When Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2008, she said the people who helped make her one of the world’s most successful female musicians were those who once said she was “talentless” and “couldn’t sing.” These people, she added, “pushed me to be better, and I am grateful for their resistance.”
Born in Bay City, Michigan, in 1958, Madonna Louise Ciccone was raised in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills. The oldest daughter of Madonna and Silvio Ciccone, she was named after her mother, who died when Madonna was six.
As a youngster, Madonna took piano lessons and also fell in love with dancing. She was an excellent student and a high school cheerleader. Upon graduation from high school, she earned a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan.
Madonna spent two years in Ann Arbor before heading to New York City to pursue a dance career. She found New York City difficult, having arrived there with only $35 in her pocket and no job prospects. She later remembered, “It was the bravest thing I’d ever done.”
Madonna’s big break came in 1983 when her first record (“Everybody”) became a national hit. More hits followed. When asked to describe her music, she said, “It’s to cheer people up. People go out to dance to get away and forget their problems.”
Portraying the image of a rebel, Madonna’s songs and her image appealed to teenage girls. The introduction of music videos on television in the late 1980s also gave her a good way to showcase her singing and dancing.
Besides success as a singer, Madonna has other accomplishments. She has starred in several movies (Dick Tracy, Evita, and A League of Their Own) and is currently writing children’s books.
Today, Madonna lives in England with her husband Guy Ritchie and their three children. She continues to sing and tour. The 1.2 million concert-goers who bought tickets on her 2006 worldwide tour made it one of the most successful tours ever by a female artist.
In twenty-five years of performing, Madonna has sold more than 200 million records and CDs, and she has no plans to stop performing any time soon.
To learn more about Michigan’s music history, look for the current issue of Michigan History for Kids magazine. Call (800) 366-3703 or visit www.michiganhistorymagazine.com for more information.
You can read more about Madonna from Wikipedia and also visit Madonna.com for concert info, videos and more Madonna than you can probably handle. Speaking of videos, I guess we might as well roll back to the 80s with a classic fusion of Venice, lions and risky dancing: