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Madonna – Icon of the 20th and 21st Centuries

There are very few people alive today who have not heard of the pop artist commonly called ‘Madonna’. In the 2000 Guinness World Records book, Madonna is listed as being ‘the most successful female recording artist of all time’. At the time of publishing she had enjoyed the worldwide sale of approximately 120 million albums. Just five years later that figure had reached 200 million albums.

Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritchie was born in 1958 in Michigan in the United States, the third of six children to Silvio Ciccone and Madonna Louisa Fortin. She was raised in Detroit in a Catholic household, though, unfortunately, her mother passed away from breast cancer when Madonna was just five years old. She started her career in the arts by convincing her father to allow her to take ballet classes as a youth. It was her ballet teacher who first exposed Madonna to the glitz and glamour of gay discotheques – something which must have made quite an impression on the young aspiring artist’s mind. As a teenager, Madonna attended Rochester Adams High School where she was a straight-A student and member of the cheerleading squad.

Realizing that life had more to offer her, in 1978 at twenty years of age, Madoona moved to New York City to pursue a career in dancing. When she arrived she had just $35 in her pocket and for a while she really struggled just to survive. But before long she started to build up a reputation in the dance world, performing with several modern dance companies and studying under top dance artists. She started her singing career after forming her first rock band, ‘the Breakfast Club’, with disco artists Patrick Hernandez. In 1980 she formed the band 'Emmy' with former boyfriend Stephen Bray. Her work with Bray started to bring her a lot of positive public attention and before long she was recording records and signing record deals.

Her rise to fame officially started with her first singles deal with Sire Records. The hit song ‘Everybody’ was widely enjoyed but did not make much of an impact on the Billboard Hot 100. Nevertheless, the artist started to churn out her trademark, energy-charged songs and soon they met with massive success. She was finally granted the finances to record her first album and the rest is history as they say. Over the years Madonna has been one of the most controversial female artists of the 20th and 21st century, releasing albums such as ‘Like A Prayer’ and ‘Erotica’ with mixed reactions. She is known for continuously and creatively reinventing her image and has thus far managed to stay at the top of the music industry for just over two decades. She is not only a singer-songwriter, but also a talented dancer, an actress, a fashion icon, an author and a record and film producer. Her live performances are noted for being absolutely riveting and she is currently the highest earning female singer of all time.

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