Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone was born on August 16, 1958 in Bay City, Michigan, USA. She is the third of six children in a Catholic family. Her father, Sylvio, also known as Tony, was a design engineer for Chrysler/General Dynamics. Madonna’s mother was of French Canadian descent who died of breast cancer when Madonna was five years old. Tony Ciccone moved the family to Pontiac, Michigan and married one of the women hired to care for the Ciccone household. The adjustment was difficult for Madonna as the eldest daughter.
She had considered herself the “lady of the house” and had received much of her father’s affection and attention.
Madonna acted in school plays in her early school years. As a teenager, she discovered her love and talent for dancing, an activity she pursued under the direction and leadership of Christopher Flynn, her private ballet instructor. However, she graduated early from high school and was awarded a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan. She stayed two years before going to New York City in 1978 with thirty-seven dollars and a wealth of determination and ambition.
In 1981, Madonna decided to go solo and hired manager Camille Barbone of Gotham Records to help her get her singing career on track. Camille showed Madonna how to navigate the male-dominated world of music and helped put together a studio band that accentuated the budding star’s hip style. Friend, Stephen Bray, a musician in her band, wrote her first hit, ‘Everybody’ and Madonna used her brash business style to get the recordings to New York music producer Mark Kamins. Kamins then helped Madonna score a record deal with Sire Records. ‘Everybody’ hit number one on the dance charts in 1982.
This intensity and determination was apparent in her 1985 follow-up album, Like a Virgin, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Chart and went platinum in a month. She also starred in her first mainstream feature film, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ (1985), and performed the soundtrack’s single, ‘Into the Groove,’ which hit No. 1 in the U.S.
By 1991, she had achieved 21 Top 10 hits in the United States and sold more than 70 million albums internationally generating $1.2 billion in sales. Committed to controlling her career, Madonna helped found Maverick Records, a label under the Warner Music Group, in April of 1992. She won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture and the song, ‘You Must Love Me,’ earned her an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song.
Madonna is the most successful female recording artiste of all time selling over 250 million records (75 million singles and 175 million albums), more than any other female recording artistes.
She has 12 No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart, the same number as Diana Ross and The Supremes and behind only Mariah Carey’s 16 among female artistes and also 6 No. 2 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart, the most for a female artistes, tying her with Elvis Presley for the records plus many more top singles and albums in various figures.
She is also the most successful dance artistes in music history; with 33 No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play Singles Chart, more than twice the number of her nearest rival Janet Jackson. Madonna also has 25 No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Hot Dance Single Sales Chart, more than three times the number of her nearest rivals Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Prince, and Notorious B.I.G.
Madonna was voted by MTV viewers as the greatest music video icon ever on the network’s 25 Greatest Video Stars and named the sexiest recording artiste ever on VH1′s 100 Sexiest Artistes.
In 1986, Madonna received the Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards honoring her for outstanding achievements in the realm of music video.
Madonna is the most successful act in the history of MTV’s Video Music Awards with an all time record 67 VMA nominations and 19 VMA wins.
In 2004 Madonna became one of the five founding members of the UK Music Hall of Fame, joining Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Bob Marley, and U2 as automatic inductees.