Madonna Louise Ciccone (/tʃɪˈkoʊni/, Italian: [tʃikˈkoːne]; born August 16, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Referred to as the “Queen of Pop” since the 1980s, Madonna is known for pushing the boundaries of songwriting in mainstream popular music and for the imagery she uses onstage and in music videos. She has frequently reinvented her music and image while maintaining autonomy within the recording industry. Her works have been praised by music critics and have sparked controversy. Madonna is often cited as an influence by other artists.
Born and raised in Michigan, Madonna moved to New York City in 1978 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing as a drummer, guitarist, and vocalist in the rock bands Breakfast Club and Emmy, Madonna signed with Sire Records in 1982 and released her eponymous debut album the next year. She followed it with a series of successful albums, including global bestsellers Like a Virgin (1984) and True Blue (1986) as well as Grammy Award winners Ray of Light (1998) and Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005). Many of her songs have reached the top of record charts worldwide, including “Like a Virgin”, “La Isla Bonita”, “Like a Prayer”, “Vogue”, “Take a Bow”, “Frozen”, “Music”, “Hung Up”, and “4 Minutes”.
Madonna’s popularity was further enhanced by her roles in films such as Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Dick Tracy (1990), A League of Their Own (1992), and Evita (1996). While Evita earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, many of her other films received poor reviews. As a businesswoman, Madonna founded an entertainment company called Maverick (including the label Maverick Records) in 1992. Her other ventures include fashion design, children’s books, health clubs, and filmmaking. She contributes to various charities, having founded Ray of Light Foundation in 1998 and Raising Malawi in 2006.
Having sold more than 300 million records worldwide, Madonna is noted as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records. The Recording Industry Association of America listed her as the third highest-certified female artist in the U.S., with 64.5 million album units. According to Billboard, Madonna is the most successful solo artist in its Hot 100 chart history. She is also the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time, accumulating U.S. $1.4 billion from her concert tickets. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility, Madonna topped VH1’s countdown of 100 Greatest Women in Music. Rolling Stone listed her among the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.