Madonna premiered the video for “Medellín,” her latest single with Colombian pop darling Maluma, on Wednesday via live telecast on MTV. This is her first new single since 2015’s “Iconic,” featuring Chance the Rapper and Mike Tyson.
It’s only fitting that she chose to premiere the clip on the network — her lifeline over the course of her nearly four-decade pop career — which was followed by an interview with Trevor Nelson at MTV Studios in London. The video begins with a chilling monologue from Madonna, who genuflects inside a chapel, clutching a rosary. “How could I trust anyone after years of disappointment and betrayal?” she whispers.
“I will never be what society expects me to be,” she whispers. “I have seen too much… I cannot turn back. I have been kidnapped, tortured, humiliated and abused. But I still have hope. I still believe in the goodness of humans. Thank god for nature. For the angels that surround me. For the spirit of my mother, who is always protecting. From now on, I am Madame X. And Madame X loves to dance… Because you cannot hit a moving target.”
Cut to Madonna’s Madame X — a raven-haired dance teacher-turned-domme — who is promptly swept off her feet by her student, played by a smirking Maluma. The two begin a steamy, champagne-addled, toe-licking romance, culminating in a rowdy outdoor wedding that could rival Carnaval. (Madge goes back to blonde in time for the festivities.) “We built a cartel just for love,” she sings, “Venus was hovering above us,” while Maluma purrs, “My queen” in Spanish.
“I wanted this video to look like a painting,” Madonna explained on the MTV broadcast. She recruited two directors from Barcelona, Diana Kunst and Mau Morgó, who have most recently produced videos for Spanish pop star Rosalía. “[Kunst] is influenced by a lot of the same painters and filmmakers that I’m interested in,” said Madonna, who cited inspiration from Frida Kahlo and Leonora Carrington.
Maluma will appear on another song on Madame X, titled “Bitch I’m Loca.” The record was produced and co-written by French collaborator Mirwais Ahmadzaï, who had previously produced 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor and 2000’s Music. “I wasn’t sure if he was gonna like the direction I wanted to go in,” said Madonna. “I sent him some Portuguese guitar that I had sampled from a living room session… and I said, “What do you think you can do with this?” He wrote me back a couple days later … he already added an 808, gave it a beat, cut it up and turned it into something amazing.”
Madonna and Maluma will take the stage May 1st at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards to perform “Medellín” live for the first time together. Airing on live on national television, this will be Madonna’s first performance of new music in over four years. She last appeared at the Billboard Music Awards in 2016, where she paid tribute to the late Prince.