Madonna performing during the 2006 tour.
Birth | Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone
Born | ,
Origin | , ,
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Occupation(s) | , , , , , , and
Years | 1982 — present
Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone (born , ), better known worldwide by only her first name Madonna, is an , , and , , , and . Referred to as the "Queen of Pop", she is noted for her innovative , elaborately mounted stage performances, and use of political, sexual, and religious themes and imagery in her work.
In 2000, credited Madonna as the most successful female recording artist of all time, with estimated worldwide sales of 120 million albums. Her record label, .reported in 2005 that she had achieved international sales in excess of 200 million albums.
Madonna Ciccone was born in , . She is the third of six children born to Silvio "Tony" P. Ciccone, a Chrysler engineer of extraction, whose parents originated from , in the region of , , and Madonna Louise Fortin, a . She was raised in a family in the suburbs of and . Madonna's mother died of at age thirty on , , and Madonna has frequently discussed the impact her mother's death had on her life and career, calling it "one of the hardest things I've faced in my life." Her father later married the family housekeeper, Joan Gustafson, and they had two children.
Tony Ciccone required his children to take music lessons; however, after a few months of lessons, Madonna convinced him to allow her to take classes instead. Madonna's ballet teacher, Christopher Flynn, mentored her in dance and provided Madonna with her first exposure to gay discotheques, a scene that would later have an impact on her music and style. She attended Rochester Adams High School, where she was a straight-A student, excelled at sports, and was a member of the squad. After graduating high school in 1976, she received a dance scholarship to the . In 1977, with Flynn's encouragement, Madonna left college at the end of her second year and moved to in July 1978 to pursue a dance career. Looking back at her arrival in New York, Madonna has said: "When I came to New York it was the first time I'd ever taken a plane, the first time I'd ever gotten a taxi-cab, the first time for everything. And I came here with 35 dollars in my pocket. It was the bravest thing I'd ever done."
Madonna experienced financial difficulties, and for some time lived in squalor and worked a series of low-paying jobs, including a stint at . She also worked as a nude model on occasion. She studied with and , and later performed with several companies, including and the . While performing as a dancer for the disco artist, , on his 1979 world tour, Madonna met and became romantically involved with the musician Dan Gilroy, with whom she later formed her first , the , in New York. In addition to providing vocals, she played drums and guitar, before forming the band Emmy in 1980 with drummer and former boyfriend . She and Bray wrote and produced a number of solo disco and dance songs that brought her local attention in New York dance clubs. and record producer was sufficiently impressed by her to bring them to the attention of founder .
1980–1985: Beginning and rise to fame
Madonna in her first for "," a low-budget video that featured Madonna and her dancers in a rather dark New York club.
In 1980, Madonna signed a singles deal with in the that paid her $5,000 per song. Her first release, "," a self-written song produced by Mark Kamins, became a dance hit in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Chart, but failed to make an impact on the . It also gained airplay on U.S. R&B radio stations, leading many to assume that Madonna was a black artist. The double-sided 12" vinyl single featuring "" and "Physical Attraction" followed in late 1982, and was a success on the U.