Pop music singer Madonna was born Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone on August 16, 1958, in Bay City, Michigan. In 1976, Madonna was offered a full scholarship to the University of Michigan's dance program, but was later offered a six-week scholarship to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City and dropped out of college. During this time, she formed the rock band Emmy with her good friend and drummer Steve Bray, who helped produce and write her disco-oriented track "Everybody." Fighting for recognition in a male-dominated world of music, Madonna relentlessly sent out her track to producer/ DJ Mark Kamins, who then helped her land a record deal with Sire Records. After joining the Sir Records family, her single "Everybody" rose to the number one spot on the dance charts in 1982.
With her hit single by her side, Madonna persuaded Sire to produce her full-length debut album Madonna (1983), which featured her first big hit "Holiday." The single became a Top 40 hit and earned her a cameo on Dick Clark's American Bandstand in 1984, where she admitted her main life goal was "to rule the world." In addition to her burst of success, Madonna was soon recognized as a trendsetter by teenage girls across America due to her unique combination of punk and pop culture infused style, including her bright blonde bleached hair, lace gloves, and sexy lingerie with a touch of tomboy.
In 1985, Madonna released her second album Like a Virgin, which immediately went platinum and reached number one on the Billboard chart. Later that year, Madonna made her film debut in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) and contributed to the film's soundtrack with the No. 1 hit "Crazy for You." On August 16, 1985, she married actor Sean Penn and the two starred side by side in the adventure-comedy Shanghai Surprise (1986). The two divorced three years later, reportedly due to domestic abuse and Penn's erratic behavior.
Madonna's musical success extended with the release of her hit albums True Blue (1986), Who's that Girl (1987), and Like a Prayer (1989). She then returned to her film endeavor with the romantic comedy Who's That Girl(1987), Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989) and Dick Tracy (1990). Soon after, Madonna released the soundtrack album I'm Breathless: Music from and Inspired by Dick Tracy (1990), resulting in the top hits "Vogue" and "Hanky Panky."
Madonna's most controversial moment came with her on-stage performance of her hit song "Like a Virgin" at the MTV Music Awards, followed by the 1989 "Like a Prayer" music video, which comprised of sexual innuendos, religious ideologies, burning crosses, and multiracial relations.
In spite of the controversy surrounding her work, Madonna's popularity continued to soar in 1991, with twenty-one Top 10 hits, over 70 million albums sold around the world and earning $1.2 billion in sales. She continued expanding her career with an appearance in the Blonde Ambition tour documentary Truth or Dare (1991), followed by her soft-core pornographic coffee-table book Sex (1992). The book sold 150,000 copies in the first day and later sold the remaining 1.5 million copies, declaring it the most successful coffee-table book ever sold. During this time, Madonna released the album Erotica (1992), which went double platinum a year later.
In 1996, Madonna took advantage of her well-earned stardom and starred in the critically praised adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Evita (1996). She later won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture and earned an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song with the song "You Must Love Me." During this time, Madonna gave birth to Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon with her past lover Carlos Leon.
After marrying director Guy Ritchie and giving birth to their son Rocco John Ritchie, Madonna transitioned from big-screen roles to a role in the play Up for Grabs (2000), followed by the release of her debut children's book The English Roses (2003). In 2004, Madonna was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame and she became the first artist to beat the Beatles' long-standing record for most gold certified singles in the U.S. with the release of her album Confessions on a Dancefloor (2005).
Madonna's reign over the world of pop continued in 2008, with the release of her album Hard Candy, followed by her eleventh No. 1 album in the U.K., Celebration (2009). With its release, Madonna tied Elvis Presley for a solo act with the most No. 1 albums in the U.K.
In February 2012, Madonna performed her newest single "Give Me All Your Luvin" at Super Bowl XLVI and later released her most recent album MDNA in March 2012.