Madonna's latest album, "Confessions on a Dance Floor," has already sold over 4 million copies worldwide.
As part of the promotion, Madonna made her first trip to Tokyo in 12 years, and she asked The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith to come along for an
Wherever she goes, Smith says, it's an international event. Photographers catch her every move.
The Japanese journalists wanted to know every detail, from what Madonna missed about their country to what she likes about herself.
On the former, she said she missed the heated toilet seats, among other things.
As for the latter, she told the Japanese press corps, "I'm resilient. Does that translate, resiliency? No, not stubborn, resilient; that's the wrong way to describe it."
But, says Smith, Madonna is the ultimate performer and her latest album is a celebration of dance.
The highlight of the trip was a special club show, and Smith caught up with her backstage before she went on.
"The invitation that I got was, I could come to Tokyo as long as I would dance," Smith reminded Madonna.
"Are you ready to do your disco roll?" she asked Smith.
Then Madonna showed him some basic moves, and Smith responded by rolling his arms.
"You gotta pump your hip. … Go, Harry!" Madonna told Smith. "Just wave your hands in the air and wave 'em like you just don't care."
Smith admitted he didn't get "the whole thing with the hands" but, undaunted, Madonna showed him some more moves.
Getting serious, Smith asked what it means to her to "go out in front of 12 or 13 or 14 or 15 hundred people. This place is just jammed tonight."
"I like that," Madonna replied.
"They're here for really, literally, a once in a lifetime experience," Smith said.
"I like these gigs," Madonna said. "I like these small, tiny, intimate gigs, where I can feel everybody."
Madonna told Smith she "always" rehearses, and had gone through the entire show earlier in the day.
Turning to the camera to address viewers of The Early Show, Madonna kidded, "There's a rumor going around that I'm a perfectionist. But it's just a rumor."
Of a performance the night before, Smith said, "You blew the doors off the place. … Literally, when I was watching you onstage, I thought to myself there, 'You put everything you have into that performance.' "
"There's nothing left to decide," Smith said.
"It's true," Madonna said. "Yes. This is true. I push myself 'till there's nothing left."
Noting that Madonna's been at it more than 20 years, and this time around with an album that's No. 1 in 29 countries, Smith wondered, "What's inside of you that says, 'I still have to put every ounce of what I have on the stage?' "
"Well," Madonna said, "I mean, the fact that my — my record is No. 1 in 29 countries is — it means that I'm connecting to people. So, when I go to a city and I do a show, I'm gonna give them my all. 'Cause they're giving me their all, by buying my record."
Smith says he's come to know Madonna as someone who "Leaves nothing to chance, who lives every day as if it's her last day on earth."
"Well," Madonna said, "that's the way I should be living my life. … I would love to get to the end of every one of my days and think, 'Did I do everything I meant to achieve? Am I happy this is — if — if this were the last day of my life on Earth, would I be happy about it?' I'd say, 75 percent of the time I'm — is a 'Yes.' But 25, 'No.' "
Where does that come from?
"Being aware," she said. "Being more conscious of the way I am with people; being more responsible for myself, and how I interact with people, and being more grateful. I think that's the main thing, being more grateful and appreciative."
What is she most grateful for?
"My family," she said. "Yeah. 'Cause my family keeps me grounded and keeps it all real."
"Yeah," Smith said, "in a sense, you're also grateful for this response to this record."
"Oh, yes. I'm grateful for that too. Yes."
"From the standpoint that you're an artist," Smith said. "You work. You clearly put everything you have into what you do. … Sometimes it's wildly successful."
"And," Madonna said, "sometimes it's not. And I'm grateful for the ability to be able to ride that, ride the waves, ride the rollercoaster of success because, you know, there's another side to success. And that's, well, what's perceived as a failure. But I don't perceive it that way."
Madonna's previous CD, "American Life" was "the worst-selling album of my career, but one of my favorite records ever. But what I'm grateful for is the ability to just keep — keep doing what I do. And … OK, people weren't, you know, people didn't accept that. Fine. Pick my crown up off the floor, put it back on my head and keep going. It's alright."
Madonna says there's a good possibility she'll do a scaled-down concert tour next summer.
On Tuesday, Smith will have much more of his conversation with Madonna. She'll talk about parenting, and what she has in common with Elvis, among other matters.