KING: Looking at all the pictures and videos you go through lots of changes, right?
MADONNA: Why not.
KING: Most people change, but not dramatic. You go dramatic.
MADONNA: That's why I like to call myself a performance artist because what I do is I sort of just, like, collect ideas whether it's paintings or film or literature or a character in history.
KING: So you'll get tired of this in while? Is tired a good word? You'll look in the mirror and say I don't like this anymore. I don't want to blond, I want to be Hillary.
MADONNA: Hillary -- oh, no. (LAUGHTER)
MADONNA: Does she change her hair a lot?
KING: She does.
MADONNA: I am an artist, I feel like, you know, I have a lot more freedom to do whatever I want, be whatever I want.
KING: But I mean is it ever a whim? Do you ever just look in the mirror and say: changing today?
MADONNA: Yes, I do that all the time -- absolutely. And after you make several videos, you see yourself on TV, you do several photo shoots, you kind of get sick of it. You have to move on.
KING: Let's include some phone calls for Madonna. Cleveland, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Madonna. I was wondering what do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
MADONNA: Everybody asks me that question.
KING: Yes, at 50, what are you going to do at 50?
MADONNA: Well, I hope -- I would like to have more children, so hopefully I will be enjoying my family, and -- I mean, I don't know. I am sure I'll be an actress. I am sure I'll be writing music -- who knows, maybe I'll have an art gallery. I have no idea.
KING: Do you see yourself playing character roles?
MADONNA: Yes. Yes, absolutely.
KING: Which wouldn't bother you at all -- not to be the femme fatale?
MADONNA: No, not at all.
KING: No effect?
MADONNA: Well, I mean, what's wrong with a character role?
KING: Some people always want to assume that being the lovely part and...
MADONNA: Well I am not always going to be lovely, let's just face that fact.
KING: We do age.
MADONNA: Yes, we do.
KING: Why did you name your daughter Lourdes? That's a place, right?
MADONNA: For several reasons. Yes, Lourdes is a city in France, and it's a city of healing. There are healing waters there. It's a place where miracles occur, so for that reason because she was a miracle and is a miracle. But also, we call her Lourdes. She's half Cuban and that's a very popular Cuban name.
KING: What's her nickname, Lourdy?
MADONNA: No Lola. Lola -- I know, how did we get that.
KING: That doesn't make any sense.
MADONNA: Well, because I was also a big fan of that name -- Lola.
KING: Whatever Lola wants.
MADONNA: Lola doesn't get.
KING: Doesn't get. (LAUGHTER)
MADONNA: Yes, that's exactly. Both Lola Montez -- have you ever heard of her?
MADONNA: She's a famous -- well, she was an infamous woman. She brought down the King of Bavaria. You never heard of Lola Montez.
KING: When did she do this?
MADONNA: In the 1700s.
KING: An early Lewinsky.
MADONNA: No, she was -- come on now.
KING: I am only kidding.
MADONNA: She was a dancer. She had some skills. (LAUGHTER) No, but by birth she was Irish and she married -- it's a long story, but it's a very interesting story. There's a movie called "Lola Montez" that you should rent and watch. It's pretty fascinating, but she completely reinvented herself because she married this guy in India -- her parents married her off at a young age.
KING: So you were leaning toward naming your child Lola?
MADONNA: Well, I loved that name and I loved the name Lourdes, so I named her Lourdes and I call her Lola -- go figure.
KING: Tell me about Kabbalah ... now I'm Jewish. I don't remember learning anything about it when I was a kid growing up.
MADONNA: Because they don't teach the Kabbalah in -- it is considered traditionally the only people that are supposed to learn the Kabbalah are men, and they have to be over the age of 42. So because that is considered...
KING: So this is a sect of the orthodox.
MADONNA: Yes, traditionally, but I mean its roots are in orthodox Judaism, but think historically, I think a group of rabbis and, you know, scholars broke away and said, Look, if this information is so enlightening and so important and can help other people, why are we limiting it to teaching it just to men, Jewish men who are passed the age of 42? So people -- teachers, you know, started kind of branching out and opening up centers.
KING: What attracted you?
