Madonna (born August 16, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, 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. She 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 self-titled 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.
Various music journalists, critical theorists, and authors have deemed Madonna the most influential female recording artist of all time. Author Carol Clerk wrote that "during her career, Madonna has transcended the term 'pop star' to become a global cultural icon." Rolling Stone of Spain wrote that "She became the first viral Master of Pop in history, years before the Internet was massively used. Madonna was everywhere; in the almighty music television channels, 'radio formulas', magazine covers and even in bookshops.