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Madonna - Success and CreativityMadonna - Success and Creativity


Madonna (1958- )


American pop star (pictured right).

Born Madonna Louise Ciconne in America (pictured right), she is:

  • the biggest selling female pop artist and songwriter ever. Madonna - Success and Creativity
  • a successful movie star in films like Desperately Seeking Susan and Evita (as Eva Peron, pictured right).


Why is she so successful and creative?


1. Purpose, ambition and hard work

Her dream was to be a superstar in movies and pop musicMadonna - Success and Creativity

She single-mindedly dedicated her life to achieving it with enormous drive and energy.

This has led to problems in her personal life, including two failed marriages to the actor, Sean Penn, and the British film director, Greg Ritchie (pictured right together).


2. Courage and determination


  • coped (aged five) with her mother’s death from breast cancer
  • took brave risks for her career.
  • worked part-time (to finance her dance and singing career in New York in the late 1970's)

“Better to live one year as a tiger than a hundred as a sheep”, she says.


3. Ruthlessly exploiting her strengths

Madonna:Madonna - Success and Creativity

  • fully developed her talent as a singer, songwriter, dancer and actress,
  • successfully exploited her relationships with her record companies and managers, particularly Freddy DeMann (pictured right) in the early 80’s (also Michael Jackson’s manager).
  • created several companies, like her record company, Maverick, to maximize her success.
  • is tough and knows exactly what she wants

“Sometimes you have to be a bitch to get things done”, she says.


4. Creativity and change

She is known as the ‘queen of reinvention’ and has continually changed her style, music and image to sustain her popularity (see also point 5):Madonna - Success and Creativity

  • raunchy punk in the early 80’s (with songs including her biggest hit, Like A Virgin, pictured right).
  • glam rock and Marilyn Monroe retro in the late 80’s.
  • soft porn image of the early 90’s.
  • the spiritual Madonna in the late 90’s (with motherhood and her conversion to Judaism).
  • disco queen in 2005.

She has been in constant rebellion against the Roman Catholicism of her childhood with explicitly sexy songs, videos and concerts.

The video of the song, Like A Prayer (pictured right below), was branded as blasphemous by the Pope in 1989, forcing Pepsi to scrap a Madonna commercial, despite paying her $5 million!

Madonna - Success and Creativity 

5. Customer satisfaction

Since her first hit in 1984, she has delighted millions of fans worldwide with her music, movies and magical concerts - why?


a) understanding the music business and customers’ wants

She saw the big potential of MTV in America to promote her songs. 

Madonna - Success and Creativity 

b) market research

She was one of the first pop stars to use market research, testing the popularity of disco music in clubs for her 2005 album, Confessions on a Dance Floor (the album cover is pictured right).


c) publicity

A genius at self-publicity, she has thrilled, sometimes shocked, but never bored people.


6. Continuous learning

She has learned from

 Madonna - Success and Creativity

a) her father (pictured right together)

He has been her biggest influence and paid for her ballet lessons.


b) education

She was bright at school, and particularly good at sport, drama and danceMadonna - Success and Creativity


c) failures

(like her 2003 album, American Life, the album cover is pictured right).


d) other people in show business

She learned from great choreographers, musicians and actors, particularly:

  • Frédéric Chopin, the Polish classical composer. Madonna - Success and Creativity
  • Frank Sinatra, the singer, pictured right below (she likes to sing his song, My Way, in the shower!).



7. HealthMadonna - Success and Creativity

Yoga and her low fat diet full of fruit and vegetables, keep her incredibly fit and energetic.

But she gives herself treats like 7-Up and M&M's! 


8. Relaxation

She has four children (she only wants to be remembered as a good mother) - pictured right below with her daughter Mercy) Madonna - Success and Creativity

One of her favourite films is To Kill A Mockingbird.


Key quotes on success

Better to live one year as a tiger than a hundred as a sheep

I wanted to do everything everybody told me I couldn’t do.

We are responsible for our own fate.


Key quotes on love

We get what we give.

To be brave is to love someone unconditionally without expecting anything in return.


Key quote on stress and pain

Life’s too short to be bitter.

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