Madonna Louise Ciccone was born on August 16, 1958, in Bay City, Michigan, as the third child of Silvio Anthony “Tony” Ciccone and Madonna Louise Fortin. Madonna attended various Catholic schools and was known for her high grade point average and unconventional behavior. Madonna’s father put her in classical piano lessons, but she later convinced him to let her take ballet lessons.
Madonna became a straight-A student and a member of the cheerleading squad at Rochester Adams High School. She received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan, but in 1978 she dropped out and moved to New York City with only $35 in her pocket. Madonna worked at Dunkin’ Donuts while taking dance classes and performing with modern dance troupes.
In 1979, Madonna started dating musician Dan Gilroy and formed her first band, the Breakfast Club. Madonna left the band in 1980 with drummer Stephen Bray and formed the band Emmy and the Emmys, but eventually decided to promote herself as a solo artist.
In 1981, Madonna signed a contract with Gotham Records and worked with Camille Barbone as her manager. DJ Mark Kamins introduced Madonna to Seymour Stein, the president of Sire Records, and she signed a deal for three singles with an option for an album. Kamins produced Madonna’s debut single, “Everybody,” which was released in October 1982, followed by “Burning Up” in March 1983.
Following the success of the singles, Warner hired Reggie Lucas to produce Madonna’s self-titled debut album, which was released in July 1983. However, Madonna was dissatisfied with the completed tracks and disagreed with Lucas’ production techniques, so she asked John “Jellybean” Benitez to help finish the album’s production. And this was the start of her highly successful music career.
Madonna’s Music Career
Madonna has had an incredibly successful music career spanning over four decades, with countless hit songs, groundbreaking music videos, and numerous accolades. Madonna’s discography includes 14 studio albums, three soundtrack albums, five compilation albums, and 82 singles.
Madonna’s self-titled debut album, released in 1983, was a commercial success, reaching number eight on the Billboard 200 and yielding two top-ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100, “Borderline” and “Lucky Star.” Her second album, Like a Virgin (1984), became her first number-one album on the Billboard 200 and solidified her as a pop icon. The title track, “Like a Virgin,” became her first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and other successful singles from the album included “Material Girl” and “Angel.”
In 1986, Madonna released True Blue, which was another critical and commercial success, featuring hits such as “Papa Don’t Preach” and “True Blue.” The album spent five weeks at number one on the Billboard 200, and it has since sold over 25 million copies worldwide. In 1987, Madonna released the soundtrack for her film Who’s That Girl, which included the title track and “Causing a Commotion,” both of which were top-ten hits.
You Can Dance (1987) was Madonna’s first remix album, which featured seven of her biggest hits in remixed form, as well as a new track, “Spotlight.” The album was another commercial success, peaking at number 14 on the Billboard 200.
Like a Prayer (1989) marked a new era for Madonna, with more mature themes and a more serious tone. The album was another commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard 200 and yielding several hit singles, including the title track, “Express Yourself,” and “Cherish.” The music video for the title track, which featured Madonna dancing in front of burning crosses, sparked controversy and criticism from religious groups.
In 1990, Madonna released two albums: I’m Breathless, the soundtrack for her film Dick Tracy, which included the hit song “Vogue,” and The Immaculate Collection, a compilation album featuring her greatest hits up to that point, as well as two new songs, “Justify My Love” and “Rescue Me.” The Immaculate Collection has sold over 30 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time.
Madonna’s sixth studio album, Erotica (1992), marked another change in direction for the artist, with more explicit sexual themes and a darker sound. The album was a commercial success, but it received mixed reviews from critics. The title track and “Deeper and Deeper” were both top-ten hits.
Bedtime Stories (1994) saw Madonna return to a more mainstream sound and was a commercial success, yielding hit singles such as “Secret,” “Take a Bow,” and “Bedtime Story.” Something to Remember (1995) was another compilation album, this time featuring Madonna’s ballads and slow songs, as well as new tracks such as “You’ll See” and “One More Chance.”
