Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone; August 16, 1958) is an American recording artist, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she 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 released her debut album in 1983. She followed it with a series of albums in which she found immense popularity by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music and imagery in her music videos, which became a fixture on MTV. Throughout her career, many of her songs have hit number one on the record charts, including "Like a Virgin", "Papa Don't Preach", "Like a Prayer", "Vogue", "Frozen", "Music", "Hung Up", and "4 Minutes". Madonna has been praised by critics for her diverse musical productions while at the same time serving as a lightning rod for religious controversy.
Her career was further enhanced by film appearances that began in 1979, despite mixed commentary. She won critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her role in Evita (1996), but has received harsh feedback for other film roles. Madonna's other ventures include being a fashion designer, children's book author, film director and producer. She has been acclaimed as a businesswoman, and in 2007, she signed an unprecedented US $120 million contract with Live Nation.
Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the world's top-selling female recording artist of all time by the Guinness World Records. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second top-selling female artist in the United States, behind Barbra Streisand, with 64 million certified albums. In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked Madonna at number two, 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 Billboard chart. She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the same year. Considered to be one of the "25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century" by Time for being an influential figure in contemporary music, Madonna is known for continuously reinventing both her music and image, and for retaining a standard of autonomy within the recording industry. She is recognized as an inspiration among numerous music artists.
Madonna Louise Ciccone was born in Bay City, Michigan on August 16, 1958. Her mother, Madonna Louise (née Fortin), was of French Canadian descent, and her father, Silvio Anthony Ciccone, is a first-generation Italian American. The Ciccone family originated from Pacentro, Italy; her father later worked as a design engineer for Chrysler and General Motors. Madonna was nicknamed "Little Nonni" to distinguish her from her mother. The third of her parents six mutual children, her full-blood siblings are: Martin, Anthony, Paula, Christopher, and Melanie. Madonna was raised in the Detroit suburbs of Pontiac and Avon Township (now part of Rochester Hills).
Her mother died of breast cancer at the age of 30 in 1963. Months before her mother's death, Madonna noticed changes in her behaviour and personality from the attentive homemaker she was, although she did not understand the reason. Mrs. Ciccone, at a loss to explain her dire medical condition, would often begin to cry when questioned by Madonna, at which point Madonna would respond by wrapping her arms around her mother tenderly. "I remember feeling stronger than she was," Madonna recalled, "I was so little and yet I felt like she was the child." Madonna later acknowledged that she had not grasped the concept of her mother dying. "There was so much left unsaid, so many untangled and unresolved emotions, of remorse, guilt, loss, anger, confusion. I saw my mother, looking very beautiful and lying as if she were asleep in an open casket. Then I noticed that my mother's mouth looked funny. It took me some time to realize that it had been sewn up. In that awful moment, I began to understand what I had lost forever. The final image of my mother, at once peaceful yet grotesque, haunts me today also."
Madonna eventually learned to take care of herself and her siblings, and she 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 was often unable to sleep unless she was near him. Her father married the family's housekeeper Joan Gustafson, 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 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.
Rochester Adams High School, where Madonna studied.
Madonna later attended Rochester Adams High School, and was 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. At the end of 1977 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 and forced to perform fellatio at knifepoint. Madonna had 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. They formed her first rock band, the Breakfast Club, for which Madonna sang and played drums and guitar. In 1980 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.
Madonna signed a singles deal with Sire, a label belonging to Warner Bros. Records. Her debut single, "Everybody", was released on October 6, 1982, and became a dance hit. 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 usage of 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"
"I was surprised by how people reacted to "Like a Virgin" because when I did that song, to me, I was singing about how something made me feel a certain way – brand-new and fresh – and everyone interpreted it as I don't want to be a virgin anymore. Fuck my brains out! That's not what I sang at all. 'Like a Virgin' was always absolutely ambiguous."
