Born in the suburbs of Michigan, Madonna Louise Ciccone left her hometown to pursue a career as a ballerina in New York. After training with the esteemed Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Madonna -- who had since dropped her surname -- began getting involved with music, initially playing drums in various disco outfits and eventually making her characteristic voice her instrument of choice. Once Sire Records heard her demo, Madonna began her reign as an ever-evolving staple of pop music. Kicking off her meteoric rise to fame with her self-titled debut and 1984's Like a Virgin, she offered a fresh and provocative take on the stale 1980s music scene and was quickly hailed as the Queen of Pop. Though her heyday has come and gone, she is recognized as one of the most influential recording artists of all time and continues to create music while inspiring new pop stars across the globe.