As she sat down with producer Martin Solveig to whip up tunes for her latest studio album, when it came time to bring more feistiness to the already-sassy album, she knew the only two artists who could perfectly compliment her were Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. (Maya Arulpragasam). Solveig explained to MTV News how the twosome came to appear alongside Madge on the album’s lead single, “Give Me All Your Luvin.”
“I had this idea of just creating this sort of mini-gimmick that you could very easily use in the stadium or arena,” he said of the cheerleader-inspired chant in the song. “And so I thought of that, which was very basic. … That was the start.
“In the first place, it was just the intro, and then it became a bit more of a gimmick, and she liked it, and so she thought, ’We should have sidekicks to perform with me on the this.’ … She thought of very naturally Nicki and Maya to perform this because they are badass girls.
“I was very surprised [it was the first single], and then it made it totally sense with her Super Bowl [performance] because, yes, it was definitely the Super Bowl song. And when we started, it was definitely not the case,” he explained. “We wanted to do something like this. It was a little surf-y. Then I guess when the Super Bowl was confirmed, they thought it would work for that, and I think it did.”
Solveig broke down the recording sessions he and the ladies had for not only “Give Me,” but also the scathing “I Don’t Give A,” which features Nicki, and the funky “B-Day Song,” which has M.I.A.
“We were the studio both one day with Nicki and two days with Maya,” he said. “They have both very strong personalities and very different. Nicki’s very pro. She’s like, once she arrives and she spends some time, she writes, seriously, her stuff and then she records very quickly, and she’s like bang.
“And with Maya, she’s a bit more arty,” he said. “I didn’t see them together. I would have loved to witness this. Definitely, [Madonna] was definitely the perfect [middle].”
The “I Don’t Give A” collaboration got a lot of press, thanks to its seemingly overt reference to Madonna’s life and her split from director Guy Ritchie.
“A few days after I finalized the song, she finished the lyrics of ’I Don’t Give A,’ and I could feel there was a lot of references to her life,” he said. “Nothing that I really know of, because you don’t know that kind of stuff, but then I saw it was very commented everywhere.”
In the end, when it’s all said and done, Solveig noted that working with Madge was pretty awesome. “I got a call last year from [her manager] Guy Oseary, and he wanted to know if I was in town working, and that was the phone call of a lifetime when you’re a producer, when you heard all the legend and all the story. So I took the next plane and went to meet with Madonna, and I quickly got to work.
“In the first place, it’s very confus[ing] because everything that’s all together, you have a very kind person in front of you, [and] you’re like, ’Can you imagine who you’re talking to?’ and she’s very natural,” he continued. “She’s very easy-going, so you tend to forget it. But, of course, the first time, it’s crazy.”