—Madonna on the backlash for "Like a Virgin"
Gradually, Madonna's look and manner of dressing, her performances and her music videos started influencing young girls and women. Her style became a female fashion trend of the 1980s. It was created by stylist and jewelry designer Maripol and the look consisted of lace tops, skirts over capri pants, fishnet stockings, jewelry bearing the crucifix, bracelets, and bleached hair. She achieved global recognition after the release of her second studio album: Like a Virgin in 1984. It topped the charts in several countries and became her first number one album on the Billboard 200. The title track, "Like a Virgin", topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six consecutive weeks. It attracted the attention of family organizations, who complained that the song and its accompanying video promoted premarital sex and undermined family values, and moralists sought to have the song and video banned. Madonna further came under fire when she performed the song at the first MTV Video Music Awards where she appeared on stage atop a giant wedding cake, wearing a wedding dress and bridal veil, adorned with her characteristic "Boy Toy" belt buckle. The performance is noted by scholars and by MTV as an iconic performance in MTV history. In later years, Madonna commented that she was actually terrified of the performance. She recalled, "I remember my manager Freddy shouting to me, 'Oh my God! What were you doing? You were wearing a wedding dress. Oh my God! You were rolling around on the floor!' It was the bravest, most blatant sexual thing I had ever done on television." Like a Virgin was certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America and sold more than 21 million copies worldwide. The National Association of Recording Merchandisers and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame listed the album as one of the "Definitive 200 Albums of All Time" in 1998 a club singer in Vision Quest, a romantic drama film. Its soundtrack contained her U.S. number one single, "Crazy for You". She also appeared in the comedy Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), a film which introduced the song "Into the Groove", her first number one single in the United Kingdom. Although not the lead actress for the film, her profile was such that the movie widely became seen (and marketed) as a Madonna vehicle. The film received a nomination for a César Award for Best Foreign Film and The New York Times film critic Vincent Canby named it one of the ten best films of 1985. While filming the music video for the second single from Like a Virgin—"Material Girl"—Madonna started dating actor Sean Penn and married him on her birthday in 1985.
Beginning in April 1985, Madonna embarked on her first concert tour in North America, The Virgin Tour, with the Beastie Boys as her opening act. Madonna commented: "That whole tour was crazy, because I went from playing CBGB and the Mudd Club to playing sporting arenas. I played a small theater in Seattle, and the girls had flap skirts on and the tights cut off below their knees and lace gloves and rosaries and bows in their hair and big hoop earrings. [...] After Seattle, all of the shows were moved to arenas." In July, Penthouse and Playboy magazines published a number of nude photos of Madonna, taken in New York in 1978. She had posed for the photographs as she needed money at the time, and was paid as little as $25 a session The publication of the photos caused a media uproar, but Madonna remained defiant and unapologetic. The photographs were ultimately sold for up to $100,000. She referred to the whole experience at the 1985 outdoor Live Aid charity concert saying that she would not take her jacket off because "[the media] might hold it against me ten years from now."
1986–91: True Blue, Like a Prayer and the Blond Ambition Tour
The image of a young blond woman. She is wearing a black coat. Her hair is short, straight and parted from the left to the right. She has bright red lips and appears to be speaking to someone on her left while looking down.
Madonna during the Blond Ambition World Tour
True Blue, Madonna's third studio album, was released in June, 1986. It spawned three number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100: "Live to Tell", "Papa Don't Preach" and "Open Your Heart", and two more top-five singles: "True Blue" and "La Isla Bonita". The album topped the charts in over 28 countries worldwide, an unprecedented achievement at the time. Rolling Stone magazine was generally impressed with the effort, writing that the album "sound[s] as if it comes from the heart". She also starred in the critically panned film Shanghai Surprise, and made her theatrical debut in a production of David Rabe's Goose and Tom-Tom, both co-starring Penn. The next year, Madonna's second feature film Who's That Girl was released. She contributed four songs to its soundtrack, including the title track and "Causing a Commotion". In June 1987, she embarked on the Who's That Girl World Tour which continued until September. Regarding the tour, Madonna commented "I realised that I could go from being unmoulded clay, and over time and with the help of people, I could turn myself into something else. This tour is the reflection of that belief and it's as if saying to me 'Who are you girl?' Hence the name, its the new me." Later that year, she released a remix album of past hits, entitled You Can Dance, which reached 14 on the Billboard 200. Madonna and Penn filed for divorce in December 1987, citing irreconcilable differences, with Madonna's lawyer pointing to Penn's drinking problem and his abusive nature. The divorce was finalized in January 1989. Of her marriage to Penn, Madonna later said, "I was completely obsessed with my career and not ready to be generous in any shape or form."
