Women's Impact Report: Defying Convention

After setting the standard for pop multihyphenates 25 years ago, Madonna continues to break the mold as she nears the half-century point.

Last fall she parted with Warner Bros. Records, the label that launched her, and transferred her entire music franchise to Live Nation, her concert promoter, in a lucrative deal that was the first of its kind. In a 10-year pact worth $120 million, Live Nation would not only continue to handle Madge’s tours, but her albums as well.

Or as she sings so aptly on her new album “Hard Candy,” “I’ll be your one-stop Candy Shop.”

Since linking up with Madonna, Live Nation has made $400 million from her performances and has already sold out more than 90% of this year’s “Sticky and Sweet” tour.

A style icon, the erstwhile Material Girl also continues to catch her critics and fans off guard. For example, a recent New York Times piece knocked the singer for not touting a “breakout Madonna look” in her public appearances nor on her album cover where she dons a leather “American Gladiator” get-up.

No matter. With “Hard Candy,” Madonna secured her seventh No. 1 album, with a first week’s sales figure of 280,000 copies. Featuring collaborations with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, “Candy” has Madonna’s standard urban disco sound laced with hip-hop flourishes. Reviews have been positive, with the Times exclaiming that ” ‘Candy’ is devoted to the instant gratification of a musical sweet tooth.”

On the opposite side of the Madonna franchise lies her recent film credits as a producer with the Malawi AIDS doc “I Am Because We Are” and with her helming debut on “Filth and Wisdom” about the fringe lives of three London flatmates. “Filth” has yet to find a U.S. distrib, however, while “I Am” will receive a run on the Sundance Channel.

Age hasn’t fazed Madonna, it’s only made her more determined. Columnist Liz Smith recently witnessed the singer’s stamina during a dance rehearsal for the “Sticky” tour:

“Watching this star go through her paces, she seems not to have a care in the world,” says Smith, “except to perfect her show.”

Career mantra: “My career mantra and personal mantra are the same: Don’t let anyone tell you your dreams can’t come true.”

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