Madonna performing during the 2006 Confessions tour.
Birth name Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone
Born August 16, 1958
Origin Bay City, Michigan, United States
Pop, Dance, Rock, Disco, R&B, Jazz, Electronica
Occupation(s) Singer, record producer, film producer, musician, dancer, author, and actress
Vocals and guitar
Years active 1982 - present
Warner Bros. Records (2005-present)
Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone (born August 16, 1958), better known worldwide by only her first name Madonna, is an American pop singer, musician, record and film producer, dancer, actor, and children's author. Referred to as the "Queen of Pop", she is noted for her innovative music videos, elaborately mounted stage performances, and use of political, sexual, and religious themes and imagery in her work.
In 2000, The Guinness Book of Records credited Madonna as the most successful female recording artist of all time, with estimated worldwide sales of 120 million albums. Her record label, Warner Bros. Records.reported in 2005 that she had achieved international sales in excess of 200 million albums.
" 1 Biography
o 1.1 Early life
o 1.2 1980-1985: Beginning and rise to fame
o 1.3 1986-1991: Artistic development
o 1.4 1992-1997: Sex controversy and Evita
o 1.5 1998-2002: Return to commercial prominence
o 1.6 2003-2006: Commercial ups and downs
" 2 Acting and film career
o 2.1 Documentaries
o 2.2 Short films
" 3 Influences
o 3.1 Italian heritage, family and Catholicism
o 3.2 Musical styles and singers
o 3.3 Film stars
" 4 Personal life
o 4.1 Relationships and family
o 4.2 Gay community
o 4.3 Kabbalah Centre
o 4.4 Political views
" 5 Discography
" 6 References
" 7 See also
" 8 External links
Madonna Ciccone was born in Bay City, Michigan. She is the third of six children born to Silvio "Tony" P. Ciccone, a Chrysler engineer of Italian American extraction, whose parents originated from Pacentro, in the region of Abruzzo, Italy, and Madonna Louise Fortin, a French Canadian. She was raised in a Catholic family in the Detroit suburbs of Pontiac and Rochester Hills. Madonna's mother died of breast cancer at age thirty on December 1, 1963, 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 piano lessons, Madonna convinced him to allow her to take ballet 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 cheerleading squad. After graduating high school in 1976, she received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan. In 1977, with Flynn's encouragement, Madonna left college at the end of her second year and moved to New York City 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 Dunkin' Donuts. She also worked as a nude model on occasion. She studied with Martha Graham and Pearl Lang, and later performed with several modern dance companies, including Alvin Ailey and the Walter Nicks dancers. While performing as a dancer for the French disco artist, Patrick Hernandez, on his 1979 world tour, Madonna met and became romantically involved with the musician Dan Gilroy, with whom she later formed her first rock band, the Breakfast Club, 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 Stephen Bray. She and Bray wrote and produced a number of solo disco and dance songs that brought her local attention in New York dance clubs. D.J. and record producer Mark Kamins was sufficiently impressed by her demo recordings to bring them to the attention of Sire Records founder Seymour Stein.
1980-1985: Beginning and rise to fame
Madonna in her first music video for "Everybody," 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 Sire Records in the United States that paid her $5,000 per song. Her first release, "Everybody," 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 Billboard Hot 100. 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 "Burning Up" and "Physical Attraction" followed in late 1982, and was a success on the U.S. dance charts. These results convinced Sire Records executives to finance a full-length album.
Her debut album Madonna (1983), a collection of dance songs, was primarily produced by Reggie Lucas, but early in the recording process both realized that they could not work well together. After initial production on the album was completed, Madonna took the finished but unsatisfactory album to her then-boyfriend, John "Jellybean" Benitez, who remixed and rearranged it. It reached number eight on the U.S. albums chart and contained five successful singles, including her first world-wide hit, "Holiday", and has since been certified 5x platinum with world sales in excess of twelve million copies. According to Australian music guru Ian "Molly" Meldrum, it was Australia who gave Madonna her first hit for the song "Holiday" on Meldrum's hugely popular show "Countdown." Madonna became popular with teenagers due to her sexy appearance, and it wasn't long before teenage girls, who were known as "wannabes", were dressing up as her. 
Her follow up album, Like a Virgin (1984), was an international success, and became her first number one album on the U.S. albums chart. Buoyed by the success of its title track, whichreached number one across the world, including a six week stay at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, the album has sold nineteen million copies worldwide. and produced four top-five singles in the U.S. and the UK. Her performance of the song at the first MTV Video Music Awards, during which she writhed on the stage (on top of a wedding cake) wearing a combination bustier/wedding gown, lacy stockings and garters and her then-trademark "Boy Toy" belt, was the first of several public displays that boosted Madonna's