"In Like a Prayer I've been dealing with more specific issues that mean a lot to me. They're about an assimilation of experiences I've had in my life and in relationships. They're about my mother, my father and my bonds with my family about the pain of dying, or growing up and letting go. [The album] was a real coming-of-age record for me emotionally. [...] I had to do a lot of soul-searching and I think it is a reflection of that."
—Madonna talking about the inspiration behind Like a Prayer.
In January 1989, Madonna signed an endorsement deal with soft drink manufacturer Pepsi. In one of her Pepsi commercials, she debuted her song "Like a Prayer". The corresponding music video featured many Catholic symbols such as stigmata and burning crosses, and a dream about making love to a saint, leading the Vatican to condemn the video. Religious groups sought to ban the commercial and boycott Pepsi products. Pepsi revoked the commercial and canceled her sponsorship contract. However, she was allowed to retain her fee of five million dollars. The song was included on Madonna's fourth studio album, Like a Prayer, which was co-written and co-produced by Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray. Rolling Stone hailed it as "...as close to art as pop music gets". Like a Prayer peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 13 million copies worldwide, with 4 million copies sold in the U.S. alone. Six singles were released from the album, including "Like a Prayer", which reached number-one, and "Express Yourself" and "Cherish", both peaking at number two. By the end of the 1980s, Madonna was named as the "Artist of the Decade" by media such as MTV, Billboard and Musician magazine.
Madonna starred as "Breathless" Mahoney in the film Dick Tracy (1990), with Warren Beatty playing the title role. To accompany the film, she released the soundtrack album I'm Breathless, which included songs inspired by the film's 1930s setting. It also featured the U.S. number one hit, "Vogue", and "Sooner or Later", which earned songwriter Stephen Sondheim an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1991. While shooting the film, Madonna began a relationship with Beatty which dissolved by the end of 1990. In April 1990 she began her Blond Ambition World Tour, which continued for nearly four months. Regarding the tour, Madonna commented "I know that I'm not the best singer and I know that I'm not the best dancer. But, I can fucking push people's buttons and be as provocative as I want. The tour's goal is to break useless taboos." Rolling Stone called it an "elaborately choreographed, sexually provocative extravaganza" and proclaimed it "the best tour of 1990". The tour was met with strong reaction from religious groups for her performance of "Like a Virgin", during which two male dancers caressed her body before she simulated masturbation. The Pope asked the general public and the Christian community not to attend the concert. A private association of Catholics calling themselves Famiglia Domani also boycotted the tour for its eroticism. In response, Madonna said, "I am Italian American and proud of it. The tour in no way hurts anybody's sentiments. It's for open minds and gets them to see sexuality in a different way. Their own and others"; she declared that the Church "completely frowns on sex ... except for procreation." The Laserdisc release of the tour won Madonna a Grammy Award in 1992 for Best Long Form Music Video.
The Immaculate Collection, Madonna's first greatest-hits compilation album, was released in November 1990. It included two new songs, "Justify My Love" and "Rescue Me". The album was certified diamond by RIAA and sold over 30 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling compilation album by a solo artist in history. "Justify My Love" reached number one in the U.S. and top ten worldwide. Its music video featured scenes of sadomasochism, bondage, same-sex kissing and brief nudity. The video was deemed too sexually explicit for MTV and was banned from the network. Madonna responded to the banning: "Why is it that people are willing to go and watch a movie about someone getting blown to bits for no reason at all, and nobody wants to see two girls kissing and two men snuggling? [...] MTV has been good to me, and they know their audience. If it's too strong for them, I understand. Although, half of me thought I was going to get away with it." The second single, "Rescue Me", became the highest-debuting single by a female artist in Hot 100 chart history at that time, entering at number 15 and peaking at number nine.
