Nicki Minaj Talks Grammy Performance, Madonna, M.I.A., & ‘Starships’

Nicki Minaj

Fresh off her much-talked-about appearance at the Grammys, Nicki Minaj called into Ryan Seacrest to talk at length about her alter ego Roman Zolanski and controversial performance, why she chose to debut “Roman Holiday” at the awards, how Madonna changed her life (and her wig), her disappointment in M.I.A.’s finger flipping at the Super Bowl, and her new single “Starships,” which will premiere tomorrow morning on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show.

On attending the Grammys with a Pope look-alike: “The religious figure is there because he was called on by Roman’s mom to rehabilitate him.”

On her debut performance of “Roman Holiday”: “I had this vision for him to be sort of exorcised—or actually he never gets exorcised—but people around him tell him he’s not good enough because he’s not normal, he’s not blending in with the average Joe. And so his mother is scared and the people around him are afraid because they’ve never seen anything like him. He wanted to show that not only is he amazing and he’s sure of himself and confident, but he’s never gonna change, he’s never gonna be exorcised. Even when they throw the holy water on him, he still rises above.”

On getting in her comfort zone: “I wanted to create a movie. I reached out to a great friend of mine, Hype Williams, to create the movie. I just wanted him to be in this monastery and I wanted to see him in his comfort zone. It’s funny because it’s the most comfortable I’ve been on stage in my entire life.”

On why she chose “Roman Holiday” for the Grammys: “The Grammys chose ‘Roman Holiday.’ The producers of the Grammys came to the studio and I played them ‘Roman Holiday,’ and I could not play them another record after they heard that. They went crazy. I could have chosen to do a no-brainer pop song, but I can’t do it anymore. I have to stay true to what I’m doing.”

On Madonna’s influence: “Meeting Madonna changed my life. Working with Madonna changed my life. Rehearsing with Madonna for two weeks changed my life. When you look at these amazing women, you have to realize that a lot of work goes into this. I, for the first time, refused to go to any parties. This performance was it and this is the first performance that I’m proud of in my entire career. I saw how much Madonna sacrificed and how much she rehearses and rehearses and rehearses and rehearses, and everyone there was like, ‘We got it.’ But she was like, ‘No, I want you to know this choreography in your sleep.’ We did know it in our sleep by the time we got on the Super Bowl stage. But when I saw that, it inspired me so much, the same way Wayne inspired me to start really becoming a beast as a rapper. The Madonna situation inspired me to give it my all and put that work in.”

On how Madonna got her to change her wig: “Madonna was the first person in history who was able to make me change my wig. I had some choices in terms of color and she was like, ‘Nicki…’ She has a way with words. She’s a monster, but when she’s speaking to an artist, she’s really sweet and she knows how to word things so you don’t feel uncomfortable. She was like, ‘I don’t know about it.’ So I really went through four color changes on my wig for the Super Bowl. We got the platinum blonde and she smiled. Once she smiled, I was like, ‘Thank you Jesus.’ I couldn’t take it anymore. She was one of the only people who could get me to wear red lipstick and when I did it, I ended up loving it, so I told her, ‘I’m so glad I trusted you. You’re amazing, you’re the queen, and everybody has to bow down.’”

On M.I.A.’s Super Bowl stunt: “My first feeling was disappointment, only because of my respect for Madonna. I’m a cuckoo lady too, but I would never be able to do it off the strength of Madonna. There are fines that go into these things, and I just thought, ‘Oh my God. I hope they don’t penalize Madonna.’ Madonna knows the artist that M.I.A. is and it was her decision to take the risk with all of us. We were kinda all firecrackers and she took that risk. She’s done some crazy things becoming the icon that she is, so I think that’s why she was able to forgive M.I.A. I love M.I.A. and I don’t want to say anything that is the wrong thing, but me personally, I couldn’t see myself doing it, just for the respect for Madonna. I wouldn’t want any backlash to come back on Madonna.”

On her new single: “‘Starships’ is one of my absolute, absolute favorite records on Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. It just sounds like a Ryan Seacrest-type of record. And I’m so excited for you to give this song your blessing, Ryan, because I know people are gonna love it. It feels right. It just feels good. It makes people feel happy and that’s all I want. I want to start the year off with making people feel good. The [Grammy] performance was the performance, that was my clear craziness, and now it’s time to make people dance and have fun, and that’s all I want to do.”



