Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, the third of eight children in a large traditional Italian family, was named after her mother who passed away from breast cancer when Madonna was only six years old. Sylvio Ciccone raised his children not only with a solid Catholic background, but with a disciplined work ethic as well.
In high school Madonna was a cheerleader and straight-A student. She fell in love with dance and sometimes spent up to five hours a day taking dance classes and working out. Upon graduation she won a dance scholarship to the University Of Michigan.
In 1977 she went to New York, studying with noted choreographer Alvin Ailey and taking modelling jobs. Two years later, Madonna moved to France to join a show featuring disco singer Patrick Hernandez. There she met Dan Gilroy and, back in New York, the pair formed club band the Breakfast Club.
Madonna played drums and sang with the band before setting up Emmy in 1980 with Detroit-born drummer Steve Bray. Together, Madonna and Bray created dance tracks which led to a recording deal with Sire Records. With leading New York disc jockey Mark Kamins producing, she recorded 'Everybody', a US club hit in 1982.
From 1985-87, she turned out a stream of irresistibly catchy hit singles.
In 1990, her career reached a new peak of publicity and commercial success.
After struggling for several years in the dance world she began to broaden her artistic horizons. She turned her energies to music, and the rest, as you know, is a historical and legendary work in progress...