Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The William Price King Music Column – Madonna Part One – Where it all Began

Welcome to the new series by William Price King on iconic stars who have influenced generations of young people with both their music and their background efforts to raise social awareness and support reform.

In the new series we follow the life and career of Madonna, and in this first part, an introduction to her early life and some of her many achievements and awards.

Madonna – Part One –  The Early Years.

Madonna is a multi-faceted artist and social activist, no stranger to controversy, but who has always been true to the image that she created as a teenager and young performer.

As a singer, songwriter, actress and astute businesswoman, Madonna has been referred to as the “Queen of Pop” since her debut as an artist in the 1980s. She has pushed boundaries both in her lyrics, music and visual performances and has no problem with changing directions whilst maintaining her dominance in the music industry. She has delighted and frustrated music critics, but has often been credited by other artists as an influential force in their own music.

The songs that Madonna has written and produced, are evidence of that influence and popularity with her fans. Many have topped the charts such as “Like a Virgin”, “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Frozen”.  Her music career was just one area where she excelled, taking on lead roles in critically acclaimed films such as Desperately Seeking Susan and Evita. For her role as Eva Peron, Madonna was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actress.

As a business woman, she founded her own entertainment company Maverick including a record label in 1992. She has also ventured into fashion design, health clubs and film-making. Madonna is also the author of a series of children’s books, including the latest released in December. The English Roses.

All Madonna’s books can be bought here:

With sales of over 300 million records globally, Madonna is recognized as the Best Selling Female Recording artist of all time by the Guinness World Records in 2016, just one of the seven records that she holds over various years. She has won many Billboard awards over the last 35 years including Woman of the Year also in 2016. Her Grammy awards include Best Music Video (long form) for the Blonde Ambition tour of 1992 and The Confessions Tour in 2008. All her awards can be found here: Madonna Awards and Achievements

Where it all began

Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone was born in August 1958 to Silvio “Tony” Ciccone and Madonna Fortin. Her grandparents on her father’s side had been Italian immigrants and Tony went to college, earning a degree in engineering. Madonna’s mother was an X-ray technician but was originally a dancer and came from a French Canadian family.

The couple married and moved to Pontiac in Michigan in 1955, and Madonna was born three years later. She was the third child of six and admits that she was the  “sissy of the family” who used her feminine wiles to get her own way.

The family where devout Catholics and apparently Madonna’s mother often welcomed the presence of priests and nuns in to the house when she was growing up. These childhood memories and the  influences of Catholicism, including the habits of nuns at school and her mother’s religious statues, have been reflected in her music and more controversial performances.

Tragically, when only thirty years old, Madonna’s mother died from breast cancer. She had been pregnant with her youngest daughter and delayed treatment until after the birth. Madonna was only five years old at the time and was obviously devastated by the loss. Although being very close to her father, as she grew into her teenage years, she became more and more outspoken and independent.

“I think the biggest reason I was able to express myself and not be intimidated was by not having a mother,” she says. “For example, mothers teach you manners. And I absolutely did not learn any of those rules and regulations.”

Her father remarried to Joan Gustafson who had been first employed as the family housekeeper. Madonna resented the fact that she was made to look after her three younger siblings. “I really saw myself as the quintessential Cinderella,” Madonna later said. “I think that’s when I really thought about how I wanted to do something else and get away from all that.”

Her rejection of her conservative Catholic upbringing was demonstrated in her adoption of a more revealing wardrobe and her visits to the more avant garde nightclubs in the area.

However, Madonna as a teenager, showed the same drive for perfection and ambition that she is known for today in her career.  Straight A’s, cheerleading who became a very disciplined dancer and who graduated a semester before her classmates. This hard work was not unnoticed and in 1976 she was offered a full scholarship to the University of Michigan dance program.

However, further opportunities were on the horizon and after two years, Madonna was offered a six-week scholarship to study with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in New York. This was followed by a rare opportunity to perform with choreographer Pearl Lang in 1978.

Life in New York is expensive, and to cover her expenses, Madonna became an art nude model, worked as waitress at the Russian Tea Room and performed at the American Dance Centre. Having formed a relationship with Dan Gilroy of the pop-punk band Breakfast Club, Madonna was introduced to the head of a vaudeville review in Paris where she spent some time working as a showgirl.  This introduced Madonna to the combination of singing and dancing and on her return to America in 1980, she joined Breakfast Club as its drummer and later became its lead singer.

Madonna formed several different bands of her own over the next few years, including Madonna & The Sky, The Millionaires and Emmy.

 Probably the video that sums up the life and career of Madonna is Express Yourself...


Read the reviews and buy the music of Madonna:

More information and source:Wikipedia Madonna

Please tune in next week as Madonna’s career takes off and for some more of her music.. Thanks  Sally

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION

Connect with William

Website –
Facebook –
Twitter –
Regular Venue –

You can find previous artists featured in these two links

Jazz, Classical and Contemporary:

And the Music Column:

Thanks to William for his wonderful contributions and to you for dropping in today. See you next week for the next chapter in Madonna’s life.

19 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The William Price King Music Column – Madonna Part One – Where it all Began

  1. Oh, this is good. I love your music series, and who could be more interesting to write about than Madonna? Often it is the first chapter in your series that capture the artist, because roots run deep, and early years shape everything. This chapter does just that. Thank you for a terrific read, William.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was fascinating! I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Madonna’s roots. No doubt the song and video – Papa Don’t Preach was just one of many of her rebellious songs. Who doesn’t love Madge! Holiday has been one of my favorite songs since it came out.
    Looking forward to more Madonna! Thanks William and Sal. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Half a week anyway – Madonna, Curry, Daffodils and Loneliness and Irish History | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. Hurrah for this focus on Madonna! I have savored her music for many years (and even got to work for a few days as a PA on the movie Truth Or Dare (which one of my friends was working on as a production coordinator). I did not get to meet her, but I did get to see her emerge alone from her limousine before a performance in Michigan. She appeared to be much smaller than I had imagined her to be… and as tough and fit and shiny as steel or aluminum. I was very aware of how many people (her band + back up singers + dancers + huge tour staff + documentary film crew) were all depending upon her to remain healthy and functional. So much pressure!!! I look forward to the next installments of this biographical history.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: William Price King #Music Column – The artists so far – Bono and U2, Madonna, Johnny Mathis and Aretha Franklin | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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