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74 Comments

  1. JOSH

    FIRST!!!

    [Reply]

    Lauryn Reply:

    @JOSH,

    This B-tch Is Evil.

    [Reply]

  2. Jordan

    She told y’all

    [Reply]

    Aimanos Reply:

    @Jordan, DID this bitch just say she got her wigs from madonna… SIT THE FUCK DOWN, you know you stole that from Lil’ Kim

    [Reply]

    Jordan Reply:

    @Aimanos, She didn’t tho. She said Madonna made her change her wig color. READ.

    [Reply]

    tony Reply:

    @Jordan, she still a press stupid hoe thats trying to be like WHITE ARTIST!!! nicki never mentioned no damn madonna in her underground days.. that hoe has sold her talent and soul .. she is a puppet.. a damn shame.

    [Reply]

    Ty' DeMarious Reply:

    @tony, So what is a black artist?? She has to be act a “specific” way to be like a BLACK ARTIST?? Just pure ignorance and she’s talking about the wig she wore for the SuperBowl performance. #KeepUp

    [Reply]

    Nicki Biggest Fan Reply:

    @Aimanos, Wtf are you talkin bout Madonna told Nicki to change ha wig before she hit the stage cause if didn’t look right
    Boy I hate when b itches talk about s hit not even knowin the whole situation

    [Reply]

  3. JOSH

    I ALWAYS WANTED TO DO THAT AND I GOT TO DO IT FOR THE QUEEN NICKI MIANJ!!!! WHAT AN HONOR

    [Reply]

    @beyonceland Reply:

    @JOSH, What a crazy, confused, trashy hoe. She is slowly fading away. Thank God!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

  4. Kwayzee

    CANT WAIT FOR STARSHIPS !!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

  5. shell

    she is full of shit.. and her own starship is sinking.. dont credit this on madonna or blame it on the grammy for airing this.. madonna had convinction and purpose.. you on the other hand did this all for attention.. this is why you will never win a grammy people see through this nicki.

    [Reply]

    Deeet Reply:

    @shell, You don’t know what the fuck your talking about what you said doesn’t have shit to do with what nicki said NEVER SAY NEVER you came here to read her WHOLE ENTIRE INTERVIEW but you don’t like her she’s full of it? OH!

    [Reply]

    shell Reply:

    @Deeet, no did you read the article.. dumbass,,,, i see you a dumbass stan… and side note.. grammy excutives stated that it WAS NICKI IDEA AND CHOICE to do that song as her performance.. and they gave her the green light…. this chic needs to take responsiblity for her actions instead of blaming and passing it on to everybody elese.

    [Reply]

  6. Sbuam

    ugly ass

    [Reply]

    Ryan Reply:

    @Sbuam, Then why did u come 2this web page and read it ? Dumb ass

    [Reply]

  7. Drew

    Starships better be the the greatest song of the decade….them first 3 are terrible. People bent out of shape for M.I.A.’s middle finger but the FCC should fine CBS for Nicki Minaj’s performance on the Grammys. Middle fingers are thrown up at ever stop light, that song and performance was a crime.

    [Reply]

    Ryan Reply:

    @Drew, Then dnt watch it

    [Reply]

  8. candy

    A big FAIL. Sad case, girl

    [Reply]

  9. thepleasureprincipal

    I don’t understand the exaggeration of this alter-ego: Roman Zolanski. I wish Nicki would focus on music more than her image. Music speaks for itself. Adele just showed every single nominee, it doesn’t take theatrical performances and dramatic outfits to grab attention. It’s the Grammys; not Broadway. All in all, I respect Nicki Minaj for all the hits that she’s given the music industry but I’ll pass on Roman.

    [Reply]

    sbz Reply:

    @thepleasureprincipal, EXACTLY my point. Fun and quirkiness has a limit, after that it is just attention seeking. Music is the most important thing, and recently Nicki Minaj’s music has been lacking.

    [Reply]

    Will Reply:

    @sbz, Lacking? Lacking is not even the word her music has been atrocious.

    [Reply]

    Spartenia Reply:

    @Will,
    I feel all of U on this shiii.

