"When I discovered Madonna, it began to change the way I viewed myself. She is so unashamed to be 100% herself. I guess, she represents living your most unapologetic truth. Madonna has impacted my life more than almost anyone, even those I know personally." - Zakariah
Hi Zakariah, it’s a pleasure to have you join us here at Fan Features. Today, we’ll discussing Madonna and hearing more about her music and overall impact through the eyes of a fan. So before we begin, would you mind introducing yourself to our readers?
My name is Zakariah, I am 23 years old from Utah.
So Zakariah, can I ask how you came to discover Madonna? What are you first memories of her and ultimately, what was it about her that convinced you to become a fan?
I discovered Madonna quite a bit later than most people I think. I have always known who she was, but I found the discourse around her very intruiging around late 2016, with the election going on, so I decided to see what she was all about. Her music is of course iconic, but what really made me want to become a fan was the level of intellect and artistry that she put into every single thing she made. I remember watching the live performance of "The Look of Love" and having so many emotions.
And what sort of impact has she made within your own life? In other words…what does Madonna mean to you?
Around the time that I was becoming a fan, I came out as gay to my mother. I was still very insecure and didn't really understand myself. When I discovered Madonna, it began to change the way I viewed myself. She is so unashamed to be 100% herself. I guess, she represents living your most unapologetic truth. Madonna has impacted my life more than almost anyone, even those I know personally.
Madonna is an iconic in the music world…she has released hit after hit whilst continuing to push the boundaries as an artist. With that in mind, I am curious to ask how you would describe Madonna as both an artist and a performer? And in what way does her artistry influence music today?
I think even despite her many hits and being the trailblazer that she is, she is still somehow underrated as an artist and performer. She has never gotten the credit for being much more than a pop star and inspiring generations of artists. Honestly, I would describe her as much more as a performance artist than a pop singer or an entertainer. She has something to say, and it's always been a centrepiece in her art, whether that be political, standing up for human rights, or even just her own intellect or philosophy.
Madonna’s influence touches people around the world in many different ways…what do you think we can learn from her as a person?
I think her willpower. She never gives up, and she always speaks her mind and her truth. I think that's something we all could learn from her.
Looking back at her career is there a moment that stands out to you as a defining moment?
A lot of fans may disagree with me, but I think the entire American Life era was such a defining moment for Madonna. It may not have been very popular, and she was very controversial, but it embodies everything that Madonna stands for to me.
Out of all Madonna’s musical releases, do you have a favourite song? Hard question, I know!
That is a hard question. I adore just about everything she has done. If I had to choose one song though, it may be X-Static Process. That song has got me through so many rough days.
Madonna has a massive fanbase consisting of people of all ages…what is it like to be a Madonna fan in today’s society and how would you describe her fanbase as a whole?
Ageism is still something that is so prominent for women, especially in the music industry. It can be hard sometimes to see people pick apart her looks, and say she should "act her age". I find that to be the hardest thing about being her fan in today's society. Her fandom can be quite negative and there are a lot of people who feel the need to criticize everything she does, often more than people who hate her.
You mentioned having a large collection of Madonna merchandise…I’d love to hear more about that?!
Yes! I went through a period throughout 2019 where basically any of my free money would go to Madonna merchandise. I hardly have any place to put it!
Do you have a favourite piece amongst your collection? Why?
I love my Madame X Tour Book that I got at the shows I went to in Los Angeles. It has so much sentimental value to me because of that.
You had the chance to see Madonna What she like in a live setting? I hear her concerts are incredible…Please tell us everything!
It was so crazy... I honestly still cannot believe I can say that I have seen Madonna live. And not just seen her live, but in an intimate theater! She was absolutely amazing. Her vocals were perfect, she was hilarious, and of course her energy is always unmatched. I suggest for anyone to go see her if they ever get the chance to.
Seeing Madonna is a pretty big deal anyway…she’s a living legend after all but as a fan, it must have been a pretty special? Can you describe what that experience meant to you?
I think what is different to see her as a fan, is that most of the songs she performed were from her newest album, Madame X. The album didn't really serve any major hits, so most casual fans wouldn't really know most of the songs. It meant a lot to me, because it felt like it was an experience made for us fans. Madame X is one of my all time favorite albums from Madonna so I loved every minute of it!
Are there any moments from the concerts that standout to you as a particular highlight?
"Extreme Occident" was so beautiful and surreal, almost felt like watching a magical illusion. That song was my favorite as soon as Madame X dropped and still remains, seeing it live only enhanced it! "Like a Prayer" was also amazing. It was one of the most powerful concert experiences ever for me. "I Rise" was the concert closer, and is an epic LGBTQ+ anthem. At the end she repeats the phrase "I will rise" acapella as she walks through the crowd with her group of dancers. Unforgettable and super emotional.
Thank-You so much for taking the time to speak with us about Madonna, Zakariah! It has been a real pleasure! As we approach the end of our interview, is there a message you’d like to share with Madonna?
It was my pleasure! Thank you for having me. Thank you Madonna. Thank you for continuing to inspire me to grow as a human being. Thank you for giving me strength to be true to myself and stay strong. I love you.
And finally…if you could recommend one of Madonna’s songs to someone who’s unfamiliar with her music, what would you suggest?
"Sorry" is the most perfect pop song I have ever listened to. It is the song that got me into her, and it just never gets old. Just listen to the entire Confessions album!
A huge Thank-You to Zakariah for taking the time to chat all things with Madonna this week! Madonna's impact on music history is undeniable and with the help of Zakariah, I hope we've been able to shine a light on not only her music and performances but how this has touched her diverse array of fans around the world.
Let us know your favourite Madonna songs and performances by leaving a comment below or by getting in touch via our Twitter page: @fanfeaturesent
Be sure to give Zakariah a follow on Twitter: @hausofzakariah