Madonna drops new song ‘Medellin’
Motown Records founder Berry Gordy looked out at the audience at a 60th anniversary tribute to his groundbreaking record label and saw his dream of making music for “all people” in the world fulfilled.
Gordy told the packed Microsoft Theater at the “Motown 60: A GRAMMY Celebration” that he wanted his label to bring people together from all walks of life through “a legacy of love”. The pre-taped concert, hosted by Smokey Robinson and Cedric the Entertainer, with an all-star lineup including Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Diana Ross, Meghan Trainor and Tori Kelly, airs Sunday on CBS.
“My dream came true,” said Gordy, who started the African American label in 1959, building a roster that included superstar artists such as Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, The Temptations, The Supremes and Diana Ross.
“I want to thank all of you fans, and your parents, and their grandparents. All around the world. I could say their great grandparents, but that would make me older than I want to be.”
When Gordy launched Motown, he gave black musicians the platform to showcase their talents at a time when they struggled to get their records played on mainstream radio stations. His label introduced and helped launch the careers some of the biggest selling music stars from Gaye to Lionel Richie.
His label paved a way for the Motown Museum to be built in Detroit. It was the first headquarters of Gordy’s music empire where Wonder, The Supremes, the Miracles and other performers recorded hits before Motown moved to California in 1972.
“We didn’t even realize the impact of Motown,” said Gordy, who started the label with an $800 loan from his family. “In those early days, the unsung heroes had the courage to follow me down a road that didn’t even exist.”
Some of Motown’s greatest hits were put on display during the concert, which was taped in February.
Ciara danced onstage sporting a Rick James-like braided wig with beads during her rendition of “Give It to Me Baby”. Legend crooned while playing the piano during a cover of Gaye’s “Mercy Me” and Ne-Yo sang The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There”.
“His music set the standard for those following him,” Legend said of Gaye.
Ross, who was once signed to Motown as lead singer of The Supremes, brought attendees to their feet when she opened her set singing to Gordy while sitting next to him. After singing a couple of songs onstage, she returned back to Gordy and sang “My Man”.
“This is your legacy,” Ross told Gordy. “I want you to know that you have been a gift to all of us.”
Trainor, Kelly, Fantasia, Chloe x Halle, Thelma Houston, and Martha Reeves also took turns in a “Women of Motown” medley.
Other highlights included the Cedric the Entertainer’s “First Four Bars” segment. The house band played several Motown hits and random audience members grabbed the microphone and sang the openings to songs like “My Girl”, ‘’Super Freak”, ‘’I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.
LOS ANGELES: Madonna today dropped “Medellin”, the first single from her forthcoming album, “Madame X”. The song is a collaboration with Colombian singer Maluma and is named after that country’s city of Medellin, formerly the home base of narco-terrorist Pablo Escobar, but now a peaceful and thriving metropolis.
While a song that begins with a cha-cha count-in and the lyric “I took a pill” sounds like it should be a dance-floor rager, it’s actually the unexpectedly low-key return of Madonna, who today dropped “Medellin”, the first single from her forthcoming album “Madame X”. A collaboration with Colombian singer Maluma – himself a native of the country’s mountain city – and her longtime collaborator Mirwais, the song combines a sing-song melody with a reggaeton-inflected, shuffing beat; she and Maluma pair trade off flirty verses in Spanish throughout the song.
While she pronounces the city’s name correctly (“meh-deh-zheen”), to her discredit she needlessly references the city’s violent past – it was the home base of drug cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar – in the lyrics: “We built a cartel just for love/ Venus was hovering above us.” Visitors to the city will know that it’s one of the last things residents want to talk about (unless they’re leading one of the tourist-baiting “Narco-terrorism tours”).
The song stretches on for nearly five minutes, stretching out toward the end with an extended instrumental bit designed for some low-key dancing. While produced by Mirwais, the song recalls Madonna’s previous Latin-inflected work with producer/songwriter Diplo.
The rest of the lyrics are more impressionist and romantic, and the city is only mentioned incidentally. “I took a pill and had a dream/ I went back to my seventeenth year, allowed myself to be naive, to be someone I’ve never been,” she sings on the song’s opening verses. “I took a sip and had a dream/ And I woke up in Medellin.”
And while the song may not be the dance-floor-filling that fans might be hoping for, it’s a sultry and promising introduction to Madonna’s latest era. (Agencies)
On April 24 at 4 pm ET, MTV will broadcast “MTV Presents Madonna Live & Exclusive: ‘Medellin’ Video World Premiere”, where she will join British DJ Trevor Nelson and fans live from London for a conversation about the influences of her new album. “Medellin” collaborator and global Latin superstar Maluma will join live from Miami. Madonna will also take questions during the global event via satellite from MTV’s Sway Calloway and fans in New York City, with additional MTV-hosted events in Milan (hosted by MTV Italy “Riccanza” star Tommaso Zorzi) and Sao Paulo (hosted by Brazilian entertainer Hugo Gloss). (Agencies)
By Jonathan Landrum Jr