    [Reply]

    Darolo Reply:

    @thepleasureprincipal, I’ll pass on ADELE thanks. It’s all personal I know & I respect your view, but I want to be entertained. I would NEVER pay to watch ADELE in concert just standing there singing , swaying her hips and gesturing with her arms. I could just put her CD on at home! I want visuals. That’s why Madonna has always been my number 1 – pure theatre. Nicki entertains me in that way too & obviously has the humility to pay respect to the one who does it best. That’s just a personal viewpoint to which we’re all entitled.

    [Reply]

  10. sbz

    Where is she going with this? If ‘Starships’sounds anything like Roman in Moscow/Stupid Hoe/Roman Holiday she is a certified flop. But imma be patient and give her a chance.

    tbh, her Grammy performance was pretty bad and more controversial than what M.I.A. did, so she isn’t really the one to talk. ‘Disappointed’ my ass.

    [Reply]

    Deeet Reply:

    @sbz, I can see you don’t comprehend well SHE SAID ROMAN HOLIDAY AND THE PERFORMANCE WAS TO SHOW HOW CRAZY SHE IS!!!’ Then she ADDED and said that it’s time to make people dance and feel good you guys kill me with the negativity NICKI MINAJ CANNOT be stopped she will ALWAYS HAVE OTHER RACES AND ETHNICITIES that STILL LOVE HER GET OVER IT y’all been sayin she WACK ever since she came on the scene !!!! LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED a DOUBLE PLATNIUM ALBUM 20 awards etc KILL THE HATE

    [Reply]

  11. Really?

    Did she really just blame the producers for choosing that horrible song? Stop it nicki. You wrote it. You recorded it. And you performed it. You have to on it now. And if this new song isn’t a hit that’ll be 0/4 and he career will be over.

    [Reply]

    Deeet Reply:

    @Really?, I CAN TELL YOU GUYS DON’T KNOW ANYTHING YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE IT DOESNT MEAN THE OTHER BILLIONS IN THE WORLD WON’T TF? And were you there when the producers chose it ? IGNORANT ASS PEOPLE Career will be over? DON’T COUNT ON IT #killtheHATE

    [Reply]

    Will Reply:

    @Deeet, About 99.9% of the world hated it, Your part of the 1% remember smfh.

    [Reply]

    Will Reply:

    @Will, .1% to be exact

    [Reply]

    Ryan Reply:

    @Will, Well your obviously dumb and dnt like music

    [Reply]

  12. tina

    Nicki exposed her breast on good morning America. Did we forget that?

    [Reply]

  13. MyMusicBANGZ

    So what I got from this interview performance and past released songs is that Pink Friday Reloaded is going to be completely pop basically I was really hoping Nicki was gonna do more stuff like monster for this album and show her talent as a rapper right now I’m not checking for this album and I get why the album’s been pushed back hopefully Starships can change my opinion

    [Reply]

  14. TRA

    Nicki Minaj needs to take responsibility for her own actions. Nicki Minaj disrespected both mainstream hip hop and underground hip hop when she gave that horrible performance at The 2012 Grammy Awards. Nicki Minaj made hip hop look real bad with her over-the-top, terrible performance. No wonder why some white people are prejudice and racist towards black people winning Grammy Awards in major categories. Nicki Minaj made all female rappers look bad with that performance. Nicki Minaj disrepected people’s reglious beliefs by making a mockering out of it. Nicki Minaj is just like Madonna because both Nicki Minaj and Madonna are both fucking hypocrites. I am not saying it’s right for M.I.A. to stick up her middle finger the way she did at the Super Bowl, but Nicki Minaj and Madonna both have done far worser, controverial things in their careers than M.I.A. has done. Nicki Minaj lost all the Grammy Awards she was nominated for at the 2012 Grammy Awards. Nicki Minaj needs to change her ways and start making better music. If Nicki Minaj continues to make terrible songs like Stupid Hoe, then Nicki Minaj’s career will be over faster than Vanilla Ice’s career and that’s the truth.

