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Madonna: the most successful pop recording artist of all time, according to the Guiness Book of World Records, and a controversial but fascinating figure in recent pop culture, according to just about everyone. She’s also very, very rich. But just how does one get so rich and famous? To understand, one must familiarize oneself with the madonna biography. Madonna Louise Ciccone entered the world on August 16, 1958 via Bay City, Michigan, and grew up in Detroit. She was the third of eight children in an Italian-American family. Breast cancer took her mother’s life when Madonna was just five years old. Her father remarried the family housekeeper and had two children. Growing up, Madonna was a straight-A student, a high school cheerleader, and a ballet student.
At the age of twenty, she left university and showed up in New York City with just thirty-five dollars in her pocket. She worked a variety of odd jobs to support herself, ranging from Dunkin’ Donuts to nude modeling. Madonna performed in two bands, Breakfast Club and Emmy, before rising to fame as a solo artist. Her work in these two groups caught the attention of a DJ/record producer. In 1982, madonna signed a deal with Sire Records. Her very first song was a club anthem called Everybody that failed to make the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, her early club successes convinced her label to launch an album, and her debut album hit stores in 1983. What followed was a slew of successes: Holiday, Borderline and Lucky Star, to name just a few. But it wasn’t just Madonna’s music that was getting attention. Girls just loved her fashion style, and soon so many a madonna fan was donning lace tops, fishnet stockings and bleached blonde hair that a local mall could easily look like a madonna gallery.
Madonna’s first number-one hit was Like a Virgin, which displayed some of the most controversial madonna lyrics so far. Madonna performed this and other hits like Material Girl on various televised awards shows wearing garters and other provocative clothing, gaining fans and pissing off critics worldwide. Samples of her nude modeling from the 1970s later appeared in Penthouse and Playboy. Madonna used the scandal to establish herself as strong and feminist, appearing on magazines under the caption “I’m Not Ashamed.” Madonna also received thumbs-up for her original and artistic videos, in which she explored everything from sex to religion to social issues. Madonna released numerous hit singles, including Like a Prayer, hung up and Into the Groove. She also acted and directed. But every true madonna fan loved her just as much for her publicity stunts as for her creative work. For example, in a Pepsi commercial featuring the song Like a Prayer, she burned crosses and made out with Jesus. She also masturbated on various stages worldwide to her song Like a Virgin, and released a sexually explicit S&M-themed video for her song Justify My Love, which was banned on many music TV stations. She then released an album called Erotica, dubbed by critics as porn music. The one area where madonna often manages to disappoint is the realm of celebrity gossip.
In the late 1980s she shared a brief, turbulent and much-publicized marriage with actor Sean Penn, but her boyfriends after him were, from a media perspective, pretty boring: Warren Beatty, a young bisexual model named Tony Ward, a fitness trainer who later fathered her daughter Lourdes. Amusingly, Madonna briefly dated now-defunct rapper Vanilla Ice, which made for an interesting merging of the two ends of the success spectrum. Madonna is now married to English writer-director Guy Ritchie, the father of her son Rocco. For the past several years, Madonna has lived in England and spoken with an irritating undeveloped English accent. Like all celebrities, or perhaps even more so that most celebrities, Madonna has long been a subject of scrutiny and attack. It sometimes seems that for every a madonna fan, there’s an anti-Madonna crusader. The latter category contains some of the biggest names in pop music, particularly female names. Many feel that calling madonna the “Queen of Pop” is unjust, seeing as her vocal range is limited and her song lyrics are bland. (And, as we all know, a good voice and pithy lyrics are mandatory for a successful pop career.) Musical greats like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Canada’s Joni Mitchell have all spoken out against Madonna. The one pop diva who seems to have no problems with madonna is Britney Spears. Britney has repeatedly proclaimed herself a devout madonna fan, and the britney and madonna kiss was the television event of the year in 2003. Nowadays, madonna is in the news more often for her personal life than for her career. In October 2006, she made headlines when, during her trip to a Malawi orphanage she filed for adoption of a baby boy from Malawi, David. Normally, Malawian law demands one year of residence before prospective parents can adopt a Malawian child. However, Madonna flew young David out of Malawi a mere six days after having filed for adoption. This begged the question: did madonna get special treatment because of her celebrity status? Even many a madonna fan had to admit the situation smelled funny. In an attempt to put the public at ease, madonna appeared on an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show and pointed out that Malawi has no written laws concerning adoption by a foreigner.
Furthermore, she chastised the media for discouraging people from adopting African children. She pointed out that she’d rescued David from illness, and that such a task had long been her goal: , "I wanted to go into a Third World country—I wasn't sure where—and give a life to a child who might not otherwise have had one. Human rights activists worldwide continued to protest, going so far as to say that the baby’s father did not know the difference between “adoption” and “fostering.” The baby’s father, however, seems to refute this claim. The controversy continues, but little David remains in Madonna’s care. A slightly older but equally interesting story is Madonna’s switch to the Kabbalah religion. Since the late 1990s, Madonna, known to fellow Kabbalah disciples as Esther, has been an ardent student and devotee. Rumor has it that the once-stingy celeb has handed over millions to various Kabbalah centres in New York, London and Los Angeles. Naturally, naysayers accused madonna of trying to start yet another fad, but Madonna remains committed, even going so far as to publicly defend Kabbalah against claims that it is just a cult. She maintains that Kabbalah is a lot more tolerant than Christianity.