Gossip girl’s in Vogue
WHEN Beth Ditto performed Madonna’s Vogue at a fashion event last year she wasn’t expecting it to get back to the pop legend.
Yet Madonna’s manager sent the singer footage of Ditto belting out the song in her underwear.
And she thought it was ‘‘ great’’. She went on to cite Ditto as one of the influences on her latest album MDNA.
Would Beth Ditto, at 13, have believed Madonna would be mentioning her by name?
‘‘ The 13- year- old Beth Ditto would have laid an egg. What am I saying? The 31- year- old Beth Ditto laid an egg. Are you kidding me? I’m already jaded, ‘ Yeah, so Madonna mentioned me’. I couldn’t believe it. Golly.’’
Yet it was another pop institution she turned to for inspiration for the fifth album, A Joyful
Noise, by her band Gossip. Ditto claimed she listened to nothing but ABBA for a year while making the album.
‘‘ It’s, of course, an exaggeration but I got really obsessed with the idea of the perfect song,’’ she says.
‘‘ Not trying to make it, but . . . I cannot believe how perfect every sound, every noise, every lyric [ is].
‘‘ There’s so much going on in ABBA records. Take away three layers and there’s still 90 layers there. It’s like an artichoke.’’
The band started the album with producer Mark Ronson, but sessions ground to a halt.
‘‘ It boils down to the diary. He wasn’t available for the time we needed. Our rule is it takes as much time as it takes and we’ll know what the record sounds like when it’s finished. We work slow. We do what we like, basically, whether it’s good for us or not. We loved Mark, we had fun making music, there just wasn’t enough time, that’s all.’’
Ditto’s father, Homer, died last May, delaying things as she dealt with her grief.
‘‘ It wasn’t easy to get up and go to work every day and sit in the studio and have to make a song. One song we didn’t put on the album I couldn’t even get through without crying. I couldn’t do it for the sake of doing it, I had to do it when it felt right.’’ While Ditto’s autobiography Diamonds to
Coal is still not released (‘‘ I’m not sure what’s happening there but I’ll almost have to write a new book’’) she’s busily preparing for her wedding to girlfriend Kristin next month.
‘‘ We’re getting married in Maui. Everyone’s wearing white. It’ll be really pretty,’’ she said.
‘‘ I’m in an amazing relationship. There’s some heartbreak on this album . . . but I’m happy now.’’