    [Reply]

    Deeet Reply:

    @TRA, SAYS WHO? You said her name sooooo much I’m sorry are you a FAN? Your on this website looking at this interview !! #endofstory I’m off of here toooooo many ignorant people

    [Reply]

    TRA Reply:

    @Deeet, No, I am not a hardcore fan of Nicki Minaj, but I don’t hate Nicki Minaj. I think Nicki Minaj has some talent, but everyone knows that she wastes her talent by being a gimmick. Just because people criticize Nicki doesn’t make all people haters. For you to call me or anyone else who criticize her nothing but ignorant haters make you look stupid. This is a hip hop forum and a music forum, so you have to deal with criticism, even if you don’t think it’s fair.

    [Reply]

    MYOB Reply:

    @TRA, That was an awesome response.. kudos to you smh there’s always that one person who thinks they need to be the police of everyone else’s opinions..

    [Reply]

  15. In Flex We Trust » Nicki Minaj Speaks On Controversial Grammy Performance

    [...] Nicki Minaj called into Ryan Seacrest’s radio show earlier today to speak on her controversial Grammy performance last night, an experience she says was “the most comfortable I’ve been on stage in my entire life.” She also expresses her disdain for M.I.A.’s Super Finger, why she chose to debut that specific song last night, Madonna’s influence on her career and more. Read and listen below, courtesy of Rap-Up. [...]

  16. TeamMinaj

    If ur gonna bash her get a fucking life! Ur so worried about her life u can’t get your right. No one asked any of u bitches above ^ to listen to her or even watch her. If you don’t like her why waste your time? Probably because deep down inside you admire her & see real talent. You can’t deny true talent & that’s something Nicki has! If you aren’t a real fan there shouldn’t be any reason for you to be clicking on a link having to do with Nicki Minaj. Her real fans understands the performance & the meaning behind Roman

    [Reply]

  17. IwasHERE

    How old is this broad??? I cant with this chick!!!

    [Reply]

  18. true love

    Great interview.

    [Reply]

  19. itsme

    ****YAWN****

    [Reply]

  20. itsme

    You are trying too damn hard…#SITDOWN

    LADY GAGA wants her dress and stage performance back!

    Nicki Minaj = #NOGRAMMY

    [Reply]

  21. Rap*

    she still mocked the church. Just shows how she was raised but i wont judge.

    [Reply]

  22. Will

    If Nicki Minaj is Winning then Where the Fuk is her Grammy Award?????? She lost in every single category lmao the grammys turned her into a joke or shall i say she turned herself into a joke? Whoever approved that performance did it on purpose.

    [Reply]

    Spartenia Reply:

    @Will,
    I kinda feel she was set myself… I don’t get it. *Baffled*
    I try w/ her… I really do.

    [Reply]

  23. KingPhoenix

    Smh…I have no words for Nicki any more, she has MURDERED hip hop…and she’s now apart of the illuminati, like what happened to her??
    Her performance last night yelled volumes…

    [Reply]

  24. Nicki Minaj Discusses Grammy Performance, Religious Theme & Madonna (Audio) |

    [...] is some quotes from the interview, as well as the audio below (via Rap-Up.com): On walking the red carpet with a Pope look-alike: “The religious figure is there because he [...]

  25. Official

    Is she sippin’ that shit wayne on? Her songs are a bit wacky backy for my tastes…
    She should release more songs like itty bitty piggy…
    I liked that…

    [Reply]

  26. Nicki Minaj Talks Grammy Performance « Defglam Entertainment

    [...] rapup VN:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait…Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)VN:F [1.9.10_1130]Rating: 0 (from 0 votes) opinions powered by SendLove.to // [...]

  27. Outspoken

    If the Grammys picked that song…I think they set you up Nicki. Sorry that song and performance was awful.

    [Reply]

  28. MissInfo.tv » Nicki Minaj Answers Critics of Her Grammy “Roman Holiday” Exorcism

    [...] Thanks to the great people at Rap-Up [...]

  29. Lawsuitonkimsface

    Loveeeeeeee nicki

    [Reply]

  30. Quick Quotes: Nicki Minaj Explains Grammy Performance

    [...] Excerpts courtesy of Rap-Up [...]

  31. xx

    i bet the new song will be like: u make my heart fly like a starships.