In 1996, Madonna starred in the film adaptation of Evita, and the soundtrack album, Evita: Music from the Motion Picture, was a commercial and critical success, earning Madonna a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The album included the hit song “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”
Madonna’s seventh studio album, Ray of Light (1998), was a critical and commercial success, earning her four Grammy Awards and featuring hit singles such as “Frozen,” “Ray of Light,” and “The Power of Good-Bye.” The album showcased a more mature and introspective side of Madonna, with a heavier emphasis on electronic and dance music.
In 2000, Madonna released The Immaculate Collection, a greatest hits album that included many of her biggest hits from the 1980s and 1990s, as well as two new songs, “Beautiful Stranger” and “American Pie.” The album was a massive success, reaching number two on the Billboard 200 and selling over 10 million copies worldwide.
Madonna’s next studio album, Music (2000), continued in the same electronic and dance-influenced vein as Ray of Light, but with a more lighthearted and playful tone. The album’s lead single, “Music,” became Madonna’s 12th number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and the album itself debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Other hit singles from the album included “Don’t Tell Me” and “What It Feels Like for a Girl.”
In 2003, Madonna released American Life, which featured a more politically charged and introspective tone, with themes of war, materialism, and personal relationships. The album received mixed reviews and was a commercial disappointment compared to her previous releases. Its lead single, “American Life,” was controversial for its anti-war message and accompanying music video, which depicted Madonna throwing a grenade at a George W. Bush lookalike.
Madonna returned to her dance music roots with her 2005 album Confessions on a Dance Floor, which was produced by Stuart Price and featured a more retro disco sound. The album was a commercial and critical success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 and earning Madonna a Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album. The album’s lead single, “Hung Up,” became one of Madonna’s biggest hits, reaching number one in over 40 countries and becoming the most successful dance song of the 2000s.
After the success of Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna released Hard Candy in 2008. The album had a more urban and hip hop feel, with collaborations with producers Timbaland and Pharrell Williams. Its lead single, “4 Minutes” featuring Justin Timberlake, became another top-ten hit for Madonna, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The album also produced hits like “Give It 2 Me” and “Miles Away.”
Madonna’s next album, MDNA, was released in 2012 and featured collaborations with producers such as William Orbit, Martin Solveig, and Benny Benassi. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and included hit singles like “Give Me All Your Luvin'” and “Girl Gone Wild.”
In 2015, Madonna released Rebel Heart, which was preceded by the controversial leak of several unfinished demos from the album. The album featured collaborations with producers like Diplo, Kanye West, and Avicii, and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. The album’s lead single, “Living for Love,” became a hit on the dance charts, while other singles like “Ghosttown” and “Bitch I’m Madonna” featuring Nicki Minaj also received radio play.
Most recently, Madonna released Madame X in 2019, an album that explored Latin and world music influences, with collaborations with artists like Maluma and Quavo. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and included singles like “Medellín” and “Crave” featuring Swae Lee.
Madonna’s Acting Career
Madonna is known for her music career, but she has also made a name for herself in the film industry, both in front of and behind the camera. Her acting career began in 1985 with her debut film A Certain Sacrifice. Madonna played the lead role of Bruna in this independent movie, which explored themes of drug use, sex work, and violence.
Later that year, Madonna starred in three more films, including Vision Quest, in which she played a nightclub singer, and the comedy Desperately Seeking Susan, where she played the titular character. The latter film became a critical and commercial success, with Madonna’s performance receiving positive reviews.
Madonna continued to act in films throughout the 80s and 90s, starring in movies such as Shanghai Surprise (1986), Who’s That Girl (1987), Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989), Dick Tracy (1990), and A League of Their Own (1992). In 1991, she also released a documentary about her Blond Ambition Tour titled Madonna: Truth or Dare.
In 1996, Madonna landed the leading role of Eva Perón in the film adaptation of the musical Evita. Madonna’s performance in the film was well-received, earning her a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. She also contributed to the film’s soundtrack, which became a commercial success and earned her a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.
However, not all of Madonna’s films were critically acclaimed. Body of Evidence (1993) and Swept Away (2002), both of which she starred in, were panned by critics and failed at the box office.
