Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone; August 16, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Having sold over 300 million records worldwide, she is recognized as the world's top-selling female recording artist of all time by the Guinness World Records. Madonna is considered as one of the "25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century" by Time for being an influential figure in contemporary music. She is continuously reinventing her music as well as image, and retaining a standard of autonomy within the recording industry. Madonna has been praised by critics for her diverse musical productions which have also caused religious controversy. Born in Bay City, Michigan, in 1977 she moved to New York City, where she pursued a career in modern dance. She performed in the music groups Breakfast Cluband Emmy, and later released her debut album in 1983. This was followed by a series of albums that became immensely popular due to pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music and imagery in her music videos, which became a fixture on MTV.

Many of Madonna’s songs, including "Like a Virgin", "Papa Don't Preach", "Like a Prayer", "Vogue", "Frozen", "Music", "Hung Up", and "4 Minutes" have hit number one on the record charts. Despite receiving generally positive reviews for Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Madonna’s later film appearances caused mixed review. Along with critical acclaim, she got a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her role in Evita (1996), but has received critical feedback for other film roles. Madonna is also fashion designer, children's book author, film director and producer. Madonna’s roles also include that of a businesswoman. In 1992, she founded entertainment company Maverick as a joint venture with Time Warner, and signed an unprecedented US $120 million contract with Live Nation in 2007. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), named her as the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second top-selling female artist in the United States, with 64 million certified albums. In 2008, she was ranked at number two by Billboard magazine, behind only The Beatles, on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, making her the most successful solo artist in the history of the chart. In the same year she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


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