Madonna Louise Ciccone (/tʃɪˈkoʊni/; Italian: [tʃikˈkoːne]; born August 16, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, dancer and businesswoman. She achieved popularity by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music and imagery in her music videos, which became a fixture on MTV. Madonna is known for reinventing both her music and image, and for maintaining her autonomy within the recording industry. Music critics have acclaimed her musical productions, which have generated some controversy. Often referred to as the “Queen of Pop”, she is cited as an influence by numerous other artists around the world.
Born in Bay City, Michigan, Madonna attended the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance before moving to New York City to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she signed with Sire Records (an auxiliary label of Warner Bros. Records) in 1982 and released her self-titled debut album the following year. She followed it with a series of commercially successful albums, including the Grammy Award winners Ray of Light (1998) and Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005). Throughout her career, Madonna has written and produced most of her songs, with many of them reaching number one on the record charts, including “Like a Virgin”, “Into the Groove”, “Papa Don’t Preach”, “Like a Prayer”, “Vogue”, “Frozen”, “Music”, “Hung Up”, and “4 Minutes”.
Madonna’s popularity was further enhanced by her film roles; she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for Evita (1996), but most of her other films have been panned by critics. Her other ventures include fashion design, writing children’s books, and filmmaking. She has been acclaimed as a businesswoman, particularly after she founded entertainment company Maverick (including the label Maverick Records) in 1992 as a joint venture with Time Warner. In 2007 she signed an unprecedented US $120 million 360 deal with Live Nation.
Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) listed her as the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second best-selling female artist in the United States, with 64.5 million certified albums. According to Billboard, Madonna is the top touring female artist of all time, grossing over a billion dollars from her concerts. She was ranked at number two, behind only The Beatles, on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, making her the most successful solo artist in the history of American singles chart. Madonna became one of the five founding members of the UK Music Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility.