“I started the whole thing on an Atari [ST] system with [Steinberg] Cubase II. I didn’t know that was unusual until about two-thirds of the way through when people would comment on it. At one point the thing even caught fire. Really. Smoke coming out of it. It was like, ‘What’s that smell? Oh, it’s burning components.’ But the funniest memory was Madonna who doesn’t do a lot of keyboard playing, messing around on a keyboard marked up with grease pencils. I mean, picture Madonna, the biggest pop star in the world, playing with this retro gear that you could buy for $50 in the Recycler.”
– William Orbit in an interview for Keyboard magazine (July 1998)
Madonna asked Orbit to produce her seventh studio album after being impressed by the remix work the British producer had done on her singles Justify My Love and Erotica, and after listening to his unreleased album. Orbit took Madonna’s sound into a new and exciting more experimental direction. Others working on the album were Madonna’s longtime collaborator Patrick Leonard and veteran producer Marius de Vries. Orbit was the only one working on Atari STs.
Ray of Light became a critical and commercial success and showed that Madonna was ready to take bold risks with her career. The biggest hits from the album were Frozen, which was accompanied by a breathtakingly beautiful video by Chris Cunningham, the title song Ray of Light and Drowned World.
Orbit won three Grammies for his work on Ray of Light and went on to produce Blur’s album 13, more music for Madonna for her albums Music and MDNA among many others.