In December 1990, Madonna decided to leave Jennifer Lynch's film Boxing Helena, which she had previously agreed to star in, without any explanation to the producers. From late 1990 to early 1991, Madonna dated Tony Ward, a model and pornography performer who appeared in her music videos for "Cherish" and "Justify My Love". She also had an eight-month relationship with rapper Vanilla Ice. Her first documentary film Truth or Dare (known as In Bed with Madonna outside North America) was released in mid-1991. The documentary chronicled her Blond Ambition World Tour and provided glimpses into her person
Madonna released the song "Hey You" for the Live Earth series of concerts. The song was available as a free download during its first week of release. She also performed it at the London Live Earth concert. Madonna announced her departure from Warner Bros. Records, and a new $120 million, ten-year contract with Live Nation. She became the founding artist for the new music division, Live Nation Artists. She produced and wrote I Am Because We Are, a documentary on the problems faced by Malawians. The documentary was directed by Nathan Rissman, who worked as Madonna's gardener. She also directed her first film Filth and Wisdom. The story of the film was about three friends and their aspirations. Madonna commented that it was Ritchie who inspired her to develop the screenplay for the film. "The fact of the matter is that all the work I do is very autobiographical, directly or indirectly, because who do I know better than me?" The Times said she had "done herself proud" while The Daily Telegraph described the film as "not an entirely unpromising first effort [but] Madonna would do well to hang on to her day job." In December 2007, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced Madonna as one of the five inductees of 2008. At the induction ceremony on March 10, 2008, Madonna did not sing but asked fellow Hall of Fame inductees and Michigan natives The Stooges to perform her songs "Burning Up" and "Ray of Light". She thanked Christopher Flynn, her dance teacher from 35 years earlier, for his encouragement to follow her dreams.
Madonna released her eleventh studio album, Hard Candy, in April 2008. Containing R&B and urban pop influences, the songs on Hard Candy were autobiographical in nature and saw Madonna collaborating with Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams and Nate "Danja" Hills. Rolling Stone complimented it as an "impressive taste of her upcoming tour."
"Probably in many respects most of the songs [on Hard Candy] are [autobiographical]. But in more of an unconscious way. I don't really think about telling personal stories when I'm writing music. It just comes. And then a lot of times, six months later, eight months later, I go, 'Oh, that's what I wrote that song about.' But that's when I play the song for lots of people and they all go, 'Oh, I can totally relate to that.'"
— Madonna talking about the inspiration behind Hard Candy
The album debuted at number one in 37 countries and on the Billboard 200. It received generally positive reviews worldwide though some critics panned it as "an attempt to harness the urban market". Its lead single, "4 Minutes", reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was Madonna's 37th Hot 100 top-ten hit—it pushed Madonna past Elvis Presley as the artist with the most top-ten hits. In the UK, she retained her record for the most number one singles for a female artist; "4 Minutes" becoming her thirteenth. To further promote the album, Madonna embarked on the Sticky & Sweet Tour; her first major venture with Live Nation. With a gross of U.S. $280 million, it became the highest-grossing tour by a solo artist, surpassing the previous record Madonna set with the Confessions Tour. It was extended to the next year, adding new European dates, and after it ended, the total gross was U.S. $408 million.
Life with My Sister Madonna, a book by Madonna's brother Christopher Ciccone, debuted at number two on The New York Times Bestseller List. It was not authorized by Madonna, and led to a rift between them. Problems also arose between Madonna and Ritchie, with the media reporting that they were on the verge of separation. Ultimately, Madonna filed for divorce from Ritchie, citing irreconcilable differences, which was finalized in December 2008. Madonna was honored with the Gold International Artist of the Year, at the Recording Industry Association of Japan Gold Disc Awards, for her album Hard Candy. She decided to adopt again from Malawi. The country's High Court initially approved the adoption of Chifundo "Mercy" James; however, the application was rejected because Madonna was not a resident of Malawi. Madonna appealed, and on June 12, 2009, the Supreme Court of Malawi granted Madonna the right to adopt Mercy James. She also released Celebration, her third greatest-hits album, and the closing release with Warner. It contained the new songs "Celebration" and "Revolver" along with 34 hits spanning her career. Celebration reached number one in the UK, tying her with Elvis Presley as the solo act with most number one albums in the British chart history. She appeared at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards on September 13, 2009, to speak in tribute to deceased pop star Michael Jackson. Madonna ended the 2000s as the best-selling singles artist of the decade in the United States. She was also named the most-played artist of the decade in the United Kingdom.
