Madonna (1958- )
"It's better to live one year as a tiger
than 100 as a sheep."
Madonna is simply an amazing woman! But what in the world is there to say about her that hasn't already been said? A versatile singer, actor, dancer, songwriter, and music producer, Madonna is one of the most diversely talented women in show business. Born Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone in Bay City, Michigan on August 16, 1958, she came from a large Roman Catholic family (she had seven siblings). However, her mother died of breast cancer when she was six years old, an event which has heavily affected Madonna the rest of her life. She attended the University of Michigan for two years on a dance scholarship before leaving for New York City to pursue her career in 1978. There, she worked as a model, dancer (with the Alvin Ailey dance troupe), and actress in small projects. She then learned to play guitar, keyboards, and drums and played with several bands. Her music was well-received at dance clubs throughout the city and in 1983 she released her first album. Her songs began climbing the charts, first the top 20, then the top 10, and then she had her first Number 1 hit with "Like a Virgin." In 1985 she made her feature film debut as the title character in Desperately Seeking Susan, starring alongside Rosanna Arquette. Over the years she has acted in several film and stage projects, including performing on Broadway. Her 1991 tour documentary Truth or Dare, a riveting glimpse into superstardom which Madonna executive produced, received rave reviews. Yet most of her film performances have had less-than-enthusiastic reception. Some exceptions are her movies Dick Tracy (1990), A League of Their Own (1992), and Evita (1996), a role many feel she was born to play; she was honored with a Golden Globe Award for the part. The popularity of her music, however, was never questioned: it escalated until she was one of the highest-paid singers in show business. In 1992 she formed her own multimedia entertainment company, Maverick, which deals in the movie, television, and music businesses. In 1995 her 11th top single, "Take a Bow," made her the female performer with the most Number 1 songs to date. Madonna's albums continue to top the charts. Her next effort, Music, was backed by her first world tour in nearly a decade.
Tori Amos (1963- )
"If I couldn't play, I've no idea what kind of
bitter person I would've become."
Tori Amos is my favorite singer, musician, wonder woman... you name it! She has a tremendous passion for music and you can sense its importance to her in everything she creates. "Playing is the only place where I've felt in touch with my sexuality, my spirituality, and my emotions, and never, ever, ever anywhere else. So my life is a bit tricky because when I'm not playing, I'm just trying to walk down the street." A child prodigy, Tori was playing the piano at age two and a half, and by four was composing her own songs. At age five she became the youngest student ever accepted to the prestigious Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. The idea was for her to become a concert pianist. That, however, did not happen. She was kicked out of the conservatory when she was 11 because she refused to be molded into a classical pianist. She wanted to play her own music. "Why would I want to play stuff written by some dead guy?" Soon her father, a Methodist minister, was chaperoning her as she played standards in local gay bars. At 21, the rebellious Tori moved to Los Angeles and had a brief stint as a hard rocker in the band Y Kant Tori Read, after being told repeatedly that the "girl and the piano thing" would never work. The album they recorded failed miserably, but Tori did not sulk. Instead, she returned to her first love and best friend, the piano. She began to write songs that were painfully personal, intimate, and honest stories about her life. One such revelation is "Me and a Gun," a song about being raped, which she wrote after seeing a movie: "I went to see Thelma & Louise, alone, on a whim, and my life changed. When Susan Sarandon killed the would-be rapist, I breathed for the first time in seven years." That song ultimately became a therapeutic tool for her to overcome her own experience of being raped, as well as a cathartic song in the lives of thousands of women who had had similar experiences. Tori eventually helped found RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, which was the first toll-free national hotline for survivors of sexual abuse. Tori continues to be an outspoken advocate for helping victims of rape, by giving interviews to TV programs about her experience, continuing to support RAINN, and performing "Me and a Gun" in concert before thousands of teary-eyed admirers. Her courage and honesty have helped countless survivors of sexual abuse deal with problems in their own lives, have raised awareness about the issue, and have made other survivors know that they are not alone.
Olga Kern (1975- )
"I like everything about music.
I like everything!"
Olga Kern is the newest addition to Amazing Women. Not long ago, she was a struggling single mother in Russia trying to make a living as a pianist. But now she's come to worldwide attention and has a busy concert career, a steady income, and legions of fans. It all happened after she won a gold medal at the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The Cliburn Competition, widely regarded as the top piano competition in the world, is a rigorous 15-day festival that examines all aspects of a classical pianist's musicianship. It's often called the Olympics of piano playing. As a result of her success at the competition, Olga embarked on a worldwide tour during the 2001-2002 concert season. In addition to her extensive performance schedule, she has released several excellent recordings. The media attention thrust upon her since the competition has been intense. "Suddenly, I'm kind of a hero, and it even feels, sometimes, like I'm a bit of a star. But inside, I'm exactly the same as before the competition."
This site is about amazing women;
their brilliance, talent, and passion;
and the power of all women
to be amazing.
Madonna: Greatest Hits Vol. 2
Madonna: Truth or Dare
Tori Amos: All These Years by Kalen Rogers
Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes
Olga Kern: Cliburn Competition
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© Amy Brown