“I knew she was special”
In a new interview with Yael Chiara on medium.com music biz legend Seymour Stein speaks frankly about his groundbreaking career and reveals the embarrasing deal he made when he signed Madonna to Sire Records.
When you signed Madonna, did you think she’d still be making music 30 years later?
I didn’t think about it. What people usually ask me is, Do you think she’d ever be this big? Of course not! I knew she was special.
And you met her through Mark Kamins?
Yes, I’d always befriended Mark. He was a DJ who played all sorts of weird music but somehow made it work — he was playing Faro music, mixing it with African music and making it all work. I gave him $18,000 and I told him: ‘This should be enough for you, over a period of a year or longer — don’t rush it — to make six demos.’ Madonna was the third demo he brought me. I listened to it, and I loved it.
Everyone knows this story: I heard it in the hospital, and I got so excited, I made her come to see me. No, that’s not true — even then you couldn’t make Madonna do anything unless she wanted to! She came to the hospital and we agreed on a deal right then and there. I asked her to go to her lawyers so we could draw up the papers.