MADONNA: A friend of mine who is Jewish and -- but who isn't very religious -- was going to these classes, and she kept coming back and telling me about them and telling me about this great charismatic rabbi and these great stories, these fables that he would tell and how moving they were. And I could never -- it sort of went in one ear and out the other and I could never figure out what she was talking about. So finally out of curiosity I went to a class in Los Angeles. I was about 6-1/2 months pregnant and I was very moved by it. And it didn't really matter that I was, you know, raised a Catholic or I wasn't Jewish and I felt very comfortable and I liked being anonymous in a classroom environment and it was nice learning.
KING: Do you feel now you are a...
MADONNA: An honorary Jew?
KING: Honorary Jew or are you -- is there a term for -- are you a Kabbalahan?
MADONNA: I am a Kabbalist. There is definitely a Kabbalistic approach to life or a Kabbalistic point of view, but it's not different than a lot of other teachings. I study Hinduism; I study Buddhism; Taoism.
KING: You believe in a supreme being?
MADONNA: Absolutely. But I also believe that all paths lead to God.
KING: Houston, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Madonna, I just wanted to ask you, for all that you've done and accomplished, how would you like to be remembered or what legacy would you like to leave behind?
MADONNA: I would like to be remembered as a good mother first and foremost.
KING: Not a bad idea. Lawrence, Kansas, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Madonna, I was just wondering what do you find to be your biggest challenge in being a single mother?
KING: That's a very good question. A lot of people face it.
MADONNA: My biggest challenge was, you know, really just balancing my life and spend enough time with my daughter and really be there for her. She needs me and also to make myself happy and my career and continue working and run my businesses -- nurture my friendships, have a relationship, just that juggling, but...
KING: It is a daily juggle isn't it?
KING: Are there times you say: I wish there were a man here all the time?
MADONNA: Yes, oh, yes. There are lots of times when I just want to like go: I want to hand the baby off to somebody, you know?
KING: Do you think it's harder to get a man involved when you have a child? You know, the man might say...
KING: In other words, we don't have to throw a male benefit for you, right, to get guys interested? You don't need help?
MADONNA: Thank you.
KING: Tampa, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Madonna. My question is who were your musical and dance influences when you were growing up?
MADONNA: My musical influences -- wow. They ranged from Karen Carpenter to the Supremes to Led Zeppelin. Those were my musical influences, and...
MADONNA: Dance -- Martha Graham, Rudolph Nureyev.
KING: Were you a good ballet dancer?
MADONNA: No, I wasn't. I mean, I was a good dancer, but the problem is to be a really good ballet dancer you have to start when you're seven or eight, and I didn't start ballet until I was 12 or 13, which is considered over-the-hill really. I was a good dancer, but...
KING: When you see, like, an old Fred Astaire movie, and he's dancing with Ginger Rogers...
MADONNA: I'm in heaven.
KING: Do you say to yourself: I can do that.
MADONNA: I can do that.
KING: That's your kind of -- you could dance.
MADONNA: Absolutely. No problem.
KING: So if Astaire were around now, you'd dance with him.
MADONNA: I'd be dancing on the walls.
KING: Before we take another call, is this the most Grammys you have ever been nominated for?
KING: You won one Grammy years ago, right?
MADONNA: I won a Grammy, but it wasn't really record-related. It was like a long-form video or something, so...
KING: Are you nervous?
MADONNA: I am nervous about performing. I am not nervous about the whole award thing. I mean, I am excited. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
KING: Your friend Rosie O'Donnell is the MC.
MADONNA: Yes, I'm very happy about that.
KING: You're the opening act, right?
KING: Does that give you a little more pressure?
MADONNA: That's a good slot, the opening act. That's good.
KING: They're all watching.
KING: All right. When they open up the card, when they open up the envelope, truth -- do you expect to win?
MADONNA: I am not saying. I don't want to jinx myself.
KING: All right. Who is the one you're worried about the most?
MADONNA: Who's my...
KING: If you can't vote for you, who would you vote for, album of the year?
MADONNA: Oh, that's a tough one. Tell me what the nominees are.
KING: I don't know. I don't have...
MADONNA: Probably Lauryn Hill. She's my -- she's my competition, I think. She's amazing.
KING: For record of the year too?
MADONNA: I think so. Yes, yes.