Madonna has also dabbled in directing, making her directorial debut in 2008 with the comedy-drama Filth and Wisdom. The film received mixed reviews but marked the beginning of Madonna’s career as a filmmaker. She went on to direct the historical drama W.E. in 2011, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and earned mixed reviews.
In addition to her acting and directing career, Madonna has also made cameo appearances in films, starring as Verity, a fencing instructor in Bond movie Die Another Day (2002), she also sang the theme song for this Bond movie. She also produced the documentary I Am Because We Are (2008), which explores the lives of Malawian children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
In 2019, Madonna returned to her acting roots with a cameo appearance in the short film A Certain Sacrifice, a remake of the 1985 film in which she made her debut.
Madonna is one of the most successful musicians of all time, with an estimated net worth between US$590 million to $800 million. Forbes has named her the annual top-earning female musician 11 times, spanning four decades. She has sold over 300 million records worldwide, making her the bestselling female music artist of all time according to the Guinness World Records. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) also acknowledged her as the bestselling female rock artist of the 20th century, and the third highest-certified female albums artist in the United States, with 64.5 million certified album units.
Madonna holds numerous chart records and accolades. She is the most successful solo artist in the Hot 100 chart history and the most successful dance club artist of all time according to Billboard. With a total of 50 Dance Club Songs chart-toppers, Madonna became the artist with the most number ones on any singular Billboard chart. She has earned 38 top-ten singles on the Hot 100, which she held the record for among all artists for nearly two decades before being overtaken by Drake and Taylor Swift in 2022 among females.
Madonna has won seven Grammy Awards, and twenty MTV Video Music Awards. She has generated over US$1.5 billion from ticket sales of her concert tours throughout her career, making her the highest-grossing female touring artist of all time according to Billboard Boxscore. She is the only woman in history to have two solo concerts with 100,000 sold tickets, with her Who’s That Girl World Tour’s concert in Parc de Sceaux, Paris, drawing over 130,000 audiences, and her Girlie Show’s concert in Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, drawing over 120,000 audiences.
Internationally, Madonna holds the record for the most number-one singles by a female artist in Australia, Canada, Italy, Finland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. At the 40th anniversary of the GfK Media Control Charts, Madonna was ranked as the most successful singles artist in German chart history. Overall, Madonna’s contributions to the music industry have cemented her legacy as an iconic figure and a pop culture icon.
Madonna’s Personal Life
Madonna has been married twice. Her first marriage was to actor Sean Penn in 1985, but the couple divorced in 1989. She then married director Guy Ritchie in 2000, and the couple had a son, Rocco, and adopted a son from Malawi, David. However, Madonna and Ritchie divorced in 2008.
Madonna has four children in total. In addition to Rocco and David, she has two daughters, Lourdes (also known as Lola), with her former partner Carlos Leon, and Mercy, whom she adopted from Malawi.
Madonna has been involved in philanthropic work in Malawi, establishing the charity Raising Malawi in 2006 to provide aid to orphans and vulnerable children.
Madonna was born on August 16, 1958, in Bay City, Michigan, United States.
As of April 2023, Madonna is 64 years old.
Madonna is 5 feet 4 inches (163 cm) tall.
Madonna started singing in the late 1970s when she moved to New York City and began performing in clubs. Her first band was the Breakfast Club, but she left them in 1980, and decided to promote herself as a solo singer.
Her debut album Madonna was released in July 1983, this included the hits “Everybody”, “Burning Up”, “Holiday”, “Lucky Star”, and “Borderline”.
As of April 2023, Madonna’s relationship status is unknown.
Madonna’s ethnicity is Italian-American.
Madonna was raised Roman Catholic but has explored various spiritual and religious practices throughout her life.
Madonna has announced her upcoming Celebration Tour, which marks four decades of her biggest hits. The superstar will start her 2023 concert dates this summer and perform in 35 cities across North America and Europe.
Madonna has released 14 studio albums, 6 compilation albums, and 3 soundtracks, and numerous other releases.
Madonna has won over 400 awards throughout her career, including 7 Grammy Awards, 20 MTV Video Music Awards, 2 Brit Awards, 3 Echo Awards, and a Golden Globe Award.