Madonna, who is still going at it today at the age of 64, is a cultural icon unlike any other. The singer broke out into prominence in the 1980s and has since risen up the ranks to become unmatched pop royalty. Many may wonder how Madonna became the legend that she is today, and it all started back when she was a young woman. Looking back at young Madonna now, it’s plain to see what audiences saw in her. Join Facts Verse as we explore how photos of young Madonna prove she was destined for stardom.
Madonna’s Early Life
Madonna was born in Bay City, Michigan, in 1958. While one might assume that she wasn’t actually born with the name of “Madonna”, this isn’t true! The future star was given the interesting first name at birth, though it was passed down from her mother. For the first few years of Madonna’s life, she went by the name of “Nonno” so as to avoid confusion her mother. However, this was no longer an issue after that elder figure’s tragic passing when Madonna was only 5 years old. The woman passed away as a result of breast cancer. After the death of her mother, things were never the same for Madonna. The young woman found herself stifled by her conservative upbringing, as her father proved much more controlling after his wife passed away.
Having grown up in a strict religious household, Madonna began to rebel at a young age. However, her father persisted in trying to raise his daughter in the way that he felt was right. While Madonna could be found sneaking out at night and traipsing off to local nightclubs in revealing outfits, her father kept her mind from stagnating by forcing her to study classical piano. Madonna was eventually able to convince her father to let her study classical ballet instead of piano. Of course, Madonna would go on to put both her dancing skills and her innate musicality to good use as an adult.
Though Madonna liked to rebel, she managed to do very well in high school due to the stringent demands of her father. The future star graduated from Rochester Adams High School with straight As, and she was also a member of the institution’s cheerleading squad while attending. From the outside looking in, it seemed that Madonna’s strict upbringing had paid off and that she was destined for great things. Though she certainly has accomplished great things in her adult life, she decided to drop out of college and try to become a star instead. Since, Madonna was now of age, her father had no say in the decision. Though Madonna would eventually go on to become the star she always dreamed of, it didn’t happen overnight. The future celebrity floundered for a few years in New York City before striking it big.
Madonna Found Fame in New York City… Eventually
Madonna fled to New York City with dreams of becoming a star as soon as she came of age. Since she was defying the wishes of her father, she didn’t receive any financial support. However, she ended up making ends meet by working menial jobs before eventually finding success as a pop star. It has been said that Madonna worked at a variety of restaurants as a waitress during this period of her life, and she also posed nude as an art model and worked sporadically as a dancer. Meanwhile, she continued her pursuit of stardom by forming bands with various boyfriends, one of which was notable musician Dan Gilroy. Together, the two formed a musical group named the Breakfast Club alongside a handful of other musicians.
Dan Gilroy’s the Breakfast Club is far from the only band that Madonna became a part of during her burgeoning days as a singer. However, the soon-to-be pop star ended up finding her big break as a solo artist. In between moving to New York City and starting her solo career, there was also a period of time where Madonna travelled to France and worked as a showgirl. Photos from this period show that Madonna certainly had the looks to attract the audience, and it would only be a matter of time before audiences realized that she had a good amount of talent, as well.
It was in 1981 that Madonna finally made the wise career choice to start up her solo career. She was signed to Sire Records as a pop singer, with the label being a subsidiary of Warner Music Group. In 1982, Madonna released her debut single, and that single was named “Everybody”. The song became a major success, and ended up being featured on the signer’s self-titled debut album. Madonna’s self-titled debut was released on Sire Records in 1983. Though the album was a hit, few could’ve predicted just what a major star the performer was going to become in the ensuing years. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Madonna’s Debut Was a Major Success
Though “Everybody” was Madonna’s debut single and the song’s success paved the way for the singer to release her self-titled debut, the song is far from being the most notable on the album. Nowadays, Madonna’s self-titled debut is best known for the inclusion of such monumental hits as “Lucky Star” and “Borderline”. To this day, there are many who consider “Lucky Star” to be Madonna’s signature song, and the singer still makes sure to perform it in concert decades later. However, the follow-up to Madonna’s self-titled debut would prove an even bigger success, and it’s namesake song would rocket Madonna to superstardom.
If anyone thought that Madonna wasn’t going to have continued success after the release of her incredibly popular self-titled debut album, they were proven wrong when Like a Virgin was released. The follow-up album was released on the strength of it’s namesake single, as well as the equally iconic song “Material Girl”. If Madonna’s self-titled debut had made her a star in the world of pop music, the success of the 1984 follow-up album made her a superstar that transcended genre. With the album’s release, Madonna solidified her status as one of the most notable musicians of the 1980s.
As Madonna was becoming a superstar, she began dating actor Sean Penn. The two tied the knot in 1985, and had a very tumultuous marriage. However, to this day, Madonna still considers the actor to be the love of her life. The singer dedicated her follow-up album to Like a Virgin to her husband, and the album was named True Blue. All of the songs on the album can be read as love letters to Sean, though the two didn’t seem very happy in their relationship at the time that the album was released. Infamously, there was said to have been a time during the marriage where Sean locked Madonna in their bathroom and tried to pull her hair out. The two ended up divorcing in 1989.
Madonna’s Career Has Had Incredible Longevity
Though Madonna was forced to venture into the 1990s sans the abusive love of her life, she still had her superstardom to carry her through. If critics were surprised at the amount of cultural longevity that Madonna maintained throughout the 1980s, they were even more surprised when the singer found herself more famous than ever in the 1990s. The singer’s first release during the decade was a greatest-hits album by the name of The Immaculate Collection. For most artists, the release of a greatest-hits compilation would mean that their days of making hits were behind them. However, Madonna has continued releasing hit music in the decades since the compilation’s release.
Once Madonna realized that she had conquered the world of music, she decided that she wanted to conquer the world of film, as well. However, Madonna has never had very much luck in the world of cinema. Madonna’s first foray into the world of acting came via 1985’s Desperately Seeking Susan, which also yielded one of the singer’s most iconic songs. That song would be “Into the Groove”, which is remembered much more fondly than the film that spawned it. Though Desperately Seeking Susan was a modest success, the same can’t be said for the other pictures that Madonna starred in during the 1980s. In 1986, she starred alongside the aforementioned Sean Penn in Shanghai Surprise. A year later, she performed the lead role in Who’s That Girl? Both films were failures and are largely forgotten today.
In the 1990s, Madonna continued to try and make a name for herself on the big screen. It seemed that audiences were keener on Madonna as a pop star than as an actress. In 1991, the documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare was released to critical acclaim. Finally, Madonna had found a role in a film that was worthy of her unique talents, and that role was her own self. Around the time the documentary was being filmed, Madonna was in a relationship with actor Warren Beatty. However, the two never married.
What Is Madonna Doing Nowadays?
Madonna is still around to this day, and she continues to make music and perform. She also still dreams of gaining the Hollywood respect that she has always coveted. Today, Madonna is hard at work on a film that she says is going to tell her life story. Madonna herself is directing the film, though it’s not the first movie that she has directed. She has also directed a few maligned independent films, starting with 2008’s Filth and Wisdom. The new biopic is set to star actress Julia Garner as the young pop star, though the 64-year-old pop-music legend wanted to play the role herself.
Madonna has been around in popular culture for so long that many may have forgotten that the pop star was once a beautiful, young woman struggling to make it. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Madonna decided to become a pop star in defiance of her strict upbringing, and that the singer dropped out of college against her father’s wishes in order to pursue her dreams? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!