Madonna Louise Ciccone (/tʃɪˈkoʊni/; born August 16, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. She achieved popularity by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music and imagery in her music videos, which became a fixture on MTV. Madonna is known for reinventing both her music and image, and for maintaining her autonomy within the recording industry. Music critics have acclaimed her musical productions, which have generated some controversy. Referred to as the "Queen of Pop", Madonna is often cited as an influence by other artists.
Born in Bay City, Michigan, Madonna moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she signed with Sire Records (an auxiliary label of Warner Bros. Records) in 1982 and released her eponymous debut album the following year. She followed it with a series of commercially and critically successful albums, including the Grammy Award winners Ray of Light (1998) and Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005). Throughout her career, Madonna has written and produced most of her songs, with many of them reaching number one on the record charts, including "Like a Virgin", "Papa Don't Preach", "Like a Prayer", "Vogue", "Take a Bow", "Frozen", "Music", "Hung Up", and "4 Minutes".
Madonna's popularity was further enhanced by her roles in films such as Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Dick Tracy (1990), and Evita (1996). While the latter earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, most of her other films received poor reviews. Madonna has been acclaimed as a businesswoman, particularly after she founded entertainment company Maverick (including the label Maverick Records). In 2007 she signed an unprecedented U.S. $120 million 360 deal with Live Nation, which led to a record deal with Interscope Records. Her other ventures include fashion design, writing children's books, and filmmaking.
Having sold more than 300 million records worldwide, Madonna is recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) listed her as the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second highest-certified female artist in the United States, with 64.5 million album units. Madonna is the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time, earning U.S. $1.31 billion from her concerts since 1990. She became one of the five founding members of the UK Music Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility. Madonna was ranked at number one on VH1's list of 100 Greatest Women in Music and number two (behind only The Beatles) on Billboard's list of Greatest Hot 100 Artists of All Time.