2010–present: W.E. and other projects
Madonna performed "Like a Prayer" at the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief concert in January 2010. In April she released her third live album, Sticky & Sweet Tour. It was her first release under Live Nation, but was distributed by Warner Bros. She announced plans of directing her second film, W.E., a biopic about the affair between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. It was co-written with Alek Keshishian. She later clarified that the film is about a woman's journey and was not going to be about the duchess' life. Instead, the duchess would act as the woman's spiritual guide. Madonna granted American TV show Glee the rights to her entire catalogue of music, and the producers planned an episode which would feature Madonna songs exclusively. Titled "The Power of Madonna", the episode was approved by her, telling Us Weekly that she found it "brilliant on every level", praising the scripting and the message of equality. The episode also received positive reviews from critics. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly called it "one of the best hours of TV you’re likely to see all year", writing that the episode pays Madonna "the highest compliment possible" in not just expressing admiration for the singer, but "demonstrat[ing] a potent understanding of why Madonna matters." Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna, an EP containing eight cover versions of Madonna songs featured in the episode was released in May. The EP debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, with 98,000 copies sold in the United States.
Following the completion of the shooting for W.E., Madonna released the "Material Girl" clothing line, which she designed with her daughter, Lourdes. The 1980s inspired clothing line, borrowed from Madonna's punk-girl style when she rose to fame in the 1980s, was released under the Macy's label. Soon after the clothing line went on sale, apparel manufacturer L.A. Triumph Inc. sued her saying that they have been using the name Material Girl and selling clothes under that name since 1997. They demanded that Madonna's clothing line be stopped from selling and the profits be returned. As the lawsuit continued, Madonna announced plans of opening a series of fitness centers around the world. Named Hard Candy Fitness, the gyms are a partnership between Madonna, her manager Guy Oseary and Mark Mastrov, the founder and CEO of 24 Hour Fitness. The first of the gyms was opened at Mexico City in November 2010, as Madonna believed that Mexico City "will serve as a great test market before bringing the gyms to cities around the world." She added, "If any of you have seen my shows, you know that I don't skimp on them, and the same is true for the gym. We spend what it takes to make a globally first-class gym."
Madonna's music has been the subject of much analysis and scrutiny of critics. Robert M. Grant, author of Contemporary Strategy Analysis (2005), commented that what has brought Madonna success is "certainly not outstanding natural talent. As a vocalist, musician, dancer, songwriter, or actress, Madonna's talents seem modest." He asserts Madonna's success is in relying on the talents of others, and that her personal relationships have served as cornerstones to the numerous reinventions in the longevity of her career. Conversely, Rolling Stone has named Madonna "an exemplary songwriter with a gift for hooks and indelible lyrics, and a better studio singer than her live spectacles attest." Mark Bego, author of Madonna: Blonde Ambition, called her "the perfect vocalist for lighter-than-air songs", despite not being a "heavyweight talent." Madonna has always been self-conscious about her voice, especially in comparison to her vocal idols such as Ella Fitzgerald, Prince and Chaka Khan.
