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Scottish musician Malcolm Middleton picked up an unusual Madonna song to cover on his new album. We had a chance to get in touch and chat with him about this new release and asked him how did he came up with the idea of turning Stay into an awesome acoustic ballad..

MadonnaTribe: Hi Malcom and welcome to MadonnaTribe. On your new album, Sleight of Heart, released on March 3, you have included a cover of a vintage Madonna song: Stay, that originally appeared on her Like a Virgin album.
Why did you choose that particular song, which is probably only well known among die hard fans?


Malcolm Middleton: I chose Stay because it's always been one of my favourites. I got the Like A Virgin album when I was 10 years old and I remember being completely enamoured by the vinyl artwork, lyrics, songs, and of course the beautiful woman on the sleeve. I only had about 2 albums at the time so I doubt if since then I've ever paid more attention to a single lp.

Although I haven't been down the whole path of her career/life since then, there is something magical about her first two albums. Those records filled me with an alien longing and despair, worry at the mystery of the adult life that was ahead of me. Sadness as some part of me knew that embracing these new feelings would hasten the death of my childhood and everything that was safe.

It seems that in those days a good album would become a close friend and there was magic involved. There was no internet and not much music press so you had to use your imagination. I think I was definitely in love with her for a while. I cried when I saw her with all those guys in the Material Girl video!

MT: How did you re-invent the song and what inspired you to go for a completely different way with it?

MM: I haven't tried to re-create the original, which is very "of it's time" musically. I worked out the chords and then just relaxed and started playing along until I found a rhythm that suited my voice and style. My version is slower and a little bit sadder.

MT: Madonna herself wrote the lyrics of Stay. She wrote this song before recording her first album and is about asking a loved one not to leave. Did you find yourself in a similar situation?


MM: I think we've all been in this position, which is the beauty of the song, and also part of the mass appeal of pop songs. I didn't realise that she'd written the lyrics, that's great, I feel much closer to her now.

MT: Do you consider yourself a Madonna fan? and if you do, in which way you think Madonna has influenced you as an artist?

MM: She's a very fluid artist which I admire. Musically though we operate in two different worlds, Madonna in the mainstream and myself quite far over to the left.
She's definitely influenced me, instilled me with a sense for pop melody and composition. You wouldn't want to see me dance though...

MT: On your new album besides Madonna's Stay you also cover other two songs. Just Like Anything originally by Jackson C. Frank and Marguerita Red originally by King Creosote. Are you usually fascinated by doing covers and what's your approach to them?


MM: It's not something I normally do, but for this album I wanted to sit back from production a bit and just enjoy recording music in a simple way. I was worried about recording songs that are so dear to me but I knew it wasn't about trying to compete or better them.

It was more about showing appreciation and respect for people that have written songs that have comforted me when I was in need. Songs that have given me something.

MT: Last Chistmas you had good chances to get a your first number one single in the UK.
Are you a bit disappointed you didn't get it in the end?

MM: Nah, it was just a bit of a laugh.Number 31's not bad for a song about the inevitability of death!

MT: You've named your new album Sleight of Heart.
Why did you choose that title?

MM: Sleight of hand is obviously about magic, illusion and trickery. I just wanted to use this idea within the context of love and the every day stuff that happens to us.

MT: Your music has reached a lot of people in 2007 how do you see 2008 and what are your hopes for the new year?


MM: I'm quite hopeful about it. I am however incredibly cynical about the music industry and am quite bored with music. Over-saturation is everywhere. For my next album I want to rip out the heart of the Universe and stick it on a plate. All the good people should be rewarded, and all the mean, evil, nasty people should be held to account and shamed in public! Maybe I'll write a musical.

MT: Thanks for being with us Malcolm, all the best for everything coming up!


Malcolm's portraits are courtesy of his official website,
Catch him on MySpace at
This interview © 2008 Madonna Tribe.


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