Madonna explained the 1998 single, 'Ray of Light' "is a mystical look at the universe and how small we are." 'Ray of Light' was the 3rd track on Madonna's 7th album also called 'Ray of Light'. It was the first song of Madonna to made its debut at its peak position of No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her vocals throughout the 'Ray Of Light' album were described as a game changer. 

Speaking to 'Spin', Madonna made known, "I studied with a vocal coach for 'Evita' and I realized there was a whole piece of my voice I wasn't using. Before, I just believed I had a really limited range and was going to make the most of it." Of her newly-trained vocal chords, Madonna maintained working on 'Evita' had "really strengthened my voice. I learned how to sing in a way that I never did before." 

'Ray of Light' was No. 1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play for 4 weeks. In all, the song spent 14 weeks on the chart between May and August 1998 and 20 weeks in the Hot 100 from July to November 1998. Some 3.9 million copies of the 'Ray of Light' album were sold in the US in 1998. To create the electronic music with pop sound which was popular in the UK and Europe at the time, Madonna collaborated with William Orbit. 

Speaking to 'Q', Britain's biggest music magazine, in August 2002, William Orbit conceded, "Madonna was itchy to make a change and I came along at the right time. It bothers me when the press say, 'William Orbit revived her dwindling career'. It's so not the case. If anything, she revived my dwindling career." Madonna had stated, "I started studying the Kabbalah, which is a Jewish mystical interpretation of the Old Testament. I also found myself becoming very interested in Hinduism and yoga, and for the first time in a long time, I was able to step outside myself and see the world from a different perspective." William Orbit added, "Long before we started working on the album, Madonna was going through changes. I think she was heading in the direction we eventually took anyway." 

'Ray of Light' was a re-write of the 1971 folk song, 'Sepheryn'. 'Ray of Light' was written by Madonna, William Orbit, Clive Muldoon, Dave Curtiss and Christine Leach. Christine Leach recounted, "My uncle, Clive Muldoon, and his partner, Dave Curtiss wrote a song in the '70s called 'Sepheryn', which became 'Ray of Light'. I'd been working with William one fateful night in 1996, in London. and he played me a backing track that fitted so well with the lyric to 'Sepheryn' that I just started singing it."

William Orbit mentioned, "It was excellent, and I said so. I thought she'd written it, and she didn't say she hadn't. So that was among the (13) tracks on the original DAT (digital audio tape) I sent to Madonna." Christine Leach continued, "Later, I was sent a cassette in the post, of Madonna's version of the track and I nearly fainted. She must have loved the track – even her ad libs are the same as mine."

Dave Curtiss recalled, "I didn’t even know 'Ray of Light' had been recorded. A friend heard about it on the radio and told me. I was a bit annoyed at first because Madonna wanted 30% just for changing a couple of lines, but then I realized that 15% of millions is a lot better than 100% of nothing. I did very well out of it. It’s been a life-changing experience. I'd say I'm financially secure for at least the next 5 to 10 years as a result of 15% of one track by Madonna."

'Ray of Light' originally ran for over 10 minutes. "It was completely indulgent, but I loved it. It was heartbreaking to cut it down to a manageable length (over 5 minutes)," Madonna told 'Billboard'. In March 2013, Rick Nowels told 'Idolator', "Madonna and I wrote 9 songs together over a two week period in late April 1997. Madonna would show up at 3pm and we would start from scratch. She would leave at 7:00 and we would have a finished song and demo with all her lead and background vocals recorded.

"She is a brilliant pop melodist and lyricist. I was knocked out by the quality of the writing. The lyrics to 'The Power of Good-Bye' are stunning. I love Madonna as an artist and a songwriter ... I know she grew up on Joni Mitchell and Motown, and to my ears she embodies the best of both worlds. She is a wonderful confessional songwriter, as well as being a superb hit chorus pop writer ... She doesn't get the credit she deserves as a writer."

The 'Ray of Light' video was filmed in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Sweden and directed by Jonas Ã…kerlund. As reported, the fast-paced dance song showed ordinary people doing their daily routines on the high-speed video, "All these images are intertwined with the beauty aspects of life. In between Madonna shakes to a great dance routine." The video was awarded 'Best Video', 'Best Female Video', 'Best Direction', 'Best Choreography' and 'Best Editing' at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, and 'Best Short-Form Music Video' at the 1999 Grammy Awards.

Jonas Ã…kerlund told 'Rolling Stone' in 2015, "It's probably, to this day (17 years on), the longest shoot ever for a music video. I think we shot 14 shoot days or so. But, we were the smallest crew. My idea was to fit the crew into one car. We found an angle, then we set it up, and then we were talking s---- for a half-hour, waiting for it because it took forever to do these shots.

"We did a few tests in Stockholm with a film camera so I could show her (Madonna) the technique I was talking about, and the test actually came out so good, that it ended up the final video. So there's a lot of shots from Stockholm in there. Of course, we didn’t shoot digital - we shot with a big, 35mm camera. We had this diagram that I had in my pocket for the whole production where it said how many frames per minute or per second that we needed to do in order to get the certain amount of footage.

"So let's say you shoot one frame every 10 seconds or so? Then you have to do that for 30 minutes to get like 5 seconds. Stuff like that we mounted the camera on a bus, I remember, driving around in New York. That was like a pretty big effort for a 20-frame thing [laughs]. Everything was like a huge thing considering how much that actually ended up in the video because it's happening so fast.

"Every shot was just like such a big deal. I think we ended up using everything we shot, too. The song was long - I remember in the edit thinking that the song was too long because I used up all the footage. At the time, I really didn’t think about it (winning the VMAs). I was there with my Swedish friends, just drinking beer and though it was great that the beer was for free. But looking back, it was a life-changing moment for me."

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