According to Freya Jarman-Ivens, Madonna's talent for developing "incredible" hooks for her songs allows the lyrics to capture the attention of the audience, even without the influence of the music. As an example, Jarman-Ivens cites the 1985 single "Into the Groove" and its line "Live out your fantasy here with me, just let the music set you free; Touch my body, and move in time, now I know you're mine." From 1983 to 1986, Madonna's musical productions were often girlish and naïve in nature, focusing primarily on love, romance, passion and boy-meets-girl relationships. This changed with the album Like a Prayer, when the lyrics became much more personal, such as in "Promise to Try", which references Madonna's lingering pain at the loss of her mother. Madonna's lyrics often suggest an identification with the gay community. Fouz believes that when Madonna sings "Come on girls, do you believe in love?" in "Express Yourself", she is addressing both the gay audience and the heterosexual female. Even in the Erotica era, with its often adult-oriented lyrics, the songs appear free-flowing and gullible ("So won't you go down, where it's warm inside" — "Where Life Begins" from Erotica). Madonna's songwriting ability has been criticized, with Rolling Stone's Maria Raha calling her lyrics "flighty and not sophisticated. Madonna can only bring a trunk full of trite lyrics on the long standing tradition of pop music, love; when she wasn't singing about love, she was singing about partying and dancing." Her lyrics were considered banal, and her songwriting capability was largely ignored by critics until the release of Ray of Light and Music. According to Jarman-Ivens, lyrics such as "You're frozen, when your heart's not open" ("Frozen", 1998) and "I can't remember, when I was young, I can't express if it was wrong" ("Paradise (Not for Me)", 2000) reflected an artistic palette, "encompassing diverse musical, textual and visual styles in its lyrics."
On her 1983 debut album, Madonna's vocal abilities and personal artistry were not fully formed. Her vocal style and lyrics was similar to other pop stars of that period like Paula Abdul, Debbie Gibson and Taylor Dayne. The songs on Madonna reveal several key trends that have continued to define her success, including a strong dance-based idiom, catchy hooks, highly polished arrangements and Madonna's own vocal style. In songs such as "Lucky Star" and "Borderline", Madonna introduced a style of upbeat dance music that would prove particularly appealing to gay audiences. The bright, girlish vocal timbre of the early years became passé in Madonna's later works, the change being deliberate, since Madonna was constantly reminded of how the critics had once labelled her as "Minnie Mouse on helium", because of her early voice. Her second album, Like a Virgin (1984), foreshadowed several trends in Madonna's later works. It contained references to classical works (pizzicato synthesizer line that opens "Angel"); potential negative reaction from social groups ("Dress You Up" was blacklisted by the Parents Music Resource Center); and retro styles ("Shoo-Bee-Doo", Madonna's homage to Motown). Madonna's early style, and the change that she ushered in it, is best evident in the song "Material Girl". It opens with Madonna using a little-girl voice, but following the first verse, she switches to a richer, more mature voice in the chorus. This mature artistic statement was visible in True Blue (1986). The song "Papa Don't Preach" was a significant milestone in her artistic career. The classical introduction, fast tempo and the gravity in her voice was unprecedented in Madonna's œuvre at that time.c
With Like a Prayer (1989), Madonna again entered a new phase, musically. The album introduced live recorded songs and incorporated different genres of music, including dance, R&B and gospel music. Madonna continued to compose ballads and uptempo dance songs for Erotica (1992) and Bedtime Stories (1994). She tried to remain contemporary by incorporating samples, drum loops and hip hop into her music. Her voice grew much deeper and fuller, evident in the tracks like "Rain" and "Take a Bow". During the filming of Evita, Madonna had to take vocal lessons, which increased her range further. Of this experience she commented, "I studied with a vocal coach for Evita and I realized there was a whole piece of my voice I wasn't using. Before, I just believed I had a really limited range and was going to make the most of it." Continuing her musical evolution with Ray of Light, the track "Frozen" displayed her fully formed vocal prowess and her allusions to classical music. Her vocals were restrained and she sang the songs in Ray of Light without vibrato. However, the intake of breath within the songs became more prominent With the new millennium came her album Music in which Madonna sang in her normal voice in a medium range, and sometimes in a higher register for the chorus. Fouz-Hernández commented that "Throughout her career, Madonna's manipulation of her voice shows us that, by refusing to be defined in one way, she has in fact opened up a space for new kinds of musical analysis."