KING: Atlanta, Georgia for Madonna. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Madonna. If your daughter Lourdes was old enough, would you allow her to work as an intern in the White House under Bill Clinton.
MADONNA: If she was old enough? Absolutely.
KING: Especially now, right? She would be safe. Is that what you would figure?
KING: Were you ever involved with married man?
KING: Was that like a hard-and-fast rule?
MADONNA: Never get involved with a man who is involved with someone else. Yes.
KING: You couldn't be second place...
MADONNA: No, no, no, no.
KING: I know of your active involvement in the fight against AIDS, but you're also into a New York City charity, Opus, right? What is that?
MADONNA: Oh, well, that is an organization that was started by a woman called Roberta Gespari Tavaris -- maybe I said that wrong; did I say that right? -- who is an incredible woman I have gotten to know this past year. She teaches violin to kids in several schools in the inner city, and she has been actively involved in campaigning to raise money so that kids can enjoy learning about art and music in schools. And unfortunately, because of all the cutbacks in the public school systems, that's the first thing to go.
And personally, my belief is that music and art is the most important thing to teach a child, so...
KING: Atlanta, Georgia, hello.
CALLER: Hello. I lost my mother when I was very young. And I'm now raising children. I know that Madonna also lost her mother when she was young. And I am wondering what difference does she think it might have made in how she's now raising her child.
KING: Good question.
MADONNA: What difference it would have made to have had a mother?
KING: Yes, do you think -- and now that you know -- your mother was how old?
MADONNA: She was 31.
KING: You've outlived her by nine years and you had the child. And she had eight children.
MADONNA: Well, she had six. My father remarried. But I mean, it's hard for me to say how I would be if my mother had lived. I am sure I would be very different. And I think to a certain extent I think that people that grow up -- girls that grow up without mothers tend to try even harder to kind of make up for what they didn't have. And I think they make very good parents.
KING: When you lose a parent young -- I've had it happen; my father died -- there's always something missing.
MADONNA: Yes, you walk around with a big hole inside of you...
MADONNA: ... a feeling of emptiness and longing that, you know, and -- I think a lot of times that's why you become an overachiever, you know, just trying to...
KING: Got to -- got to show...
KING: Are you close with brothers and sisters?
KING: You're family keeps in touch? There hasn't been separation?
MADONNA: Oh, yes, definitely.
KING: Do you have big brothers?
MADONNA: They all tortured me over the holidays.
KING: Do you have big brothers? Are they still your kind of -- look up to them?
MADONNA: Well, my big brothers, you know, they have had an interesting influence, especially my oldest brother. I mean, he totally, like, turned me on to the most kind of subversive things when I was a child, you know, like...
KING: Political things.
MADONNA: Well, no. He got -- like, I became a vegetarian because of my oldest brother. He used to, like -- he introduced me to Charles Bukowski and Richard Brautigan.
You know, they were into the whole LSD drug culture, Maharishi orchestra. You know, I was really frightened by them but completely enamored of them as well. And they've both lived very adventurous lives.
KING: Still do?
MADONNA: Yes. (LAUGHTER)
KING: How about your sisters?
MADONNA: I am very close to a couple of my sisters. I am actually close to all of my sisters, particularly my one sister who lives in Los Angeles, and she has children. And she had children before me.
KING: You're a good aunt.
MADONNA: I like to think so.
KING: Is she happily married?
MADONNA: She's happily married. She has an incredible family. She's a great role model for me even though she's my younger sister.
KING: You win the Grammy -- let's say you win. I predict.
MADONNA: Please God.
KING: Your lips to God, right?
KING: You really want to win that, right? By the way, it's no baloney. Why not want to win it?
MADONNA: Why not? Exactly. Of course I want to win.
KING: Any concert tour coming?
KING: This year?
MADONNA: Yes, your lips to God.
KING: Are you going to have one?
KING: And what about another movie?
MADONNA: Yes, I am going to do a movie in April. And then I am going to rehearse to go on tour. And then I'll probably play up until the millennium, New Year's Eve.
KING: What's the movie?
KING: Rup. I love him.
MADONNA: Yes. Isn't he great?
KING: I love you too. Thanks for coming.
MADONNA: Thank you so much.