Madonna (entertainer)

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Madonna (entertainer) : biography

August 16, 1958 –

1998–2002: Ray of Light, Music and marriage to Guy Ritchie

After Lourdes’ birth, Madonna became involved in Eastern mysticism and Kabbalah. She was introduced to Jewish mysticism by actress Sandra Bernhard in 1997. Her seventh studio album, Ray of Light, (1998) reflected this change in her perception and image. The album garnered critical acclaim and Slant Magazine declared it as "one of the great pop masterpieces of the ’90s". Ray of Light was honored with four Grammy Awards, and listed as one of Rolling Stones "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Topping the charts in Australia, Canada, UK and mainland Europe, the album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200—held off from the top spot by the soundtrack to the film Titanic—and sold 16 million copies worldwide. The album’s first single, "Frozen", became Madonna’s first single to debut at number one in the UK, while in the U.S. it became her sixth number-two single and set another record for Madonna as the artist with the most number two hits. The song was banned in Belgium, however, adjudicated to be plagiarized from Belgian songwriter Salvatore Acquaviva’s 1993 song "Ma Vie Fout L’camp". The second single, "Ray of Light", debuted at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. Madonna’s relationship with Leon ended in December 1998; she declared that they were "better off as best friends." Following their break-up, Madonna signed to play a violin teacher in the film Music of the Heart but left the project, citing "creative differences" with director Wes Craven. She followed Ray of Light with the single "Beautiful Stranger", recorded for the 1999 film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. It reached number 19 on the Hot 100 solely on radio airplay and earned Madonna a Grammy Award for "Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media". In 1998, the Guinness Book of World Records stated: "No female artist has sold more records than Madonna around the world".

In 2000, Madonna starred in the film, The Next Best Thing, and contributed two songs to the film’s soundtrack: "Time Stood Still" and the international hit "American Pie", a cover version of Don McLean’s 1971 song. She released her eighth studio album, Music, in September 2000. It featured elements from the electronica-inspired Ray of Light era, and catered to her gay audience. Collaborating with French producer Mirwais Ahmadzaï, Madonna commented: "I love to work with the weirdos that no one knows about—the people who have raw talent and who are making music unlike anyone else out there. Music is the future of sound." Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic felt that "Music blows by in a kaleidoscopic rush of color, technique, style and substance. It has so many depth and layers that it’s easily as self-aware and earnest as Ray of Light." The album took the number-one position in more than 20 countries worldwide and sold four million copies in the first ten days. In the U.S., Music debuted at the top, and became her first number-one album in eleven years since Like a Prayer. It produced three singles: the Hot 100 number one "Music", "Don’t Tell Me" and "What It Feels Like for a Girl". The music video of "What It Feels Like for a Girl" depicted Madonna committing acts of crime and vandalism, and was banned by MTV and VH1.

Around the same time as the release of the Music album, Madonna began a relationship with Guy Ritchie, a film director she had met in 1999 through mutual friends Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler. On August 11, 2000, she gave birth to their son, Rocco Ritchie. In December, Madonna and Ritchie were married in a ceremony in Scotland. Her fifth concert tour, titled Drowned World Tour, started in April 2001. The tour visited cities in the U.S. and Europe and was the highest-grossing concert tour of the year by a solo artist, earning $75 million from 47 sold-out shows. She also released her second greatest-hits collection, titled GHV2, to coincide with the home video release of the tour. GHV2 debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200.