on the other hand, Madonna could talk more about her musical involvement if she chose but I think she knows that, to the wider public, it's not really that interesting. Years ago she said something like she found it really boring when musicians talk about their 'art' and take themselves too seriously. I can imagine she likes to leave some mystery about what she actually does rather than explain everything in detail.

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I do wonder though if it bothers her that people think of her as some sort of puppet for songwriters and producers.

Idk, she has always credited people for their work and always lets her collaborators shine, even on stage. And she never goes on about how SHE ALONE (unlike a certain flop star) did this or that. That's what I like about her. But it bothers ME (even though it shouldn't, lol) that people won't give her enough credit for her work.

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Madonna said back in 1989 that the credits appeared on the records, so she didn't feel the need to point this out to people who didn't bother reading them. Even today, people will highlight that "Madonna didn't write her biggest hits" and quote "Holiday", "Borderline", "Like A Virgin", "Material Girl", "Crazy For You" and "Papa Don't Preach" to prove their argument. Forget everything else that she's written over the past 32 years!

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Madonna said back in 1989 that the credits appeared on the records, so she didn't feel the need to point this out to people who didn't bother reading them. Even today, people will highlight that "Madonna didn't write her biggest hits" and quote "Holiday", "Borderline", "Like A Virgin", "Material Girl", "Crazy For You" and "Papa Don't Preach" to prove their argument. Forget everything else that she's written over the past 32 years!

Carta, this bugs me too. Even some of her fans talk like this. Truly baffles me why they do this as it is just another way to try to put her down. When people won't acknowledge the fantastic songs she has written and co-written over the years, they are doing Madonna a massive injustice and down-playing her talent and artistry.

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Carta, this bugs me too. Even some of her fans talk like this. Truly baffles me why they do this as it is just another way to try to put her down. When people won't acknowledge the fantastic songs she has written and co-written over the years, they are doing Madonna a massive injustice and down-playing her talent and artistry.

It's incredibly frustrating! There's a belief among many of her fans that she's prone to simply changing a word here and there and then claiming a 50% share of the songwriting credits. When her own fans claim that she's not as involved in the songwriting process as documented evidence would suggest, how are the general public or her detractors supposed to believe that she's any more than just an entertainer who profits from the creativity of others, while having little to offer herself?

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the funny thing is, she actually can play quite a few instruments, just none particularly well and she's certainly not an instrumentalist. But across her recording career she's played keyboards, synths, drums, guitar, banjo, cowbell :dead: and she is listed in several liner notes as a composer/arranger.

But her skills as a writer and an instinctive creator totally outstrip any talent in the aforementioned areas. I think the press/publics general desire to put her down means that her talents get totally denied and overlooked. It's ridiculous that some people who can write a half decent song and play a piano well get hailed as a saving grace. Some people seem to need things spelled out to them, which M has no time for.

I do wonder though if it bothers her that people think of her as some sort of puppet for songwriters and producers.

:clap::clap:

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It's incredibly frustrating! There's a belief among many of her fans that she's prone to simply changing a word here and there and then claiming a 50% share of the songwriting credits. When her own fans claim that she's not as involved in the songwriting process as documented evidence would suggest, how are the general public or her detractors supposed to believe that she's any more than just an entertainer who profits from the creativity of others, while have little to offer herself?

I do wonder about some of these folks...

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Idk, she has always credited people for their work and always lets her collaborators shine, even on stage. And she never goes on about how SHE ALONE (unlike a certain flop star) did this or that. That's what I like about her. But it bothers ME (even though it shouldn't, lol) that people won't give her enough credit for her work.

Carta, this bugs me too. Even some of her fans talk like this. Truly baffles me why they do this as it is just another way to try to put her down. When people won't acknowledge the fantastic songs she has written and co-written over the years, they are doing Madonna a massive injustice and down-playing her talent and artistry.

ha...like all these other popular music acts write all their own hits either.

The double standards this woman has to deal with in terms of criticism is infuriating.

It's incredibly frustrating! There's a belief among many of her fans that she's prone to simply changing a word here and there and then claiming a 50% share of the songwriting credits. When her own fans claim that she's not as involved in the songwriting process as documented evidence would suggest, how are the general public or her detractors supposed to believe that she's any more than just an entertainer who profits from the creativity of others, while having little to offer herself?

TOTALLY AGREE WITH ALL OF THIS :clap: :clap: :clap:

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I always say a fine example of good songwriting is Don't Tell Me.

Yes, the lyrics r Joe Henry...but her melody is LIFE.

Madonna's explicit TALENTS = MELODY AND PRODUCTION.

I remember having a discussion a very long time ago with someone who claimed that the melodies of "Stop" and DTM were "practically identical - Madonna just covered Joe's song!" :huh: Unbelievable....

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