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|Madonna Ciccone Ritchie (born Madonna Louise Ciccone in Bay City, Michigan, August 16, 1958), simply known by the stage name Madonna, is a pop singer whose long career has been marked by success and controversy.
She was raised in a large Italian American and French Canadian (both were devout Catholic) family in the Detroit suburb of Rochester. Madonna's mother died of cancer when Madonna was five years old. She took classes in piano and ballet, and was an active participant in a variety of artistic activities at school. She received a dance scholarship and attended the University of Michigan for two years but quit and moved to the Corona, Queens district of New York in 1978 to pursue dance and acting professionally. During this period she danced with several minor modern dance companies, including Ailey II and the Walter Nicks dancers. She appeared in a short film called A Certain Sacrifice and joined several punk-pop bands including Breakfast Club and Emmy. She eventually penned a number of songs that brought her local fame in gay dance clubs such as Danceteria.
Madonna scored her first recording deal in 1982 while sitting on the corner of the bed of an ailing Sire Records music executive. Her demo song, "Ain't No Big Deal", was written by frequent Madonna collaborator Stephen Bray, and was shelved for several years since it had just been recorded and released by the Epic Records group Barracuda. Five years later, Madonna's version finally surfaced on the B-side of the "True Blue" single, though it has never appeared on any of her albums.
Her first single "Everybody" produced by Mark Kamins was released without her photo on the jacket. This led many listeners to believe that she was, in fact, black. Thanks to the advent of MTV, however, her label was able to aggressively market Madonna's image. A playful and sexy combination of punk and pop culture, Madonna became a quick fixture on the network. Her bleached blonde hair (with black roots), sexy lace gloves, lingerie on the outside and "Boy Toy" belt buckle were soon all the rage in malls and schoolyards across America.
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