Madonna (entertainer)

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Madonna (entertainer) : biography

August 16, 1958 –

Madonna turned to her grandmother in the hope of finding some solace and some form of her mother in her. The Ciccone siblings resented housekeepers and invariably rebelled against anyone brought into their home ostensibly to take the place of their beloved mother. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Madonna commented that she saw herself in her youth as a "lonely girl who was searching for something. I wasn’t rebellious in a certain way. I cared about being good at something. I didn’t shave my underarms and I didn’t wear make-up like normal girls do. But I studied and I got good grades … I wanted to be somebody." Terrified that her father could be taken from her as well, Madonna could often not sleep unless she was near him. Her father married the family’s housekeeper Joan Gustafson in 1966, and they had two children: Jennifer and Mario Ciccone. At this point, Madonna began to express unresolved feelings of anger towards her father that lasted for decades, and developed a rebellious attitude. She attended St. Frederick’s and St. Andrew’s Catholic Elementary Schools, and then West Middle School. She was known for her high grade point average, and achieved notoriety for her unconventional behavior: she would perform cartwheels and handstands in the hallways between classes, dangle by her knees from the monkey bars during recess, and pull up her skirt during class—all so that the boys could see her underwear.

Madonna later attended Rochester Adams High School where she became a straight-A student and a member of the cheerleading squad. After graduating, she received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan. She convinced her father to allow her to take ballet lessons and was persuaded by Christopher Flynn, her ballet teacher, to pursue a career in dance. In 1978, she dropped out of college and relocated to New York City. She had little money and worked as a waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts and with modern dance troupes. Madonna said of her move to New York, "It was the first time I’d ever taken a plane, the first time I’d ever gotten a taxi cab. I came here with $35 in my pocket. It was the bravest thing I’d ever done." She started to work as a backup dancer for other established artists. During a late night, Madonna was returning from a rehearsal, when she was dragged up an alleyway by a pair of men at knifepoint and forced to perform fellatio. Madonna characterized the attack as rape; she later commented that "the episode was a taste of my weakness, it showed me that I still could not save myself in spite of all the strong-girl show. I could never forget it." While performing as a dancer for the French disco artist Patrick Hernandez on his 1979 world tour, Madonna became romantically involved with musician Dan Gilroy. Together, they formed her first rock band, the Breakfast Club, for which Madonna sang and played drums and guitar. In 1980 or 1981 she left Breakfast Club and, with her former boyfriend Stephen Bray as drummer, formed the band Emmy. Their music impressed DJ and record producer Mark Kamins who arranged a meeting between Madonna and Sire Records founder Seymour Stein.

1982–85: Sire Records, Madonna, Like a Virgin and marriage to Sean Penn

After Madonna signed a singles deal with Sire, her debut single, "Everybody", was released on April 24, 1982, and became a dance hit. In February 1984, according to the film director Sir Richard Attenborough, she auditioned at the Royale Theatre on Broadway for a dance role in his movie version of A Chorus Line using her birth-name of Ciccone. He rejected her.Entirely Up To You, Darling by Diana Hawkins & Richard Attenborough; page 133; paperback; Arrow Books; published 2009. isbn 978-0-099-50304-0 At about the same time, she started developing her debut album, Madonna, which was primarily produced by Reggie Lucas, a Warner Bros. producer. However, she was not happy with the completed tracks and disagreed with Lucas’ production techniques, so decided to seek additional help. Madonna moved in with boyfriend John "Jellybean" Benitez, asking his help for finishing the album’s production. Benitez remixed most of the tracks and produced "Holiday", which was her third single. The overall sound of Madonna is dissonant, and is in the form of upbeat synthetic disco, utilizing some of the new technology of the time, like the Linn drum machine, Moog bass and the OB-X synthesizer. The album peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200, and yielded the hit singles "Holiday", "Borderline" and "Lucky Star".