This set of lyrics from Madonna’s single “Lucky Star” certainly can be used to describe her career — one that has been guided by unique style, talent and good fortune! Her 1983 debut album, Madonna, sparked more hits and praise than most performers can hope for in a lifetime! And now, with the recent release of her latest album, Like a Virgin, and two upcoming film roles, it looks as if all of Madonna’s wishes have been answered.
And her lucky star seems to be rising higher and higher!
Madonna is a fitting name for this dynamic beauty who has created her own self-styled fashion statement with uncombed hair, bracelets up to the elbows and a number of earrings on each ear. In a word, Madonna is unique. And, along with a small handful of other versatile performers, such as Sting and Prince, Madonna has become a one-name sensation!
Bom Madonna Ciccone (named after her mother who died when Madonna was 7 years old), 24 years ago in Detroit, Mich., Madonna comes from a large Italian family with five boys and three girls. She describes the home environment as being very competitive.
“My father brought me up to be very goal-oriented — to be a lawyer or doctor and study, study, study. We didn’t get allowances, but we definitely got rewards for achieving,” she says. And with all those siblings to compete with, Madonna sought out every opportunity to be number one. “I got the best grades, straight As … and all my brothers and sisters hated me!” she jokingly adds.
On the lighter side, however, Madonna also describes her upbringing as being very musical. When she was very young, she studied piano for a year, but quit after convincing her father to let her take ballet lessons year, but quit after convincing her father to let hn take ballet lessons instead. And soon after, she became involved in everything from jazz and tap to modern dance.
Madonna’s dance roots may seem like a strange beginning for someone who has blossomed into a dynamic singer, but as she explains, “I always had the idea that I wanted to be a performer, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to sing or dance or be an actress or what, so I concentrated on dancing.”
And what began with her winning the lead roles in her high school’s musicals sach as My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music, soon earned her a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan. Yet after only a year, Madonna was filled with the desire to dance professionally and she set aside her studies and decided to go test her talents in the big time — New York City!
“I moved to New York in ’78,” says Madonna. “I was only 17. I had $35 in my pocket and knew no one, I told the taxi driver to take me to the middle of everything. I was let off in Times Square,” she remembers.
Although this may have been a startling introduction for any other teenager Madonna made this overwhelming environment work for her.
And not long after her arrival, she auditioned for and won a dance scholarship with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and later studied the famous Martha Graham technique under the direction of one of Graham’s dance soloists. Pearl Lang.