    [Reply]

  32. Infinity123

    @TeamMinaj, No, you clearly need to get a life since defending Nicki seems to be your only ammo right now. Whatever talent Nicki has is being overridden by her giant ego by eager stans like you who won’t be honest with her and truly criticize her for her betterment but be her “yes man” and is the main reason why she’s doing performances like the Grammy’s and making music and music videos like Stupid Hoes. And honestly, I think we all clicked this link to see what excuse she gave for performing pure foolery. And yall dont understand anything about her or her alter egos but that she said it and anything she says is bible. Wake up and smell the plastic.

    [Reply]

  33. andrew

    im so excited to hear the official single!!! just so excited!!

    [Reply]

  34. MADMANBADMAN

    They hate Nicki for her worst but yet they gonna love her for her best make sense cuz haters will be Motivators…….

    [Reply]

  35. :O youMADstayMAD

    okay, seriously, i’m sick of all the hate that she’s getting behind of all this. yeah, everyone has their own opinion but you have to give praise when praise is due and Nicki Minaj owned the Grammy’s last night. for the Grammy’s producers to see her vision and believe in her was a true winner already and she came and dominated. she well explained everything in this interview and you either take it or leave it. i’m ready for Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

    [Reply]

  36. Nicki Minaj Talks Grammy Performance, MIA Super Bowl Stunt & New Single – Billboard | Daily Articles Trends and News

    [...] Rap-Up.com [...]

  37. nicegirl

    I wish she would stop with the Roman alter ego. We’ve had Roman, we want to hear music from you Nicki. Starships better be a good song to save from her career failing.

    [Reply]

  38. shell

    grammy executive stated that it was nicki idea to do the performance not thiers…. so once again she lied.. just like she lied about her age.. just like she lied about SB hitting her.. just how she lied on foxy brown.. just how she lies about copying lil kim gwen stefani and lady gaga …hell who is nicki minaj? she is a character.. opps i forgot and only preteens understand this 29 year old woman. this mess is shameful… and even if starship is have decent she is stained for having the worse grammy performance in history.

    [Reply]

  39. Kuye seyi

    Hmm’evil apar,nicki is a good rap artiste with great future’how on earth ‘ll u say she cn’t collect cn’ u wish ur’ sister bad luck,sme of u do ever than she’ jus bcos she’s a celebrity dat why u av’ to critisize her ‘u ar’ al bunch of caward’gosh.

    [Reply]

  40. CarlosBonegro

    the producers of the grammys must really hate nicki minaj if they told her to perform that song

    [Reply]

  41. imANDR3

    WHY DONT YOU SHIT HEADS LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW INSTEAD OF READING IT,COZ IT SEEMS YOU CAN’T READ (HANDS YAZ MISUNDERSTANDING)

    [Reply]

  42. Nicki Minaj Talks Exorcism Performance At 2012 Grammy Awards | Fresh Like Dougie

    [...] Nicki on performing “Roman Holiday”: “I had this vision for him to be sort of exorcised—or actually he never gets exorcised—but people around him tell him he’s not good enough because he’s not normal, he’s not blending in with the average Joe. And so his mother is scared and the people around him are afraid because they’ve never seen anything like him. He wanted to show that not only is he amazing and he’s sure of himself and confident, but he’s never gonna change, he’s never gonna be exorcised. Even when they throw the holy water on him, he still rises above.” [RU] [...]

  43. steve

    She looks like an idiot… Fucking stupid

    [Reply]

  44. danesha

    niki so rulled at the grammy awards i feal purty romannnnn

    [Reply]

  45. gee.el

    it amazes me how everyone seems to know excactly why artist do what they do. and how they know better than the artist on what they should be doing. what a mind fuck.

    [Reply]

  46. Neo2627

    Nicki’s performance at the Grammy Awards; was pure ‘bull-shit’! And for some of you intelligent N.C. groupies,that think her act was fan-tastic! Give me some of what you’re smokin’, cause that shit must be the ‘bomb’. If they’re paying her to put out crap,like this. . someone is going to be asking for their money back!

    [Reply]

  47. i know.........

    … um u guys dont understand! i LOVE nicki, hate roman, and guess what… SHE HAD A EXORCISM!!!!!!! SHES GONE!! hopefully….. stop hatin. give her a chance, we are all human. i still love her… ;) love you all!

    [Reply]

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