In April 2008, the Material Girl released "Hard Candy," her 11th studio album, which featured Pharell Williams, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. She subsequently launched the international Sticky & Sweet tour to promote it. She earned the right to strike a pose and vogue after bringing in $120.1 million total in 2008 from North American touring ($105.3 million) and music sales ($14.8 million), but the numbers were still low by industry standards. The singer's best preparation for the demands of directing a movie may have been her ambitious, visually driven live shows. "When you're putting a show together you're dealing with so many elements," she said. "You're creating a stage and working with lights and costumes and dancers who you could say are the actors. You're paying attention to the minutiae and you're also stepping back and looking at the bigger picture. I always like to tell stories in my show and have some kind of an arc. I have a crew that I rely on desperately and ... I'm working with creative people so I need to be judicious with the way that I speak with them. I've always been intricately involved in every aspect of my show. I know where all the nails are on the stage."
Ettore Ferrari / EPA
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